Governor Janet Mills issued the following statement on Legislative Republicans' continued effort to jeopardize Maine's public health measures:
"For the life of me, I cannot understand why Republicans care more about Massachusetts money than the life of a Maine person.
"What the Republicans unveiled today is not a set of recommendations to salvage our tourism industry. It is a Donald Trump-style assault on the very public health measures that have successfully protected Maine people. It amounts to a Republican invitation for a resurgence of the virus, which not only would sicken more people but would damage our economy for years to come. If Republicans want to see how damaging COVID-19 can be, they need only look to states like Florida, Texas, or Arizona who have had to slam the door shut on their economies again.
"I, too, am deeply concerned about the economic ramifications of this pandemic and am worried about small business owners across Maine. Economists, public health experts, and many business owners have told me that the best thing we can do for our economic health is to ensure that we protect public health. My Administration will continue to strike that balance.
"I invite Republicans to join us in embracing science and marketing Maine as a welcoming and safe place for people to visit, live, and work. Further, if Republicans were interested in stabilizing the economy and protecting public health, then they should join me in calling on Congress and the President to pass another round of economic support - one geared towards helping Maine's tourism and hospitality industries - rather than urging us to sacrifice the public health measures that have kept Mainers safe thus far."
Background: Maine is reporting a 7-day positivity rate of 0.998 percent, significantly lower than the 5 percent rate Republicans are asking for.
Maine's policy continues to be to evaluate potential exemptions. No resident of any other states - including Massachusetts and Rhode Island - is prohibited from traveling to Maine. Maine welcomes them, which is why the State offers a testing alternative to the quarantine requirement. In fact, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut and Hawaii have followed Maine's lead in adopting a 72-hour negative COVID-19 test as an alternative to quarantine, while a significant number of states, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, have instituted and expanded their own mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement for certain travelers.
Further, Maine continues to increase testing capacity, with new swab and send sites announced just last week, which out-of-state-residents can utilize under DHHS's Standing Order - despite Republicans factually inaccurate statement to the contrary in their press release.