Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Unanimously Votes Against Governor Mills’ “Keep Maine Healthy” Plan
The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce's Board of Directors have unanimously voted against Governor Janet Mills' "Keep Maine Healthy" Plan that was released on Monday, June 8th.
Alf Anderson, the Executive Director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce released the following letter to the membership
Earlier today, the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors voted unanimously in opposition to the “Keep Maine Healthy” plan that was released on June 8 and to ask Governor Janet Mills to reconsider. The state’s plan to require out of state visitors to either attest to receiving a negative COVID-19 test result or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival are both unworkable, in the board’s view.
I have sent a letter to Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Heather Johnson to share this view and to suggest an alternative. The Downeast COVID-19 Task Force has shared a draft plan with the administration that focuses on community and customer-facing employee testing rather than visitor testing or quarantining. This method would remove the burden of visitors getting tested and offer a clear way to monitor the health of our community. With the state’s expanded testing capacity this plan should be scalable statewide and would be a reasonable path to reopening our state’s tourism businesses.
The hospitality industry is in need of a lifeline that can easily be communicated to visitors. With each new update to the requirements for visitors, our lodging establishments receive an influx of cancellations. Guests who are waiting for news that they will be allowed to travel to Maine without burdensome restrictions are forced to give up hope and cancel their existing reservations. Due to our geographic location, our economy relies on overnight guests. Those staying in hotels, motels, bed & breakfasts, campgrounds, and vacation rentals are the same customers who patronize our restaurants, shops, tours, and other activities.
With yesterday’s announcement from Governor Mills there was another round of lodging cancellations and we have now reached a point where our season is all but lost. We are in need of immediate action to avoid a catastrophic closing of businesses.
At this time, we are encouraging all businesses to share their thoughts on the “Keep Maine Healthy” plan with the Governor's administration. Contact information is below for DECD Commissioner Heather Johnson, Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew, and Kate Foye from the DECD team. Please reach out to all three with your thoughts and be sure to let them know how the plan and the 14-day quarantine have impacted your business.
Commissioner Heather Johnson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew: Jeanne.email@example.com
Kate Foye: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your support!"