Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement today on the hospitality and tourism industry’s proposed economic recovery plan:
“COVID-19 has hit Maine’s tourism industry hard and has caused people from across the country to question whether it is safe to travel. That is why my Administration has worked hard to put forward a testing alternative that protects the health of Maine people, visitors, and employees and that allows us to market Maine as a safe place to visit. Just yesterday, I received a message from a person in Maine who was initially frustrated by the proposal, but who told me that, in the end, it may have saved the life of her family member. Here is what she wrote to me:
‘My husband works in healthcare administration in Maryland. Save for FaceTime, I haven’t seen him since early March. We planned that he would drive from Maryland tomorrow (Friday) to Maine. We were upset with Gov. Mills’ announcement on Monday, concerned that he wouldn’t be ‘let into’ the state so he proactively took a COVID-19 test early Tuesday. He learned just two hours ago that he’s COVID positive. He is asymptomatic and will take an antibody test later today. This was a clear shot across the bow for our family as we have an extended “familial bubble” that includes an immuno-compromised family member which may have led to devastating consequences. You have my permission to cite this experience but respectfully request that you not identify our family.’
“Our plan is working, and our Administration is working hard to protect the health of Maine people and ensure that our state is a safe place for people to visit this summer. I, too, am deeply concerned about our economy. But I can think of nothing more devastating than an outbreak or resurgence of this deadly untreatable virus during the height of tourism season. Nothing would be worse for our economy and for the tourism industry, in particular. I want visitors, staff and the public to know that they are protected by every means possible.
“I welcome proposals from all sectors of our economy regarding business losses and will be asking my Economic Recovery Committee to take them into consideration as we work to mitigate the damage to Maine’s economy caused by COVID-19 and as we consider ways to jumpstart economic recovery. The Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee is also meeting and collaborating with my Administration on potential uses of the coronavirus relief funds, and I hope they will take these proposals into consideration as well.
“This proposal also underscores the need for Congress and the President to provide greater aid to the states, which all governors have repeatedly advocated for, as the repercussions of this virus continue to reverberate across every sector of our economy, from commercial fishing, to agriculture, to health care, and many more. As the COVID-19 pandemic affects every part of our economy in every region and every state in the nation, this aid will be crucial in jumpstarting a broader economic recovery, and I know Maine’s Congressional Delegation will continue to fight for it.”