Provincetown town manager hopes changes in behavior will reverse course of COVID cluster

PROVINCETOWN, Mass. — Provincetown’s town manager is hopeful that some changes in behavior and vaccination requirements at certain businesses will help reverse the course of a growing COVID-19 cluster.

A new Public Health Advisory issued Monday indicated that 132 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been identified over the last two weeks. Most of the cases involve people who are fully vaccinated; 89 of the reported cases are from Massachusetts and 43 are from out-of-state.

Town officials have issued a new mask advisory that encourages people to wear masks indoors when social distancing isn’t possible, regardless of vaccination status.

The measure also urges venues to enforce vaccine verification. The Boatslip Resort has already been doing so for its popular Tea Dance tradition, and more businesses have been getting on board.

“We’re hopeful that with some slight change in behavior, with a town-wide advisory, that things will start to improve,” Provincetown Town Manager Alex Morse told Boston 25 News. “Even if we’re able to cut this by 50%, we’re going to see a difference in the numbers, and that will become more manageable.”

Morse doesn’t believe there’s a need for more drastic measures at the moment.

“We don’t think we’re in a state of emergency,” Morse explained. “If, for example, we were to see an uptick in hospitalizations and an increase in the severity of illness, then we would be more concerned. We’re really transitioning to a place where we need to learn to live with the virus.”

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Part-time Provincetown residents and tourists returning to Boston’s Long Wharf Monday night had mixed thoughts on the new advisory.

“I think you can advise people all day long. If you require me to, I’m going to put it on. If you advise me, I’m not going to,” said Patti Burton, who visited Provincetown from Kansas City, Mo.

It’s unclear how many businesses in Provincetown will be requiring masks moving forward and if nightlife will continue on as it’s been happening.

“If everyone went out and got vaccinated, we wouldn’t be in this situation,” said Felicia Falchuk, who owns a home in Provincetown.

Falchuk, who splits her time between Newton and Provincetown, said she recently began wearing a mask again at the grocery store in Provincetown. She said she’d like to see more businesses ask for proof of vaccination.

“The businesses are on the edge. It’s been great to see the resurgence, but they’re short on staff and barely getting by,” Falchuk said. “It would be devastating to see us go into a more restrictive way of living down there.”

Free testing and vaccinations are currently available to everyone on a daily basis in Provincetown. The town manager said it also wouldn’t be a bad idea for visitors to get a rapid test before traveling to the tip of Massachusetts.

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