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Business and Economy

'I Don't Know How To Handle It Yet' — Confusion Over Maine's Quarantine Alternatives

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
In this Thursday, May 7, 2020 photo, a main drag is quiet in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, just weeks before the summer tourist season starts.

Owners of some Maine lodging facilities say they're encouraged by the state's new alternatives to its 14-day quarantine rule for the tourist season. But they say enforcing the protocols could be confusing and cumbersome.On Monday, Gov. Janet Mills announced that instead of quarantining for two weeks, visitors to Maine seeking lodging can sign a compliance certificate indicating they've tested negative for COVID-19. Visitors from Vermont and New Hampshire, meanwhile, will be allowed to enter the state immediately without any requirements, and stay overnight begining Friday.

Theresa Violette, the owner of Katahdin Shadows Campground in Medway, says that should help her business, which is frequented by a lot of New Hampshire residents. But she says she's still not sure how to get proof of negative tests without violating privacy laws.

"I mean, unless they want to voluntarily hand me something and say, 'Look, we were tested,' I don't know how to handle it yet," Violette says. "It was kind of a surprise announcement on how we do this. I read all the draft [plans] last week, and looking at it, and thinking, 'I don't know how this is going to work.'"

Travis Ferland, the owner of the Rangeley Inn, says the additional options should give customers more flexibility and make it easier for out-of-staters to visit. But he says it will still be difficult to fully enforce the measures, which is why, he says, he's put additional safety precautions in place.

"So we've gone above and beyond with that later, just in case someone is disingenuous in their certification, we still have the ability to make sure we're protecting everybody and keeping people safe on our property."

On Monday, Gov. Mills said that hotels and campgrounds could ask guests for proof of a negative COVID-19 test when they sign their compliance certificate, but won't be required to do so.

Mills said under the new plan, the state will also increase symptom checks at popular tourist destinations and fund local efforts to limit spread of the virus.

Originally published June 9, 2020 at 11:54 a.m. ET.