Here’s the latest message sent to Speaker Gideon’s email list:
As of July 1, Maine will enter Stage 3 of the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan. Our people and our businesses are adapting and evolving with remarkable patience. As that plan continues to change thanks to case numbers stabilizing and solutions improving, I wanted to make sure you know about the next two steps.
Starting Friday, June 26, the rules around visitors entering Maine will be adjusted. Moving forward, a recent negative COVID-19 test will allow visitors to forgo the 14-day quarantine, and there will be increased symptom checks at places travelers tend to go. This is on top of a change that was made on June 12 to allow residents of New Hampshire and Vermont, where COVID-19 rates are similar to those in Maine, to be exempt from Maine’s travel restrictions. These changes will allow for safety to remain the priority, but for more business to be done.
Next week, we move into Stage 3 of the reopening plan. Because several of the businesses originally scheduled for Stage 3 had their timelines accelerated and opened during Stage 2, you may not notice major changes. Several more kinds of outdoor recreation and personal service industries will open up for you to attend. Those industries that are opening can find their public safety checklists here. Indoor seating at bars, which was originally scheduled for July, has been delayed because of higher associated risks, but bars are already permitted to open for outdoor service. Otherwise, we still ask you to keep gatherings below 50 people and to maintain social distance and mask-wearing.
The Freeport Town Council has changed zoning requirements to expand outdoor opportunities for our businesses and the warm weather has allowed many of us to hike, barbeque and socialize outdoors. I hope these changes have allowed us to resume some regular activities in our communities and provide some support for our economy, but we must continue to be vigilant about protecting public health.
I’ll continue to work with business owners and community leaders to harness the creativity, innovation, and resolve Mainers have demonstrated in the face of this crisis. As always, I welcome your ideas.
NEW WAYS TO SUPPORT OUR LOCAL BUSINESSES + CURBSIDE PICK UP FROM THE LIBRARY
Our Freeport businesses have taken swift action to protect their customers and employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of the rules changed this month, Visit Freeport has provided an updated overview of how they are safely operating. Maine Public also took a closer look and spoke with many of our downtown business owners on opening day.
Also, the Freeport Community Library book drop has reopened and is planning to provide curbside pickup that started on Monday, June 8th. Details on the new program can be found here. Every day I’m learning about a new way our community is putting forward creative and innovative ideas and it makes me so proud to represent this district.
COMMITTEE BRIEFINGS RESUME
The Legislature has been holding a series of committee briefings to discuss ongoing challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our committees will initially focus on unemployment issues, the unique challenges faced by agriculture and small businesses, the reopening of Maine’s economy, COVID-19 testing and contact tracing, and the impact on medical facilities, including the outsized impact on long-term care facilities.
We are taking steps to ensure that these meetings follow best practices for public health and are accessible to both the press and public. The meetings are livestreamed and archived. More information here.
CLASS OF 2020
I want to offer my congrats to our graduating class of 2020! Our entire community celebrates your accomplishments, your hard work, your capacity to learn and your commitment to achieving the goals you set for yourself. I wish each and every one of you much success in life. I know this year wasn’t how we have typically celebrated, but please know you are an inspiration.
Our community is also incredibly grateful for our teachers. With three kids currently in the RSU 5 schools, I know how hard you have worked to provide materials and instruction during remote learning. You have provided stability and support during an unstable time. Thank you for your remarkable work and I hope you enjoy this summer.
A NOTE ABOUT THE ONGOING DEMONSTRATIONS
Recent events forced us to acknowledge and face the truth about the systemic racism prevalent in our country. As a mother, I have struggled to provide answers to my children and as an elected official I’ve struggled to find adequate words to express my deep sorrow about where we are today in America. We can’t just say that we need to do better. We must bring the truth about the legacy of bigotry out into the open and we must do the work necessary to create justice for all.
Today, healthcare and education, rates of incarceration or murder are all disproportionately affecting people of color. And that will only change when we step forward with purpose and unity to change it. The time is now. We can do this together. We must. More information about upcoming action at the state legislative level to come soon.
REMEMBERING RICH DeGRANDPRE
I want to close this message in honor of a dear and beloved friend, Rich DeGrandpre. He passed away unexpectedly this past week and the entire Freeport community mourns with his family. I had the privilege of serving with Rich on the Town Council. He was a dedicated community member who touched the lives of so many people. I will always remember his infectious laugh and his true desire to solve problems. He will be sorely missed.
Thank you for all you are doing to keep yourself and your neighbors healthy and to support our Maine economy through this time. If there is anything I can do to help you, please reach out.
Sending you best wishes for your health and safety,