The State of Maine, its communities, and its diverse tourism and hospitality industries know that visitors want to travel to locations that are safe and healthy, and they want to enjoy the communities, businesses and outdoor locations that make Maine so special.
To that end, Maine has launched the Keep Maine Healthy plan, designed to be a multilayered approach that aims to protect Maine people, protect visitors, and support Maine small businesses by reducing, to the greatest extent possible, COVID-19 risks associated with travel.
The plan relies on three cornerstones: 1) testing for the virus that encourages all visitors to “know before you go”; 2) screening for symptoms among travelers; and 3) engaging Maine communities to promote COVID-19-prevention best practices and public health education.
This multilayered approach builds off successful efforts to ensure Maine businesses are implementing added health and safety precautions through detailed COVID-19 Prevention Checklists, which require a number of measures from increased sanitation to physical distancing procedures.
FAQ For Travelers
- What are Maine’s policies for visitors traveling from out-of-state or Maine residents travelling to other states? (Updated 9/23/20)
Maine has three options for visitors to or from other states: 1) getting a recent negative COVID-19 test (further defined below); 2) maintaining compliance with a 14-day quarantine (PDF) upon arrival in Maine; 3) being exempted from the testing or quarantine requirement if you are a resident of the following states: Connecticut, New York, New Jersey (effective July 3), New Hampshire and Vermont (effective June 26), and Massachusetts (effective Sept. 23). This policy applies to Maine residents who travel to non-exempt states as well as non-exempt states’ residents who travel to Maine. It also applies for day trips (e.g., a trip from Maine to Rhode Island for medical appointments or shopping).
People who are not residents of Maine or states exempt from quarantine requirements will be asked if they seek lodging (described below) to sign a Certificate of Compliance PDF) indicating either that they have received a recent negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for 14 days (or the full duration of their stay if fewer than 14 days), or that they have already completed their quarantine in Maine. This compliance form must be provided to check-in at all Maine lodging, including but not limited to campgrounds, seasonal rentals, overnight camps, and other commercial lodging, such as Airbnb. Visitors may be asked to furnish proof of the negative test result upon request.
Maine residents who visit an exempt state are not required to quarantine or test upon returning to Maine. However, the Maine CDD recommends either quarantine or testing when traveling to or from Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York and New Jersey given their higher prevalence of COVID-19 than in northern New England. However, if people visit other states or nations, they are required to either quarantine for 14 days or get a negative test.
Seasonal homeowners, workers traveling to Maine, and other visitors may also utilize a recent negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to the required 14-day quarantine in Maine.
Essential workers continue to be exempt from testing and quarantine requirements if they are traveling to Maine to perform essential work, or are from Maine and are traveling out-of-state for essential work and returning home. Essential workers that have not received a negative test result upon return to Maine must quarantine for 14 days when not performing essential work. And essential workers traveling to or from non-exempt states for purposes other than essential work (e.g., dropping off a child at college) are subject to the test or quarantine requirement.
- Why is Maine exempting travel to and from certain states?
Maine is exempting people traveling to and from certain states from the testing and 14-day quarantine requirements because, when adjusted for population, the prevalence of active cases of COVID-19 in these states is similar or better to Maine's, as compared to other states. Maine considers a number of quantitative measures in making this determination, which is designed to protect public health.
- Does every member of my household need to be tested before coming to Maine? (Updated 9/11/20)
Yes, with one exception. Testing for children under the age of 18 years is not required when travelling from a non-exempt state to Maine with adults who receive a recent negative COVID-19 test. This is because it is unlikely that children in households traveling for tourism are positive for COVID-19 if the adults are not.
Children who are Maine residents traveling to non-exempt states or children who live in non-exempt states traveling to Maine for other circumstances, such as those travelling to and from a non-exempt state for medical or behavioral health visits, educational purposes, or custody or visitation with parents, are not exempt from the test or quarantine requirement, nor are any adults travelling with them. Testing is not recommended for children under the age of 12 months.
- How many days prior to my visit to Maine should I get a COVID-19 test? (Updated 9/11/20)
An individual arriving in Maine from a non-exempt state should have a sample taken for a COVID-19 molecular or antigen test no longer than 72 hours prior to arrival in Maine. If awaiting the test results upon arrival in Maine, the individual must quarantine until a result is available. The result must indicate the individual is COVID-19 negative. Alternatively, the individual may commit to quarantining upon arrival in Maine for 14 days.
- What types of COVID-19 tests may work? (Updated 9/23/20)
As described in the department's standing order, molecular (i.e. PCR-based) and antigen tests are accepted. Please consult Maine CDC's updated guide on interpreting test results, which is available here (PDF).
- Will Maine accept an "antibody" test under this policy?
No. Maine accepts negative molecular and antigen-based test results to qualify for an exception to the 14-day quarantine rule and does not accept antibody testing for this purpose at this time.
- Can I quarantine at my hotel, campground, or at my rental during my visit to Maine instead of getting a test?
Yes. You may choose to quarantine at your rental or place of lodging if you follow Maine CDC’s guidelines for quarantine. For rural camps and remote rental locations with private kitchen and bathroom facilities, quarantine may be possible for the duration of a visit to Maine. Visitors who are quarantining during their stay in Maine must comply with Maine’s quarantine requirements (PDF) and they may not visit Maine restaurants, businesses, and crowded public spaces and they may not use shared facilities and dining rooms.
- If I can’t schedule a COVID-19 test prior to my travel to Maine, can I get tested in Maine?
Maine strongly urges testing before you enter Maine so that you “know before you go.” However, testing capacity in Maine is available and expanding and reservations can be made before arrival. COVID-19 tests are available in Maine without referral from a medical professional under a standing order issued by the Maine Department of Health and Human Services. Accessible testing sites in Maine can be found on the Keep Maine Healthy website. Websites like Get Tested COVID-19 show local testing options nationwide. But visitors are strongly urged to get tested before they travel.
- What if I am awaiting test results after arriving in Maine?
If you were tested for COVID-19 upon your arrival in Maine and do not yet have test results, you must quarantine in your room or rental until you receive a negative test result. You must arrange for meals to be delivered to your room and you must avoid contact with staff, guests, and others until your negative test result is received. Use of shared public spaces, dining spaces, gyms and pools is prohibited during quarantine.
- How will I show evidence of a negative test or quarantine prior to my arrival at a lodging establishment or rental?
Effective June 26, Maine is utilizing a “Certificate of Compliance (PDF)” and requiring all adult visitors submit the certificate prior to, or upon arrival, at their lodging establishment or rental.
The certificate requires each visiting adult to complete and sign an attestation that he or she either has had a negative test for COVID-19 consistent with CDC guidance or agrees to comply with Maine’s quarantine. The visitor will also submit they are not currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19.
The lodging establishment will retain a copy of the visitor’s “Certificate of Compliance.” They can also document the date of the guest’s first night of entry in Maine via a receipt, and any other guests in the party, in case they are traveling elsewhere and need to show verification of the first night of stay in Maine. Visitors may be asked to furnish proof of the negative test result.
- Should seasonal Maine residents, workers, or other visitors get a COVID-19 test prior to arrival?
The State encourages those individuals to “know before you go”, which means to receive a test result before traveling to Maine. If they are tested before they travel, they should stay at home between the time of their test and their arrival in Maine and, if tested upon arrival in Maine, they should quarantine until a negative result is received. Individuals driving through or to states not exempt from Maine’s policy must stay in their cars and not interact with individuals to avoid the requirement to quarantine or get a test.
- Will I have my symptoms checked daily in Maine?
Through Maine’s public health system, or through visits to Maine sites, businesses and establishments, you may be asked about whether you have any COVID-like symptoms.
- What if I travel to multiple locations and lodging establishments during my visit to Maine?
Once a person is in Maine and has either quarantined for 14 days or received a negative test result, the person does not need to repeat the test when, for example, checking into a second or third Maine lodging establishment. The visitor may show documentation from their earlier stay.
- Can I quarantine for a shorter period of time if my stay is shorter than 14 days?
Yes, you can come to Maine and quarantine for the length of your stay if it is less than 14 days.
- Should I be concerned about travel within the US?
Governor Mills recommends that people stay in place if possible, rather than traveling. Traveling increases your chances of getting COVID-19. If you must travel, practice general prevention measures. Consider these questions before travel within the US: Is COVID-19 spreading where you’re going? Will you or your travel companions be in close contact with others during your trip? Are you or your travel companions at higher risk of severe illness if you do get COVID-19? Do you have a plan for taking time off from work or school, in case you get exposed to, or are sick with, COVID-19? Do you live with someone who is older or has a severe chronic health condition? Is COVID-19 spreading where you live?
- What are Maine’s policies for international travelers coming to Maine? (Updated 9/11/20)
The policy for international travelers is the same as that for people traveling to and from non-exempt states. Individuals who obtain and receive a negative COVID-19 PCR test result within 72 hours prior to arrival in Maine may forgo the 14-day quarantine. Travelers may be tested upon arrival in Maine as well but must quarantine while they wait for test results.
- Is there an application process for an exemption? Is there an office or person who can grant an exemption?
No. The Governor’s executive order does not create a process for individuals to seek and receive an exemption to this policy.
- What happens if a person does not follow the test or quarantine policy?
The requirement for travelers in certain circumstances to quarantine or receive a negative test result for COVID-19 is in Executive Order 57 FY 19/20 (PDF). Pursuant to 37-B M.R.S. §786(1), an individual who fails to comply with an order by law enforcement to comply with an Executive Order may be charged with a Class E crime that includes punishment of up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and the payment of civil damages to the State for its costs associated with testing, investigating, contact tracing, and otherwise determining the extent of COVID-19 transmission.
FAQ For Lodging Establishments And Rentals
- What is required for a Maine lodging establishment before checking in a short-term renter to ensure they have met the quarantine or testing requirement?
People who are not residents of Maine or an exempted state must complete a Certificate of Compliance (PDF) form stating that they have received a negative COVID-19 test result, have already quarantined in Maine, or will quarantine in Maine for 14 days. This form must be provided and filled out either prior to or at the time of check-in. The visitor will also submit that they are not currently experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
Lodging establishments, campgrounds, rentals, and other short-term rentals must inform guests of Maine’s quarantine or testing requirement and are encouraged to send copies of the Certificate of Compliance to guests prior to arrival. There must be printed copies for guests to fill out upon arrival, if they haven’t provided one in advance.
Lodging establishments will retain a copy of all Certificates of Compliance for 30 days. They can also document the date of the first night of entry in Maine for the guest, and any other guests in the party, in case they are traveling elsewhere for an additional stay and need to show verification of the first night of stay in Maine.
- How am I required to communicate Maine’s quarantine and testing requirements to guests prior to arrival?
Lodging establishments or rental managers are required, at the time of reservation or prior to the guests stay, to inform visitors of Maine’s requirements for quarantine or testing and to provide the Certificate of Compliance in advance by phone or electronically, if email or online confirmation is possible, or via the mail if time allows. Reminders and links to Maine’s CDC resources, testing locations, and visitor information, such as this FAQ are encouraged.
- Does my staff need to check symptoms daily for all our guests and staff?
Maine’s COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for Lodging requires symptom checks for all staff daily for compliance. The US CDC has also released guidance for lodging and restaurant businesses which may be helpful in answering additional questions about employee and guest safety. The lodging establishment is not required to do daily symptom checks of all guests, but it may choose to require or request symptom checks for entrance into pools, gyms, bars or other public spaces on the premises.
- What is Maine doing to spread the word about this program and support safe visits to Maine in 2020?
The “Keep Maine Healthy” plan and program components are designed to promote Maine as one of the healthiest and safest places in the country for visitors. By protecting the health of Maine people and visitors, and promoting public health measures to protect visitors, Maine’s reputation for quality and safety will be maintained, and guests may visit Maine and enjoy what the state has to offer this summer and fall. Surveys show that visitors want to visit destinations they view as COVID-safe and they want to enjoy the outdoors, for which Maine’s opportunities are unparalleled.
- How is Maine supporting public health measures, such as facial coverings and symptom checks for essential and returning workers?
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has released a public health campaign called “Keep it Maine” promoting shared benefits of public health measures such as social distancing, facial coverings, and symptom checks as a way to protect neighbors and make Maine safe for residents, businesses, and visitors. The Restarting Maine program and business checklists encourage public health measures to support safe operations and protections for workers and customers.
Maine has also introduced a new program to encourage Maine’s municipalities and partner organizations to support education, physical distancing programs (like closing down streets for outdoor dining or increased walkability), personal protective equipment purchases, and education for visitors and residents. In addition, Maine has increased testing so that any Maine person at an elevated risk of getting COVID-19 can get tested, encouraging voluntary testing for Maine’s people.