BAR HARBOR – Businesses are already taking a hit this summer with fewer tourists coming to Maine due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Restaurant and hotel owners are blaming this on the 14-day quarantine order in place for people from out of state coming to Maine.
“A 14-day quarantine is an unreasonable expectation for anybody that could be a guest of yours to be able to achieve before they can check into your hotel,” Director of Operations for Bar Harbor Resorts Eben Salvatore said.
Many businesses in the Bar Harbor area rely on tourists to remain open; however, some have not yet been able to reopen this summer.
“We could not rent our four cottages and rentals in May and June, so we had to send back all of the deposits, so there is no business,” said Sherry Rasmussen, owner of an art gallery and four cottages.
Rasmussen said she and her husband’s art gallery has not been able to reopen yet either.
“Our gallery was set to open in June, but if you look at the sign on the door that we put up last year, it says ‘see you next year for our 45th year in June,’ but we haven’t opened yet,” Rasmussen said.
Although restaurants are open again, they are also experiencing less business.
“Business has been slow,” said Jena Youn, co-owner of Side Street Cafe. “We’ve definitely felt a lot of local love and a lot of local support, but it’s not really enough to keep up with what we need.”
The business owners are pushing for the 14-day quarantine order to be dropped.
“I sent the state some recommendations that I had for modified quarantine,” Rasmussen said. “I haven’t heard back from them on any of those ideas.”
“The rest of the country is open. The rest of our hotels in the country are open,” Salvatore said. “It’s time for Maine to open. We need these customers to come here.”
The business owners said they hope to be able to salvage what’s left of the 2020 tourist season before it’s too late.