PROVINCETOWN — Many of Provincetown’s most iconic experiences are phase three businesses that could, if statewide indicators stay on the right track, be reopening on Monday, July 6. Phase three includes a range of activities that were not considered essential enough for phase two but not so risky to be in phase four — in essence, a lot of the fun stuff. Whale watches, boat rides, dune tours, and a climb up the Pilgrim Monument could all become possible. Gov. Charlie Baker usually makes his announcement over the weekend, and local business owners are hopeful.
Provincetown’s two big museums will reopen once phase three begins, said their directors. The Pilgrim Monument and Provincetown Museum (PMPM) is setting up a system in which customers will buy a ticket online for a specific time slot. The number of people in the museum and the tower will be tightly controlled. Precise guidelines won’t be announced until phase three gets the go-ahead, “but we’re making all kinds of safety accommodations now, so we’ll be ready,” said K. David Weidner, PMPM’s executive director.
Everything connected to the Provincetown 400 anniversary has been called off, however. “The only thing on the 2020 calendar we’re still hoping for, although we’ve yet to file the application, is a fireworks display on Nov. 11 to commemorate the landing of the Pilgrims and the meeting with the Wampanoag,” Weidner said.
The Provincetown Art Association and Museum (PAAM) will also be implementing a timed-entry system, with 10 people per one-hour time slot, said PAAM’s CEO, Christine McCarthy. The museum is already hosting online and outdoor painting classes.
Of special interest is the exhibit “In Memoriam: Napi Van Dereck,” which will run through Sept. 13. Napi and his wife, Helen Van Dereck, owned Napi’s Restaurant and amassed a huge collection of Provincetown art. Napi died last Christmas Day, and much of the collection has never been publicly shown.
What About Boats?
There was widespread confusion in late May and early June about whether Provincetown had banned whale watching for the year. In fact, the select board and board of health had approved an order that required nearly the whole excursion fleet to submit safety plans to the board of health and Pier Corp. before they could resume operations in phase three.
Those plans have now been submitted and approved, according to Leslie Sandberg of the Pier Corp. The Dolphin Fleet of whale watching boats has been cleared, as have the schooners Hindu and Bay Lady II, which offer scenic harbor cruises. Flyer’s shuttle will be transporting passengers from MacMillan Pier to Long Point and back. The parasailing boat and the seal tours, however, have not yet decided whether they’re going to operate this year and have not submitted any plans, said Sandberg, adding that Captain John’s Boat will function only as a fast ferry to Plymouth, and will not do its midday whale watching trip.
Tours and Gyms
Provincetown has a small number of guided tour operations — ghost tours, bike tours, and dune tours. Art’s Dune Tours will be in its 74th summer when phase three begins.
“We won’t be mixing strangers into the same truck this year — you’ll be hiring the whole truck,” said owner Rob Costa. “There are plexiglass dividers, and in between trips, fogging sanitizer. We’re also starting a historic walking tour of downtown and working with the park to do walking tours in the dunes.”
Gyms can also open in phase three. “We’ve spaced out all our equipment,” said Mussel Beach’s Rick Murray. “There’s plexiglass on rollers between each treadmill. And there’s going to be 40 to 50 people at a time in the gym — that’s 50 percent capacity or less. Yoga, boot camp, and spin classes will continue outdoors.”
Bars Converting to Restaurants
Originally, bars without food were in phase three as well. In early June, however, they were moved to phase four — after a treatment or vaccine is available. That’s not soon, so several bars have elected to begin serving food so they can open during phase two.
“On a provisional basis, for just this season, the town let license holders convert from a bar license to a restaurant license,” said Steve Katsurinis, chair of Provincetown’s board of health. “Every party that comes in has to be seated at a table and has to be served food.”
The number and placement of tables has to be approved and kitchens reinspected, said Katsurinis. “Anytime you apply for a restaurant license, you submit your menu to the health dept., and they make sure the kitchen is capable of safely serving that menu,” he said. “If you don’t have the correct grease trap, for instance, you’d have to bake your French fries. The bars did submit their menus to us, and town staff did reinspections to establish that they can safely serve that menu.”
Harbor Lounge, Shipwreck Lounge, Gifford House’s Porchside Bar, and the Buoy Bar at the Boatslip have all added food service and opened their doors. It’s table service only, though — sitting at the bar is prohibited.
Indoor and outdoor performance venues are also in phase three of the governor’s plan, but the town has elected to ban indoor performances and regulate them outdoors. (See related story on page B2 for details.)