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'It's not easy to enforce' Police talk about 14-day quarantine for out of state Mainers during coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

Governor Mill's says police are authorized to enforce the executive order. But according to local law enforcement that is not as simple as it sounds.

WELLS, Maine — With every passing day in the coastal town of Wells, residents and police are starting to see an influx of visitors. 

"You drive around and see more cars in yards with plates from Mass. Ct. RI and NY" says Wells Police Chief Jo-Ann Putnam.

Visitors or summer residents most people in town are typically happy to see. But these days are anything but typical because of COVID-19.

"People are coming here as their areas are much harder hit than ours and we're trying to keep ours that way."

According to Putnam, that's not easy to enforce.

"We're doing the best we can. We're relying on people doing the same thing."

Putnam says Wells officers can't be everywhere. It's not realistic.

"Manpower wise you would need an army here."

She says mostly neighbors have been policing neighbors.

"Not that we're asking people to rat on each other but you need to make sure your neighbors are doing the right thing just like you are."

RELATED: Maine Gov. Janet Mills orders all travelers coming to Maine quarantine for 14 days due to coronavirus, COVID-19 fears

Putnam says most out of state residents have been cooperative and have what they need to self-quarantine for 14 days. The ones that are uncooperative are told to leave.

"I want people of wells to know we're looking out for their best interests trying to the best we can and have those people go back home."

Putnam's biggest message to everyone in town is simple...

"Respect everyone it's not easy for anyone."

Chief Putnam looks at this quarantine similar to the honor system, she says "People need to respect each other and the process."

Deputy Chief Michael Nugent of the Kennebunk Police Department says "we're not chasing people down. We can't make assumptions, maybe it's an essential person who is here. Nugent says they're focusing on education, not enforcement. 

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce says he is counting on voluntary compliance. "If we receive a complaint we will send a deputy to educate the person about the quarantine but trying to build a case or enforce the order is unrealistic."

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we're focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

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