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Maine's Hotels Will Soon Open Up to More People, But Will the Tourists Come?

Prospective guests have "scoffed" at Maine's quarantine or COVID-19 testing restrictions and change their vacation plans over them, one Portland bed and breakfast owner said

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Starting next Friday, hotels, bed and breakfasts and inns can take in guests from states beyond Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

That means people from places like Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island can book stays from that date through the rest of summer.

However, Maine still has some coronavirus restrictions in place for those visitors to stay in lodging establishments. They include signing a form that a guest from outside northern New England has either tested negative for COVID-19 within 72 hours of arriving in Maine or has quarantined in the state for 14 days.

“We are receiving phone calls from out-of-state residents,” said E Scot Fuller-Beatty, owner of The Chadwick Bed and Breakfast in Portland’s West End.

Fuller-Beatty told NECN and NBC10 Boston that, while the guests were eager to book and the inn is eager to have them, the guests say they will change their vacation plans after finding out about the quarantine or testing restrictions.  

“They sort of scoffed at that,” he said.

Maine released a new plan for visitors with alternatives to the 14-day quarantine for some.

For Fuller-Beatty, that has meant tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenue.

He estimated his bed and breakfast has lost $20,000 in refunds up to this point in the year and $60,000 to $70,000 in reservations for the summer.

“We have three room nights on the books for the entire month of June, and that’s with some pretty aggressive marketing,” he said.

For some travelers, like Jen Record, who is already making journeys to places like Maine’s midcoast from southern New England, the restrictions are understandable but a bit confining.

Record got the test and limited travel before coming to Maine but thinks enough safety precautions are being taken across the region by people and businesses that she’d feel fairly safe without having done so.

“I can understand and appreciate that and the spirit behind it but I think if people are smart there are ways to safely start exploring,” Record said.

Seasonal Maine residents headed north for the spring and summer will have to quarantine for 14 days by order of Gov. Janet Mills.

Fuller-Beatty is cautiously optimistic that July will be better than June and said he’ll continue to follow the state’s guidelines.

He is, however, disappointed he won’t be hosting many of the guests who’ve inquired about stays, who, he says, still plan to come to Maine regardless of the governor’s executive order.

“They were coming and they were staying somewhere, they just weren’t staying with us,” he said.

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