UPDATE: The owner of Jaws Seafood says nothing will stop them from opening for its doors as normal in the Spring.
MACHIASPORT (NEWS CENTER Maine) -- A number of businesses in Washington County took a huge hit after the abrupt closing of the Downeast Correctional Facility.
Both Maine Wild and The Lobster Trap opened their doors Monday for the first time since Thursday. The two businesses heavily relied on the inmates work release program, which allowed inmates from the nearby prison to work for them and get experience in a trade before being released.
The Lobster Trap was forced to miss out on two of its biggest orders.
Neither of the businesses were told Governor LePage had planned to close the prison in the early morning hours last Friday. Instead, when they opened for business Friday morning they had no idea where the staff was.
Tom Platt is the Vice President of Operations for the Lobster Trap, he says he was completely shocked and that the inmates made up about three-fourths of his staff. There are now about three or four people doing what over twenty used to.
“It’s just all hands on deck and everyone is doing the best they can.” Platts said.
Filling close to 150 crates with lobsters used to take them about an hour and a half, now Platt says it could take them multiple days.
Maine Wild is also in a similar situation. The blueberry manufacturing company lost its entire night crew and now only has enough staff for one shift. It's General Manager David Bell says it has made keeping up with orders extremely difficult.
"We were completely surprised," Bell said. "Until we can gear up we are going to run behind on getting orders filled."
"An economically challenged community is going to fall on even harder times," Platt said. "It seems that the Governor's office is not showing my care or support for this great community."