Bath Iron Works must be closed immediately, before BIW becomes a COVID-19 hot spot that endangers the health, well-being and indeed the lives of all Mainers.

State Rep. Seth Berry has documented that Gov. Mills has the authority to close BIW, and Gov. Mills must use that authority now, before things get out of control at BIW. As Rep. Berry has demonstrated, there is more than a 99 percent chance that BIW has more COVID-19 cases. With thousands of workers from scores of Maine communities still working at BIW, this is a disaster waiting to happen.

BIW workers who are acting responsibly by staying home are essentially being penalized by Gov. Mills’ inaction, because they aren’t eligible for unemployment, as they would be if Gov. Mills were to close BIW. Any economic losses to Maine incurred by closing BIW would be offset by federal unemployment funds received by the laid-off workers.

National defense would not be harmed by closing BIW. The Navy already has 490 warships. We don’t need more right now. What we need is to avoid a massive COVID-19 outbreak at BIW and consequently throughout Maine.

As state Rep. Jeffrey Evangelos wrote in an April 3 letter to Gov. Mills, his fellow legislators and BIW union leaders, a failure to close BIW will be judged harshly by history.

For the sake of all Mainers, Gov. Mills must close BIW. Now.

Lawrence Reichard

Belfast

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