A Gazette story on Monday highlights the increase in Covid-19 cases on the Island. There is much to be done. The CDC has advised that now that the risk has increased here, we should all be wearing masks in indoor public spaces. This is important advice. If we want schools to open safely in September and we want the pandemic to end, we must return to our good habits of reaching for the mask as we enter stores, restaurants, and bars.

The story had one misleading data point in reporting: “The Island continues to lead the state in Covid-19 vaccination rates, with 87 per cent of Dukes

County fully vaccinated, based upon 2019 census data.”

Dividing the number of those vaccinated by the number of residents creates rates. Each day in the summer, there are more people on the Island who are visitors than residents. We don’t know their vaccination status and therefore we don’t know our vaccination rate, but it is decidedly much less than 87 per cent. We need to mask up.

The Steamship Authority has a huge role to play in helping us maintain our health. While they have signs that tell travelers to wear masks, the staff is not fully or consistently masked. Why hasn’t every employee been issued 10 masks with the Steamship logo and told that is their uniform? Why are the SSA buses running with full capacity and not enforcing mask rules? Masks were donated to the SSA so that they could provide them to customers. They sit on a railing at the Oak Bluffs terminal and no one directs unmasked passengers to them. The experience at the ports cues visitors on how to behave on Island. The SSA has the responsibility to enforce the Massachusetts rules: “Masks are still mandatory for all individuals on public and private transportation systems.”

Joy Robinson-Lynch

West Tisbury