As America begins to emerge from isolation and stares at recovery, as small businesses struggle for creditworthiness, state governors try to strike a balance between protecting their citizens and opening up of companies.
Governors under fire from critics
The governors of several states are or have been faced with negative reactions to their various policies to reopen COVID-19. The state of Maine and Governor Janet Mills are currently under fire. In a recent lawsuit launched by Bayley’s Camping Resort in Scarborough, Maine, the owners of this popular resort argue that Governor Mills’ executive order violates the 14th Amendment and the right to travel without discrimination, in accordance with the Constitution.
Although Bayley’s has been allowed to open, this is almost a moot point as the motorhomes, after having seen their spring go away during their quarantine, finally start to go out to save the summer. Many New Englanders would head north to Maine to take advantage of vacation destinations like Scarborough to spend their hard-earned dollars, or their stimulus.
The key to the problem and the reason for the lawsuit is this statement found in the publication “Restarting Maine’s Economy”, written by Governor Mills. As part of the first stage of the reopening protocol, it is stated that “the first stage provides for the maintenance of the ban on gatherings of more than 10 people as well as the continuation of the quarantine of all people entering Maine during a period of 14 days “.
For a motorhome or a family on vacation, the restriction to ten people is not a problem. The hard part is the 14-day quarantine. Most camping trips generally last less than three days, so entering Maine is not practical now. As a result, reservations are canceled and Maine tourism dollars go elsewhere.
Cancellation of the party
Like many of those whose best-designed plans were sent crookedly by the coronavirus, Bayley’s was thrilled to celebrate its 50th anniversary in this coastal resort. Settled in Maine for half a century with 747 campsites, they hope, along with a host of other small Maine traders, to survive the two COVID-19s. Already under fire from GOP lawmakers, the governor’s stated objective is to “… examine the forces that force us to re-imagine the way we do everything in the long run”.
While a long-term goal is good, it still means tough times for companies like Bayley’s Camping Resort who have to endure canceled camping reservations at a time when they should be full. Bayley’s, along with Little Ossipee Campground in Waterboro, say they have collectively lost nearly a quarter of a million dollars in booking cancellations.
“Bayley’s is simply asking that a little common sense be applied to the restrictions. They have done everything they were asked to do for a campsite owner and they now want to put themselves back in the service of their customers. Campers will put themselves in quarantine, they will stay in small groups, they will wear masks – they just want to be able to enjoy their motorhome and be with their family around the campfire and enjoy the fresh air. “
Bob Zagami of the New England RV Dealers Association said
Decline in tourism
Many believe that Maine’s tourism economy is already on the verge of collapse. Hopefully all of Maine’s small businesses will get a boost in the coming weeks as restrictions are relaxed.