Updated on December 31, 2020 for the travel restriction modifications.
There are many questions with regards to Governor Mills’ Keep Maine Healthy program and a Maine Quarantine. The well-intended premise is to keep both Maine residents and tourists safe! What could be better than that? Tourists, from anywhere, knowing that not only are they coming to a beautiful state with a relatively low infection rate and wide variety of outdoor activities, but also know that other people here are either infection free or staying clear of other people. Visitors from states other than ME, NH, or VT must sign a Certificate of Compliance when staying in a lodging facility. The visitor must attest that ONE of the following is true:
- I have received a negative antigen or molecular test result for COVID-19 on a specimen taken no longer than 72
hours prior to my arrival, consistent with Maine CDC guidance,
- I am getting a test taken in Maine and will remain in quarantine until I get a negative antigen or molecular test
- I will quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Maine or for the duration of the stay,
- I have completed a 10-day quarantine in Maine prior to my stay,
- I had a positive PCR test taken within the last 3 months and already completed my isolation.
The first bullet causes much angst for several reasons:
- With an uptick in COVID-19 cases in many places, testing is not readily accessible in some states
- If testing is available, it is often not possible to get results within 72 hours
- To some visitors, testing is cost prohibitive
In states where it is not possible to know before you go, you may test in Maine. They are working on expanding the number of swab and send sites. This currently presents some problem in that one must quarantine while waiting for the results.
Personally, I am not sure that I would want to subject myself to a COVID-19 test to go on vacation. However, once one understands the quarantine requirements, it is my idea of a perfect vacation anyway!
According to Keep Maine Healthy’s Frequently Asked Questions for Visitors (Visitor FAQ), visitor’s may quarantine at a lodging establishment as long as they meet Maine’s quarantine requirements. The quarantine requirements allow for leaving your house (or place that you are staying) for outdoor exercise activities, such as swimming, hiking, provided that you abide by physical distancing guidelines and avoid contact with other people. For more information see Visit Maine Travel with Care page.
The Visitor FAQ specifically states that someone in quarantine may not visit Maine restaurants, businesses, and crowded public spaces and they may not use shared facilities and dining rooms. Initially visitors comment, well why bother coming to Maine. For some visitors, that may be true. For many visitors, once they understand, it is not a big deal! Although one definitely does not want to miss the midcoast food scene, many are not up for eating in a restaurant. Many visitors are coming for the great outdoors and prefer NOT to be around many other people.
What can I do on my Maine “quarantine” vacation?
- Go hiking! Check out our blog post on The Top 5 Hiking Trails near Camden.
- Get out on the water! You will need to make some modifications to the recommendations made in Water Activities in Maine. You would NOT be able to go on a public schooner ride, but there are several charter boats available for hire to create your own unique adventure for your appropriately sized private party. Cutter Owl has some pretty amazing ideas for your private charter adventure in compliance with COVID-19 guidance!
- Rent a row boat and row over to Curtis Island, picnic, and explore the island.
- Go explore the many lighthouses in the area.
- Rent a bike from Maine Sport Outfitters using their contactless delivery service and explore the area. Plan ahead, deliveries must be scheduled at a minimum of 48 hours in advance.
- Do a private history or haunted Teletour with Red Cloak Tours. A private guide will do a tour with your group on the phone and will tailor the tour for your interests. The tours are available in many coastal Maine communities.
Many of the same things one came to Maine to do before the novel corona virus!
Dining during my Maine “quarantine” vacation
Guests ask if I am “in quarantine” what will I eat? There are some restaurants that have opted not to open yet for indoor dining for the safety of their staff and guests and are ONLY doing contactless take out or delivery. Including a few of those featured in the New York Times travel section article, 36 Hours in Camden and Rockport, Maine (and Environs); Long Grain, Nina June, and Boyton McKay.
One can look at the Penobscot Bay Chamber of Commerce’s Who’s Open page to see who is doing curbside pickup or delivery. Curbside pick up and delivery meet the quarantine requirements.
Guest say, ok, but I don’t want to eat in my hotel room. The local towns have set up picnic tables in the parks to provide seating for the take out services. If you are staying at the Hawthorn Inn, there are ample places to eat outside on the grounds or on your deck so that you do not have to eat in your room. (Unless it rains.) At the Hawthorn Inn, we are serving guest breakfasts on our socially distanced decks/patios or bringing a tray to guest room door.
You can still visit a Lobster Shack as well. McLoon’s is offering contactless ordering and carhop service!