As America begins to exit lockdown and fixes its gaze on recovery, small businesses struggle with solvency, state governors around the country are trying to find a balance between protecting its citizens and opening businesses.
Governors Are Under Fire
Governors in several states are or have faced backlash for their various COVID-19 reopening policies. Under fire now is the state of Maine and Governor Janet Mills. In a recent lawsuit filed by Bayley’s Camping Resort in Scarborough, Maine, the owners of the popular resort maintain that the executive order put in place by Governor Mills violates the 14th amendment and the right to travel while not being discriminated against, under the constitution.
Though Bayley’s has been allowed to open, it’s almost a moot point as RVers, having watched their spring slip away while in quarantine, finally start heading outside to save summer. Many New Englanders would head north into Maine to take advantage of vacation destinations like Scarborough to spend their hard earned, or stimulus earned, dollars.
The wrench in the works and the reason for the lawsuit is this statement found in the publication Restarting Maine’s Economy set forth by Governor Mills. As part of Stage 1 of the reopening protocol it states, “Stage 1 contemplates a continued prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people as well as the continued quarantine of all people entering Maine for a period of 14 days.”
For an RVer or vacationing family, the ten-person restriction isn’t a problem. The difficult part is the 14-day quarantine. With most camping trips typically lasting less than three days, it’s simply not practical to enter Maine right now. The result: reservation cancellations and Maine tourism dollars headed elsewhere.
Like many whose best-laid plans were sent askew by the coronavirus, Bayley’s was looking forward to celebrating their 50th year in business in the coastal resort town. A fixture in Maine for half a century with 747 camping sites, they along with a host of other Maine small business owners are just hoping to survive both COVID-19. Already under fire from GOP lawmakers, the Governor’s stated focus is to “…look at the forces that require us to re-imagine how we do everything over the long-term.”
While a long-term goal is good, it still means tough times for businesses like Bayley’s Camping Resort who must endure cancelled camping reservations during a time when they should be full. Bayley’s, along with Little Ossipee Campground in Waterboro, maintain that they have collectively lost nearly a quarter-million dollars in canceled reservations.
“Bayley’s is just asking for some common sense to be applied to the restrictions. They have done everything asked of a campground owner and now they want to get back to serving their customers. Campers will self-quarantine, they will stay in small groups, they will wear masks – they just want to be able to enjoy their RVs and be with their families around the campfire and enjoying fresh air.”Said New England RV Dealers Association’s own Bob Zagami
Drop in Tourism
Many consider the Maine tourism economy to already be on the verge of collapse. Hopefully all small businesses in Maine will see a boost in the coming weeks as restrictions loosen up.