KENNEBUNKPORT — The Board of Selectmen has issued an order recommending owners delay bookings at hotels, motels, and an array of accommodations, and that seasonal residents remain at their primary residences or stay where they’re currently living during Maine’s state of emergency.

The Emergency Travel Advisory Order was issued late afternoon on Thursday and goes into effect 12:01 a.m. April 3.

Selectmen issued the advisory order due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the risk of community spread of the virus, citing authority to do so in the town’s Administrative Code.

Kennebunkport Town Office. Dan King photo

They noted Kennebunkport and other  York County coastal towns are prominent destinations  for visitors and individuals occupying seasonal  and rental residences and short-term lodging, which they said heightens the risk of community spread of COVID-19 through public contact.

“The actions requested in this Travel Advisory Order are not taken lightly, given the importance of private property rights of local owners and visitors, who the Town considers to be integral members of the community, and who have assisted in making the Town what it is today and what it will continue to be going forward,” selectmen wrote.

“The Town recommends, on the strongest possible terms, that the owners of transient occupancy units in hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, residential rental accommodations, mobile home parks, campgrounds (all terms defined in the Kennebunkport Land Use Ordinance), short-term rentals, and transient watercraft coming to marinas located in town in the vicinity of the Cape Porpoise Harbor and the Kennebunk River, refrain from making any and all rental agreements and arrangements of any kind, and/or defer all such rental agreements and arrangements that have already been made, whether or not consideration is exchanged, with third parties, with the expectation that all such units shall remain vacant during the operation of this Order,” selectmen wrote in the Emergency Travel Advisory.

The order also addressed seasonal dwellings.

“The Town recommends, on the strongest possible terms, that owners of seasonal residences and their invitees remain in the location of their primary residence and/or the dwelling unit they currently occupy,” they wrote.

If owners of seasonal dwellings, or those whom they invite move into their units within the period of the order, they are required to self-quarantine for at least 14 days from the date of arrival, as required by the state, selectmen noted.

The order is expected to be lifted on May 1, or when Gov. Janet Mills terminates the current state of emergency, whichever comes first.

There are a number of exceptions, including:

• Individuals who are providing care for town residents, who are unable to care for themselves as a result of illness or infirmity;

• Medical/health care professionals or first responders utilizing the properties referenced herein while serving the own or a neighboring community;

• Active duty military and their family;

• A person or household looking to remove themselves from a household that has a person testing positive for COVID- 19;

• A person who needs to remove themselves from their permanent residence in an effort to escape domestic abuse;

• Government facilities, agencies, and services needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government and provide for the public health, safety and welfare, including but not limited to police, fire, EMS, town manager, code enforcement, and trash collection;

• Recipients of General Assistance from the Town who have been provided with accommodations at such properties;

• Workers who are engaged in “Essential Businesses and Operation,” as defined in the Governor’s March 24 Executive Order.

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