Private jets flock to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket as thousands of wealthy ‘virus refugees’ escape the cities, angering locals who say they’ll wipe out their grocery stores and bring coronavirus with them
- Locals on Nantucket and Martha’s Vinyard complain of huge off-season influx
- Ultra-rich are fleeing the coronavirus pandemic to hide out in summer homes
- Residents fear they may run out of groceries and ask for ferry hours to be cut
- Nantucket hospital warns it has no intensive care unit and limited ventilators
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
The ultra-rich are hoping to escape the coronavirus pandemic by fleeing to summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, drawing fury from locals who fear they will decimate supplies and bring the infection with them.
Although the summer busy season doesn’t start until May, year-round residents say that the ferries are now packed with cars with New York and Connecticut, and private jets have been pouring into the airports, the Boston Globe reports.
Full-time residents are incensed at the wealthy ‘virus refugees,’ warning that their own supply of groceries and essential goods is limited, and has to be brought to the islands ferry.
‘If you don’t need to be here, if you don’t have a reason to be here, it doesn’t make sense for you to be here.’ Gordon Healy, an assistant manager at a Martha’s Vineyard animal shelter, told the Globe. ‘I don’t speak for everyone on the island, but I think it’s a pretty common belief.’
A ferry to Nantucket is seen in a file photo. The ultra-rich are hoping to escape the coronavirus pandemic by fleeing to summer homes on Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket
Among those flocking to the island was Rufus Gifford, a reality TV star and former U.S. ambassador to Denmark for the Obama administration
Among those flocking to the island was Rufus Gifford, a former U.S. ambassador to Denmark for the Obama administration.
‘Packed up the car with everything I need,’ Gifford tweeted on Tuesday along with a photo of his dogs and spouse Stephen DeVincent. ‘Heading to Nantucket to ride this out.’
The Obama family owns a home on Martha’s Vineyard, but its unclear whether they have any plans to use it during the pandemic crisis.
Nantucket Cottage Hospital, the island’s only hospital, has warned that it ‘is not built for a global pandemic.’
‘We do not have an intensive care unit at Nantucket Cottage Hospital and we have limited number of ventilators,’ the hospital said in a statement.
‘We are working with limited medical resources and personnel on our small island.’
Officials with the Town of Nantucket (above) said they have contacted the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to request limitations on passenger service to the island
The Nantucket-Hyannis ferry enters the Nantucket harbor in a file photo
Furious officials with the Town of Nantucket said they have contacted the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency to request limitations on passenger service to the island, which is run by private entities.
‘The town’s request is being taken into consideration,’ the town posted on its website Tuesday.
‘Transportation over the waters of Nantucket Sound is exclusively regulated by the state and federal governments. Additionally, jurisdiction of the United States is exclusive, meaning that there is no authority for a local jurisdiction such as the town to restrict the ability of individuals or cargo from accessing the island by ferry or airplane,’ the town posted.
Year-round residents say that while they are capable of handling an influx during the summer vacation, they are not prepared to do so now, in particular while grappling with the pandemic.
However, a Nantucket caretaker told the Enquirer and Mirror that interest in coming to to the island appeared to taper off after Governor Charlie Baker on Sunday ordered all bars and restaurants across the state closed.