“Welcome To Maine, Now Go Home!” was a popular playful bumper sticker in the 1980s and 90s. As someone who will always be considered “from away” despite having first moved in Maine in 1986 I get it. However, the current sentiment is actually quite dire and with good reason. As of yesterday’s Maine CDC update we have less than 80 available ICU beds for the entire state of Maine. Non-essential businesses, save for a few exceptions, are closed. The York town manager plans to ask the police department to put signs near the Maine Turnpike exit to warn visitors the beaches and parks are closed. “We don’t need the day trippers right now,” he said, noting local residents can get out for walks in their neighborhoods. Additionally as of yesterday beaches in southern Maine are now closed and Acadia National Park is also now closed due to coronavirus. I suspect that the beaches in my town will close. Portland has a shelter-in-place in effect.
Yet we are Vacationland with thousands of snowbirds, seasonal residents and vacationers, many of whom are coming to Maine early to “escape” coronavirus and their local shelter-in-place mandates. Our population is growing yet we don’t even have the hospital resources for the year-round residents in this pandemic. This is terrifying. I hope people will choose to do the right thing as opposed to practicing their right to go and do as they please.