Maine will allow hotels and other lodging establishments to serve out-of-state visitors who have met the 14-day quarantine period or the new testing alternative on June 26, a slight acceleration aimed at helping the industry serve tourists ahead of the July 4 weekend.
Lodging establishments were previously required to wait until July 1 to serve residents from other states under stage three of Gov. Janet Mills’ reopening plan.
It is the latest in a series of changes announced this week. On Monday, the state rolled out a plan to allow visitors to skip the 14-day quarantine when entering Maine if they tested negative for coronavirus. Starting Friday, residents of New Hampshire and Vermont are allowed to skip the quarantine even without a test.
But the hospitality industry was critical of the testing plan, citing the lack of availability of tests in other states. On Friday, tourism groups rolled out their own plan, calling for the Mills administration to share $800 million in federal relief funds with businesses hard hit by the coronavirus shutdown.
Mills has defended her decision to be cautious about the flow of tourism into the state, however, saying that it is her priority to keep Mainers safe and prevent coronavirus outbreaks.
“Nothing would be worse for the economy, and the tourism industry in particular, than that kind of outbreak,” Mills said in a news conference Friday.
The change for lodging establishments announced Friday does not affect other businesses set to reopen under stage three, such as tattoo parlors and overnight summer camps.
Watch: Janet Mills announces changes to June 1 reopening phase