Governor Janet Mills today issued an Executive Order mandating that travelers arriving in Maine, regardless of their state of residency, self-quarantine for 14 days to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Order, which directs the Maine Department of Transportation, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and others to post this guidance at all major points of entry into the State, exempts individuals who are providing essential services as defined by Governor Mills’ March 24 Executive Order (PDF).
“To slow the spread of this deadly virus and prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed, we must all do our part,” said Governor Mills. “I am mandating that anyone entering Maine self-quarantine for 14 days and abide by Maine’s Stay Healthy at Home Order. These actions will protect the health and safety of everyone.”
Additionally, the Order instructs visitors not to travel to Maine if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and advises them not to travel to Maine if they are traveling from cities or regions identified as COVID-19 hot spots.
To deter travel, the Order also suspends lodging operations, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and short-term rentals such as those available through VRBO Airbnb, RV parks and campgrounds, and all public and private camping facilities as well as online reservations effective April 5, 2020 at 12:00 p.m.
However, the Order states that lodging can be provided for housing vulnerable populations – such as for children in emergency placements, persons at risk of domestic violence, and homeless individuals as permitted by the State – and for accommodations for health care workers or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety, or critical infrastructure.
While Governor Mills hopes compliance with this Order will be voluntary, it may also be enforced by law enforcement, as necessary. Individual violations of this Order may be charged as a Class E crime subject to a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, any lodging, park, or campground operator who violates this Order may be construed as violating any license, permit or other authorization to operate and be subject to appropriate penalties.
“We are facing one of the greatest public health crises of the world in more than a century. But if we pull together, we can and will defeat this virus,” said Governor Mills. “Maine is a welcoming state, and we welcome the many servicemembers and medical professionals and others who are coming here to help us. I ask Maine people not to make assumptions about others, and we welcome the cooperation of other visitors and returning residents in quarantining themselves and keeping us all safe in accordance with this order. Let us treat all people in Maine with compassion and kindness. That is how we will get through this.”
The Order is effective immediately and extends until at least April 30, 2020.