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Visitors from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut can come to Maine starting Friday without quarantining for 14 days or testing negative for the coronavirus, Gov. Janet Mills said Wednesday.
Travelers from those three states join residents of New Hampshire and Vermont who are allowed into Maine without restrictions due to low case counts, Mills said. In 2019, residents of the five states represented 40 percent of overnight visitors in Maine, according to a state study.
The state’s hospitality industry has largely opposed the quarantine requirement and the testing exemption, citing the detrimental effects on tourism in the state due to lack of availability of tests in many states. Greg Dugal, a lobbyist for HospitalityMaine, said his group is “happy to have” the changes, but noted that half of the industry’s feeder market was left out of the order.
Mills has held to the quarantine, saying it keeps Maine residents safe and keeps the state a safe place for tourists to visit. Residents of Rhode Island and Massachusetts — two states that also typically send many tourists here — are still not permitted to come to Maine without quarantining or obtaining a test. Mills said those two states were still not “as safe as Maine.”
Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the weekly cases per million people in both those states was still higher than the level in Maine.
“Both states are in rapid flux and so we’re continuing to look at the data, but based on where they are right now, they do pose an added risk,” Shah said.
BDN writer Michael Shepherd contributed to this report.