AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Seven tourism and business groups are urging Maine Gov. Janet Mills to drop the 14-day quarantine requirement for visitors from other states.
Visitors need to know that they’ll be welcomed to Maine this summer without a quarantine, the organizations said in an open letter.
The letter was signed by the Maine Tourism Association along with the Retail Association of Maine, HospitalityMaine, Ski Maine Association, Maine Camping Guide, Visit Portland Maine and Visit Greater Bangor Maine.
The Mills administration has said it’s looking into alternatives to the quarantine, but no options have been made public.
“Ultimately, it is the goal of the administration to be able to reexamine the 14-day quarantine, but to also do so in a way that protects the health of Maine people,” said Kate Foye, spokeswoman at the state Department of Economic and Community Development. “The last thing anyone wants to do is to overwhelm our health care system, put frontline responders more at risk, or potentially further destabilize our economy for an even longer period of time.”
Under the Democratic governor’s plan, lodging and restaurants will open for Maine residents on June 1, and for out-of-state visitors on July 1.
Another person died and 38 more tested positive for the virus over the past 24 hours, the Maine Center for Disease Control reported.
The total number of deaths in the state stood at 66 and the total number of confirmed cases was 1,515, officials said Wednesday.
For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.
Mills extended a “state of civil emergency” order in the state for another month. The order now lasts through June 11. Mills said the order “allows state government to deploy all available resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people and to respond quickly and as-needed to the COVID-19 pandemic.” It also increases the state’s access to federal aid.
MORE TESTING COMING
U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, a Republican, and Angus King, an independent, said the state has been awarded more than $52 million to expand testing for the virus.
The senators said the funding “will provide a substantial boost to Maine’s efforts to ramp up testing.” Maine CDC has been in the midst of accelerating the pace of testing.
Outdoors retailer L.L. Bean has begun reopening.
Two of L.L. Bean’s stores, the hunting and fishing store, and bike, boat and ski store, reopened this week in Freeport.
“We’re reopening our doors to customers, with special precautions in place to make your shopping experience as safe as possible,” the company said Wednesday in an email to customers.
The company’s 24-hour store and home store in Freeport remain closed, but those locations and some other retail stores and outlets are open to curbside pickup, the company said.
Portland is considering temporary street closures in the downtown area to help restaurants and retailers.
The proposal would allow restaurants and retailers to expand onto sidewalks and other public and private property for restaurant seating or to display and sell retail merchandise.
Officials envision closing six streets as businesses emerge from the coronavirus-related economic shutdown on June 1.
That’s similar to what Rockland is planning for the month of June. City councilors approved shutting down Main Street to vehicles Monday to help with social distancing at restaurants and shops.
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