— By Carol Vaughn
Chincoteague officials Monday asked visitors and non-residents to leave the island by noon Tuesday because of the novel coronavirus emergency.
Non-residents also were asked to postpone their plans to travel to Chincoteague until further notice.
Mayor J. Arthur Leonard in a public service announcement said the decision came after a briefing Monday morning by the town’s emergency management team.
“(D)ue to limited emergency medical care in our rural setting and the limited health care facilities that we share with our neighboring counties and states, it is time to reduce the number of possible individuals that could require medical care; whether it be from COVID-19 or standard medical emergencies,” the announcement said, adding, “These resources are likely to be stretched beyond capacity at some point and we must reduce that possibility.”
All lodgings were asked not to accept new reservations until further notice.
The announcement said rumors that the two confirmed cases on the Eastern Shore are on Chincoteague are not true.
Leonard in the announcement urged town residents to “stay home as much as possible, and please limit your travel off of the island.”
He also urged people to stay home if sick; help neighbors without making personal contact; wash hands before and after entering businesses; and stay six feet away from other customers.