BAR HARBOR- Vacation rentals and campgrounds in Bar Harbor will be empty starting April 8th.
Town councilors voted to suspend use of those areas in light of coronavirus concerns.
“The concern is for the long-term financial health and obviously there’s a great deal of concern for the health of our community, grandparents, kids, everybody.”
Town officials say the number of people living in the community spikes by around 13,000 over the summer.
“We all saw the emails from different business owners. They’re not only worried about their own livelihood, but those of their employees as well,” said Matthew Hochman, a Bar Harbor town councilor. “We have difficult decisions to make today and going forward.”
The CEO of MDI Hospital, Art Blank, said they are well prepared to help the community, but an influx of people would create a larger issue.
“There’s no question that having people coming into our community from high risk areas increases the risk that we’re going to have exposure to the disease,” Blank said.
Officials are looking for ways to connect business owners with funds from the federal stimulus package.
For now, the priority is safety and minimizing how many people visiting the island.
“I would rather err on the side of caution and have people see us overreacting and causing a very very short-term inconvenience rather than risk people’s lives and end up with Bar Harbor residents dead because we did not act fast enough,” Hochman said.
Municipal facilities, including parks, will remain closed through April 13th.
A discussion about postponing cruise ship season beyond April will be taking place next Tuesday.