State Republicans have been itching for a long time now to control the Governor’s decision making process to meet their political goals rather than maintain the public health of Maine residents.
Their latest effort was unveiled today in a proposal that would allow Massachusetts and Rhode Island residents to come to Maine freely according to a report in the “BANGOR DAILY NEWS” today. According to the article, the Republican plan “would allow travelers from states with weekly positivity rates of 5 percent or less to come to Maine without quarantining or being tested. The proposal also calls for increasing the number of people allowed at gatherings from 50 to 150 inside or outside as long as distancing can be enforced. It still requires masks to be worn in public,” according to the BDN article. Currently, only travelers from New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York can travel to Maine without quarantine or a negative test the same BDN article stated.
Governor Janet Mills was quick to respond with the following press release:
“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 will not only 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 toward helping Maine’s tourism and hospitality industries, rather than urging us to sacrifice the public health measures that have kept Mainers safe thus far.”
Additionally, 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 according to the Governor’s press release.