Visitors to Maine welcome without quarantine or negative test

Maine CDC director Dr Nirav Shah said travel policy in Maine could change based on the spread of variants of the COVID virus

MAINE, United States – As of Saturday, there is no need to quarantine or show proof of a negative COVID-19 test if you are traveling to Maine. The Pine Tree State welcomes all travelers from all states without imposing COVID-19 requirements. According to Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the state now adopts an “all states exempt unless otherwise specified” model as of May 1, 2021.

However, the unrestricted policy could end at any time. Dr Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said policy could change depending on the spread of variants of the virus that causes COVID-19. The policy change is based on a successful travel season last summer.

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The introduction of vaccines also played a role in the decision. Shah told The Associated Press: “It’s a good idea to get tested when you return to Maine after an out-of-state visit.”

As of May 1, travelers will no longer be required to test or quarantine when entering Maine. Shah, however, said that may change depending on the increase in cases and variants in other states. He said the Maine CDC reviews this data from time to time and that currently no state is on this exception list due to a high prevalence of variants, “but that may change as time goes on. as we move further and further into the summer. “

Shah said this was in recognition of two things:

  • A successful travel season in the summer of 2020. Shah said that while Maine had a number of travelers entering the state, there was very little associated transmission.
  • An increasing number of people across the country are getting vaccinated. Shah said vaccination rates were increasing and with that, the likelihood that an individual could pose a risk to someone in Maine decreases.

The news of the lifting of travel restrictions is good news for local tourism-based businesses.

“Everyone wants lobster, they want to go out on the water. They want to go out and see the world again, ”said Terry Morrison, general manager of the Inn at St. John in Portland.

“Our bookings in January, when all the restrictions were in place, were around 39%. And now we’ve gone down to around 79, 80%,” Morrison added.

It’s the first weekend in over a year that visitors can come to Maine without having to provide a negative test or quarantine. Maine Tourism Association CEO Tony Cameron believes this is the start of a revival for Maine’s tourism industry after a difficult 2020 amid the pandemic.

“We knew people wanted to travel in and out, so having the ability for people to plan ahead is incredibly beneficial to the industry,” Cameron said.

The changes to travel restrictions in Maine were announced in early March as part of the Mills government’s “Moving Maine Forward” plan.

Companies are also eyeing this May 1 date in anticipation of travelers. The Maine Brews Cruise, formerly known as the Maine Brew Bus, was able to host its first Bike + Brew tour of the year on Saturday.

“We are very optimistic, I think with the lifting of the restrictions it is a little easier for travelers to come and visit and even plan a last minute trip, we are seeing a lot of last minute bookings,” said co-owner Zach Poole.

The next step in the “Moving Maine Forward” plan is to increase capacity limits. On May 24, the outdoor capacity limits increase to 100%, while the indoor capacity increases to 75%.

“We all need a vacation, so we’re excited to be able to accommodate a lot more people this year,” Cameron said.


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