BAR HARBOR, Maine — On Wednesday, it was announced that the first case of COVID-19 arrived in Hancock County. Hancock County is home to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor, two of Maine's biggest summer tourist spots.
The summer is when businesses in the town thrive and without the tourist season, they would struggle to get by. But the town is urging tourists to stay home, for now.
Jeff Dobbs is the Bar Harbor Town Council Chairman. He says the council has to balance the safety of the residents of Bar Harbor and support the local businesses that rely on the summer season.
“First and foremost, all the councilors agree we need to protect home base first," Dobbs said.
Out of state guests boost Maine's economy every summer, but right now, they could be contributing to the spread of the coronavirus. Dobbs is urging those out of staters to stay home.
“Stay in place wherever they are until this blow over until the point where its safe to come here," Dobbs added.
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Urging people to stay home will hurt business. But according to the council, about 95% of the local business owners support the decision to keep the residents of the town safe.
“They’re saying we support you, we need to close it down and hopefully we can salvage the latter part of the season", Councilor Jill Goldthwait said. "They've been wonderful.”
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented measures and that's what the Town Council is calling for. Luckily for the small community, the State has extended its stay at home order through April.
“To the extent the state can take the lead on this, it is so much easier for a small community," Goldthwait said.
Cruise ships also bring in hundreds of guests at a time to Bar Harbor. As of now, all cruise ships have been banned from docking through April. The Town Council will be meeting next week to discuss plans for extending that ban.
The town is taking all the precautions to keep its residents safe and make sure it's ready to return to normal when the spread of the coronavirus stops and guests are more than welcome back.
“We want you to be here when we can put our best foot forward but now is not that time," Goldthwait added.