Dear Out-Of-Staters: Pick Another Time To Visit Maine
I sat inside my house all weekend because it felt like the right thing to do. We are in the midst of a global pandemic, something you or I have never experienced in our lifetime. So you can imagine my disdain when almost every single time I opened a social media app on my phone this weekend, I saw people out, in great numbers, congregating at parks, beaches, outside shops. I sat there and thought to myself, "what are you even doing?"
Not taking this seriously enough apparently and the repercussions are coming. According to the Portland Press Herald, York city officials saw enough this weekend and decided to close all of their beaches to the public. More towns are likely to follow suit and it would hardly be surprising to see Maine close all of the state parks as well. That shouldn't have to be done but people don't seem to be paying attention.
Who isn't paying attention? Well, some of the blame can be tossed at out-of-staters. Tourism is the lifeblood of Maine, especially in the warmer months but these are extraordinary circumstances. A global pandemic isn't the best time to take a stroll to your favorite ice cream shop in Kennebunkport. It's not the ideal time to walk the shops in Ogunquit. And as it turns out, A LOT of people did that this weekend. Shoulder to shoulder foot traffic. Beaches were crowded. Parks had lines of cars. Come on, people.
It's understandable if you're suffering from cabin fever. Kids have been out of school for weeks already, and scheduled for several more weeks at home. Many people are trying to balance home life with working from home and it's difficult. Many people are out of work and finding it challenging to stay home. But the only way we get back to "normal" life quickly, is if everyone takes the COVID-19 virus seriously. It can't be spring break for middle-aged tourists every weekend in Maine. Or else those pristine Maine beaches you love to walk may be closed for a whole lot longer than April. I don't want that and neither do you.
So to my fellow Mainers, do your part. And to those out-of-staters that consider Maine like a second home, we love you but pick another time to visit. Let's get through this thing and I promise you, none of us will complain when the beaches are packed, the restaurants are full and the lines are long for ice cream in July and August. But until then, please stay home. We all want to survive this and we can't do it if we're not working together.