Northeast
Fire Island's 17 resort communities are only accessible by ferry. U.S. EPA photo by Jeanethe Falvey

NY - Fire Island Homeowners Urged Not To Seek Beach House Isolation Amid Coronavirus Crisis

Officials on Fire Island are urging seasonal homeowners not to come to their beach homes to get away from more densely populated areas amid widespread calls for the public to practice social distancing.

The mayors of the villages of Ocean Beach and Saltaire, two of the most populous areas among the 17 summer resort communities on the 32-mile-long barrier island, have issued warnings that there aren’t enough first responders or medics available in the off-season to handle an influx of COVID-19 refugees.

“We are in winter mode and emergency service is very, very, limited,” Jim Mallott, mayor of the Village of Ocean Beach, the unofficial capital of the island, said in a letter posted on the village’s website. “So please think long and hard about your decision to come here to Fire Island or even if your here now, your decision to stay.”

The impact of New York City residents similarly fleeing to their second homes in the Hamptons has reportedly exacerbated the coronavirus crisis on the South Fork.

On FI, there are more than 4,000 beach homes largely accessible only by ferry, but the population fluctuates from about 300 year-round residents in the winter to more than 20,000 in the peak months.

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