OLD ORCHARD BEACH — On Thursday, April 2, Old Orchard Beach’s emergency management director declared a civil state of emergency for the town. The order temporarily limits rental or occupancy of short-term and seasonal accomodations.

The declaration, by Emergency Management Director and Fire Chief Fred LaMontagne in consultation and agreement with Town Manager Larry Mead and notification to the Town Council, also restricts take-out food businesses.

The emergency declaration prohibits short-term rentals of private residential properties, and new occupancies of lodging establishments and campgrounds until April 30.

“This action is taken to safeguard the health and welfare of our residents, in conjunction with Governor (Janet) Mill’s Stay-Safe-At-Home order, her urgent request that the State’s part-time residents delay travel to Maine, and the State’s advisory to avoid non-essential travel of any kind,” according to a press release from the town. Those already occupying such lodging may continue to stay in their accommodations.

The declaration states that part of the reason for the emergency declaration is that “the occupancy of seasonal accomodations in the town has grown notably in the past week as individuals seek to flee the implications of COVID-19 in their home communities.”

It also states that Old Orchard Beach’s infrastructure, grocery stores and other resources in the off-season are only sufficient for the town’s year round population of about 8,900 people.


In addition, it states that “the town lacks the resources to adequately protect the public health, safety and welfare if there is a large, unanticipated spike in the population because such a surge will overwhelm the town’s capacity to provide essential municipal services.”

The order was to go into effective at 12:01 a.m. April 3.

The emergency declaration also recommends, in the strongest possible terms, that owners of second homes or seasonal homes who are not currently in Old Orchard Beach, delay coming to visit or stay until May 1. If they do relocate to the town prior to that date they are strongly encouraged to self-quarantine for at least 14 days. A letter to that effect has been sent to property owners who reside in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, according to the release.

In addition, in order to promote safe distancing and reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus the emergency delaration also established regulations for take-out food businesses in the Downtown District, according to the release. The declaration requires take-out food establishments in the Downtown District to only serve food via curbside pickup or delivery to another location. Food service will not be allowed at a counter or take-out window. This restriction, according to the release, applies to businesses such as Lisa’s Pizza and Pier Fries that do not have any interior space for customers and instead provide service at a counter or window.

That order was to go into effective at 12:01 a.m. April 4.

Exceptions to the order include: those caring for residents unable to care for themselves; government facilities, agencies and services needed to ensure the continuation of government; general assistance recipients who have been given the aforementioned accomodations; and those engaging in essential services and operations  as defined by the governor’s executive order on March 24, except when it conflicts with the town order.

According to the order, each day of rental/occupancy is a separate violation. Penalities range from $100 to $500 per violation. Additional penalties may include fines and revocation of business licenses.

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