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Calais City Council votes to allow all businesses to open, defying the state's order

Councilor Michael Sherrard said at a meeting that he wants to "let everyone in the state of Maine know that we’re open for business."

CALAIS, Maine — The Calais City Council has voted to allow all businesses to reopen, in defiance of the governor's reopening plan.

City Councilor Michael Sherrard was vocal about his support for reopening early at a council meeting, which was live-streamed on Facebook. "We need to let our businesses run and make money and support their families,” Sherrard said.

All councilors were in favor of the motion, except for Councilor Marcia Rogers, who expressed safety concerns.

The city council voted to allow businesses to open, but many businesses are opting to follow the state guidelines.

"When it comes to licenses and that sort of thing I think I better conform with the state. I don't want to cause any ripples there," John Marchase said.

He owns the Calais Motor Inn.

His restaurant opened on Monday, allowed under the Governor's rural re-opening plan, but he isn't opening up his motel until the state allows him to which as of now is June 1.

"I certainly can't wait 'til the parking lot's full and we're ready for tourist season. I just hope we're able to do that and I hope everybody stays safe," he said.

Down the street...an antique store opens for the first time since the shutdown two months ago.

But The Olde... won't survive COVID-19. The store is opening to sell off its merchandise.

Marlys Farn-Guillette is a vendor there. She says much of the business comes from Canada, and with the state's mandatory 14-day quarantine, it doesn't make sense to stay open for customers who are not coming.

She's also a Calais resident. She says she's not happy with the city's decision.

"What the hell! Leaving it to them to be responsible? W have shown that we're not very responsible," she said.

Calais is within Washington County, which has just two confirmed cases of COVID-19. Washington County is also included in Gov. Janet Mills' rural reopening plan, which allows retail stores and restaurants to open with certain restrictions in 12 of Maine's 16 counties. Restaurants can reopen this coming Monday while retail stores could reopen last Monday. Under the plan, hotels and other businesses are allowed to reopen June 1.

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