It is time to put an end to the “quarantine vacation” before the real trouble begins.

Maine has always encouraged travelers to enjoy our beautiful state. However, this year is different. The new season is around the corner, and with it comes a serious risk to our residents: the short-term renter.

They have already started to creep in, from viral “hot spots” such as New York and Massachusetts, renting Airbnb homes or asking on Facebook for a place to stay in Maine to get away from the virus. At a time when many people are working remotely and children are learning at home, there is unprecedented flexibility to travel to Maine.

Our governor’s recent request that people should not travel to Maine “to take an early vacation” will not deter visitors who are desperate to get out of a region with a high infection rate. And what better place to be stuck in quarantine than lakeside or a quaint town in Maine?

Except they will not be stuck inside. They will have multiple points of contact with communities: gas stations, rest stops, airports, trains. They will go to grocery stores, convenience stores, pharmacies, shared recreational spaces, and perhaps to local health care providers. When they leave, the host may be exposed to viral contamination as they prepare for the next guest.

It is not necessary for people to travel to Maine in the upcoming months for getaways. Gov. Mills is well positioned to continue to protect the people of Maine by suspending short-term rentals.

Meredith Harrell

Portland

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