Work With ME Says Additional Work Needed on Tourism Reopen Plan

Group of lodging industry owners seeking removal of 14-day quarantine regulation for all states

AUGUSTA, MAINE – As Governor Janet Mills released an updated plan to reopen Maine’s tourism economy, members of the group Work With ME say it will still devastate Maine’s Summer tourism season.

Speaking on behalf of the group, Eben Salvatore, Director of Operations at Bar Harbor Resorts says, “The recently announced plan for “reopening tourism” based on mandatory testing is an unproven and unbalanced approach. It creates unnecessary obstacles for people trying to vacation in Maine.  Even worse, based upon our national public health expert consultant’s research, the State’s approach will not deliver the level of safety and reliability being sought.  Implementing this as a means of ensuring public health is therefore misleading and ineffectual.”

“We continue to believe that there are major legal, ethical, and practical barriers to any attempt to require the mandatory testing of non-residents who wish to enter the State.”

“The mandatory testing approach, either on a targeted or universal basis, faces significant legal and moral obstacles that we believe the State may be unreasonably discounting in their planning process.”

  • Existing legal precedent that raises serious concerns about the State’s ability to, among other things:  (a) restrict travel of non-residents across state borders and using public roadways; (b) mandate that someone must undergo a medical procedure in order to enter the state; and (c) require someone to reveal the results  (negative or positive) of testing that may be done. Further, should the state  decide to proceed with “targeted” testing based on geographic regions, the State may face successful legal challenges related to the disparate impact of the State’s policy on certain groups, including (but not limited to) minorities who may be disproportionately affected by the testing requirement.  This carries both legal risk and sends the unintended message to visitors that they are not welcome.  
  • The ability to ensure the efficacy of testing done outside of the state of Maine cannot be guaranteed.  This is the case for the following reasons:  (1) Many available tests being utilized across the country are delivering high percentages of false negative results, so not all tests are created equal.
  • The imposition of mandatory testing is likely to be met by: (1) people either trying to get around the requirement because they do not want to be forced to do it, and/or (2) people avoiding the situation entirely in order to keep from being compelled (in this case, by deciding not to visit the state at all).  

No other State in the lower 48 contiguous States has implemented a testing program for access by travelers into the State

“This policy will bring down the tourism industry for 2020 which is losing already approximately $17 million per day because of the existing quarantine,” said Salvatore “If we start our summer tourism calendar on the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, we have already lost about 17 days, or about $289 million into Maine’s economy.  Every day that goes by is more revenue our state will not see, and with it, the risk of more businesses closing down and jobs going away.”

“We ask the Governor reconsider implementing a testing policy that has never been done in the history of the United States with only 90 days left in the Maine tourism season. Please show some faith in the Maine people to do their job.”

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