PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine Republicans and hospitality and business groups said Monday the state should ease restrictions on entry into the state to try to save what’s left of the summer tourism season.
The push for reopening earned a swift rebuke from Democratic Gov. Janet Mills, who said the Republicans “care more about Massachusetts money than the life of a Maine person.”
Many Maine communities are heavily dependent on tourism, and Massachusetts has long been a big driver of tourism dollars to the state. Travelers from Massachusetts must currently quarantine for two weeks or provide documentation of a negative coronavirus test if they visit Maine.
Maine Legislative Republicans said Monday the state should add Massachusetts and Rhode Island to its list of states exempted from the restrictions. That list includes the rest of New England as well as New York and New Jersey.
“Without a chance at salvaging part of the tourism season, businesses and livelihoods are being destroyed,” said Senate Republican Leader Dana Dow, of Lincoln.
The Republicans also called for an increase of the maximum gathering size in the state from 50 to 150. They said the state should also drop quarantine restrictions for visitors from states that have a positive testing rate of 5% or less.
Mills characterized the Republican plan as “a Donald Trump-style assault on the very public health measures that have successfully protected Maine people.” She also called it “a Republican invitation for a resurgence of the virus.”
Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention director Nirav Shah said recently that state officials are monitoring the status of the pandemic in other states and still believed it’s appropriate to maintain restrictions on travelers from Massachusetts and Rhode Island.