AUGUSTA – As Maine enters Phase 2 of the reopening plan, Senate President Troy Jackson and Speaker of the House Sara Gideon renewed their call for a re-opening task force that would bring together members of Governor Mills’ cabinet, public health experts, business leaders, labor and employment interests, and the public. The proposed Task Force would be immediately focused on the re-opening of Maine’s economy in a safe and sustainable manner and work in concert with Governor Mills’ Economic Recovery Committee.

Several New England states, including New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have established similar advisory boards to aid in the re-opening process. 

Statement from Senate President Jackson: 

“In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, small business owners have done what Mainers do best: used hard-work, grit and creative solutions to evolve their business models while putting the health and well-being of their neighbors and employees ahead of profits. When making decisions about the road ahead, we should lean on that expertise and work side-by-side with businesses, employees and public health professionals. Unfortunately, while yesterday’s changes to Phase II may be right for public health, there are unforeseen consequences created by not including these stakeholders in the discussion. Speaker Gideon and I are again urging the Governor to create a Reopening Task Force to ensure all Mainers can provide input on these critical decisions. Mainers are stronger when we navigate challenges together.”

Statement from Speaker Gideon:

“We have all made sweeping changes to our daily lives to mitigate the impact of this disease on our families, communities and economy. Our people and our businesses are adapting and evolving with remarkable patience. While recent changes to Phase 2 reflect the interest of public health, these  sudden shifts will undoubtedly have the unintended consequence of an additional and in some cases, insurmountable, financial burden on many businesses all operating under previous guidance.

“These very small businesses and many other stakeholders have valuable insights to offer as the State continues to readjust its response plan based on the current situation. We have the opportunity to harness the creativity, innovation, and resolve Mainers have demonstrated in the face of this crisis and that is why we are renewing our call for a transparent Reopening Task Force.” 

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