Few People Seen At Federally Mask-Mandated Cape Cod National Sea Shore

Printed from: https://newbostonpost.com/2021/01/26/few-people-seen-at-federally-mask-mandated-cape-cod-national-sea-shore/

President Joe Biden says that you have to wear a mask on all federal lands, but is it really necessary?

Biden signed an executive order last Thursday making that decree. It says in part:

Accordingly, to protect the Federal workforce and individuals interacting with the Federal workforce, and to ensure the continuity of Government services and activities, on-duty or on-site Federal employees, on-site Federal contractors, and other individuals in Federal buildings and on Federal lands should all wear masks, maintain physical distance, and adhere to other public health measures, as provided in CDC guidelines.

A NewBostonPost reporter called the Cape Cod National Seashore on Friday afternoon and spoke with a park ranger to ask if this executive order means a mask mandate applies to the land at the Seashore, which consists of federal land. The ranger said yes.

The Biden administration has yet to announce the penalty for noncompliance with the move. However, Massachusetts already has had an order in place since November 6 signed by Governor Charlie Baker requiring face coverings in all public places, even when someone can maintain six feet of distance from others. 

Last Saturday, a NewBostonPost reporter traveled to the Outer Cape to the national seashore, which is managed by the National Park Service, to see some of the places where the Biden administration says people must wear a mask.

The reporter first traveled to Nauset Light Beach in Eastham just after noontime on Saturday, January 23. The reporter walked about one mile in one direction to the left and saw no people in the vicinity.

On the walk back, the reporter saw about 12 people among four groups walking the beach, none of which came within 50 feet of one another. At least four of the roughly 12 people were not wearing masks.

The beach location is outer Cape Cod, so the temperature hovered around the freezing mark while winds at the coastline exceeded double digits — possibly deterring people from visiting.

Tourism is a large part of the Cape Cod economy, but most it occurs during the warm summer months. Another factor limiting tourism across the country is restrictions on interstate travel. In many places, visitors must either quarantine upon arrival in another state or provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test within three days.

However, there tends to be fewer people working on weekends, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. While 83 percent of people with a job work on weekdays, just 34 percent work on weekend days. The weekend workers category includes Saturday, Sunday, or both.

Cape Cod National Seashore’s hours are 6 a.m. to midnight year-round.

Shortly after visiting Nauset Light Beach, the reporter went to nearby Coast Guard Beach, which is also in Eastham. The reporter looked to the right and then the left and saw no people on the left side, and two people in the distance on the right side. 


After that, the reporter went to Doane Trail, also in Eastham, and saw no one was using the picnic area, and the path to the Doane Memorial through the wood from the picnic area had no other people on it. On the walk back from the memorial, the reporter saw two women walking about 30 feet ahead, but there was no one behind.

Former President and Massachusetts native John F. Kennedy created the Cape Cod National Seashore in 1961. The 68.1-square-mile area includes ocean beaches, ponds, and hiking trails, and extends from Chatham at the elbow of the Cape north to Provincetown at the tjp. The purpose, according to MassMoments, was to make more land on the East Coast available for public recreation. In 1954, the National Park Service found that just 6.5 percent of that coastal land was available for public use. 

The federal government owns 1.62 percent of the land in Massachusetts, as BallotPedia points out, with the Cape Cod National Seashore encompassing the largest amount of land.