Faced with steep financial losses due to the pandemic, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital leaders announced on Thursday that president and chief executive officer Denise Schepici would take a sizable pay cut, and almost all other employees would see their wages frozen — even as the hospital continues to reopen.

The wage freezes and salary cuts are system-wide in the Partners Healthcare Network, which owns the Island hospital. Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston is the Vineyard’s parent hospital.

Speaking at a press briefing Thursday evening, Ms. Schepici also joined the chorus of health officials who railed against the lack of mask use and social distancing in the Oak Bluffs harbor this weekend, requesting that visitors show respect for the Island by following state-mandated guidelines upon arrival.

“It is truly disappointing to see those photos,” she said. “Masks and social distancing are the only way we are going to get through this pandemic and keep the curve flat.”

The press briefing was hosted by Ms. Schepici, head of nursing Claire Seguin and hospital spokesman Katrina Delgadillo.

Partners has lost nearly $800 million since the pandemic began, Ms. Schepici said.

The Martha’s Vineyard Hospital announced last week that losses on-Island had been in the $8 million dollar range, and totaled nearly $750,000 per week over the past months.

All hospitals, including here, severely curtailed visits in mid-March, eliminating all non-essential appointments and elective surgeries. The losses were immediate and dramatic, as patient volume plummeted and lucrative operations were put on hold. The hospital instituted hiring freezes on non-clinical positions and limited other non-essential spending.

But even as hospitals start reopening, with Vineyard officials announcing this week that the facility had restarted in-person rehab appointments and instituted a strict, one-person visitor policy, the financial crunch remains dire. The hospital received a $16 million loan from the CARES Act and has avoided layoffs, but has reassigned staff amidst the ongoing pandemic.

Ms. Schepici said Partners instituted the pay cut and wage freeze on Wednesday. The pay cut for executive-level staff would be in the five to 25 per cent range from July 1 through June 30, 2021, Ms. Schepici confirmed, and the 12-month wage freeze would apply to all clinical and non-clinical staff making more than $55,000 per year. The freeze includes a stoppage on merit raises and cost-of-living increases, she said. There would also be a suspension of retirement benefits, Ms. Schepici said.

The hospital, which has worked to improve its patient-care offerings and to court doctors with competitive salaries, will honor its physician contracts, Ms. Schepici also said.

Ms. Schepici is the only executive-level employee at the Vineyard hospital. Although the hospital’s 2017 990 tax form is publicly available because it is a nonprofit, the document does not list Ms. Schepici’s compensation. Ms. Delgadillo did not immediately responded to requests for Ms. Schepici’s salary. In a follow-up email, Ms. Delgadillo confirmed that Ms. Schepici would take a 25 per cent pay cut.

“As we mentioned, MVH and the Mass General Brigham system have sustained significant financial losses during Covid,” Ms. Schepici said. “We hope the short-term measures will improve cash flow.”

Ms. Seguin did add that business had picked up since the hospital started reopening, and that the building was now allowing one visitor for non-Covid patients. Visiting hours will be from 1 to 8 p.m. with strict guidelines. ER visits had increased as well, Ms. Seguin said.

“The hospital is starting to see more activity than we have seen in months,” she said.

With the state and hospital gradually reopening, Ms. Schepici also lamented the lack of mask use in the Oak Bluffs harbor last weekend. She said enforcement was an issue but thanked town officials for speaking out on the problem and taking steps to increase their awareness.

"I’ve always said that this was going to be a tough thing to police. This isn’t something we should ask the police force to do, but they are stepping it up,” she said. “You would hope that people would have some common courtesy and common sense, and not leave it over in Woods Hole when they come to visit us.”

She said the science on masks is clear: they help to prevent the spread of the virus.

“There’s all this debate about masks. And they do help. It does matter,” Ms. Schepici said.

She also added a personal request for those coming to the Island from elsewhere.

“On a personal note, I urge visitors, please, show some compassion and respect for the Island community,” Ms. Schepici said. “This virus is surely not gone. It’s a gamble every time someone doesn’t follow the guidelines.”