Maine is a summer destination for many New Englanders, it boasts hundreds of tourist attractions from beach towns to lake houses and even national parks. While the Maine economy balances on the influx of people during summer months this particular summer is very different. The global pandemic known as the corona virus has taken over 3.11 million lives in the United States so far and shows no signs of letting off. This has many residents of Maine on edge. Especially when it comes to letting tourists from out of state into vacation. There is no way to know if people flooding into Maine have been responsible, and if they will quarantine for the mandatory 14 days upon arrival. With all this uncertainty I see no other option but to close down the border of Maine to vacationers. A large concern is big city residents fleeing from corona hot spots to secluded Maine towns and Islands. With small tight knit community’s an outbreak of corona would be devastating. We can see from states such as Arizona, Texas and Florida just how detrimental re-opening to soon can be. According to the U.S. News & World report Maine has the highest percentage of senior citizens, with nearly 21% of the population aging over 65. This virus is most deadly to the elderly with statistics from the CDC showing that nearly 8 out of 10 deaths are to those who are 65 years and older. These numbers alone show how important it is to closely monitor who is coming in and out of the state of Maine.
While I think that it is important for every state to take precaution when it comes to re-opening, I believe Maine is slightly unique. Data compiled from the Maine office of tourism shows that approximately 20.5 million tourists visited the state of Maine in 2018, the majority being in the summer months. The revenue that comes in with these tourists may be exorbitant, but It is not worth the lives of thousands. I fear for the safety of my own grandparents when thinking about people flooding in from states such as Massachusetts and New York. It is important that we take the necessary steps to stop this pandemic before we move forward with the re-opening of our nation. Social distancing has been proven to work, we can observe this through other nations such as Germany and France who are only seeing a few hundred new cases a day compared to thousands in the United States. If in fact, we continue to let tourists into the state of Maine there must be some regulations. Unless they own their own house, they should be required to show documentation that they have tested negative for COVID-19. There is no other way to protect the well-being of residents in Maine. If documentation shows that that in fact, they have tested negative then they can be allowed into the state. There also needs to be a cap on how many out of stators are allowed in at one time. The higher the concentration of people the more likely the virus is to spread. Another measure that I think needs to be taken is closing down public beaches. Beaches have been shown to be a place where many people congregate and neglect social distancing. If this doesn’t change we are only promoting the spread of the virus. There is no way for things to return to normal unless we take the required time and precautions. If we act like everything is normal and rush the process, then we will only be being putting ourselves worse off in the long run. As much as people want to move on like COVID-19 is over that just isn’t the case.
Maine has far too little residents, money, and resources to fight a giant surge of corona cases. Summers in Maine are loved by all, but that doesn’t mean we can forget the global pandemic that is taking thousands of lives every day. We as a nation need to be better so that this virus can be placed under control. Until that day I feel we must take all of the steps that I listed above to protect not only our elderly but everyone who calls the state of Maine home.