COVID-19 TRAVEL POLICY UPDATE – MARCH 5, 2021
In a welcome development, Maine has updated its COVID-19 travel policy to make it much easier for out-of-state travelers to visit our state. The changes take effect both immediately and in the near future.
Effective as of March 5, out-of-state travelers in the following three groups are exempt from Maine’s COVID-19 testing or quarantine requirement:
- travelers from every New England state – Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and, of course, Maine itself;
- travelers who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and have waited an additional 14 days after their vaccination series is complete; and
- travelers who have contracted COVID-19 within the past 3 months and have completed their isolation.
Looking ahead, effective as of May 1, travelers from all states automatically will be exempt from Maine’s COVID-19 testing or quarantine requirement, unless the Maine CDC determines otherwise.
All travelers still are required to wear a mask, maintain social distancing, and clean their hands frequently.
It now has been just over a year since the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020. For so many people, and on so many levels, it has been an unimaginably challenging, painful experience. So many lives have been lost, and so many livelihoods have been diminished.
Thankfully, through the leadership and concerted efforts of many dedicated scientists, doctors and other health professionals, and with the cooperation and assistance of legions of everyday folks, we now appear to be gaining the upper hand in the fight against COVID-19. We are seeing encouraging results from the development and rollout of a handful of vaccines, from continued improvements in treatment methods, and importantly, from the modeling of health-conscious personal behavior.
You may recall that last summer, in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19, Maine was one of the first states in the nation to impose a testing or quarantine requirement on out-of-state travelers. A large number of states followed suit and replicated this travel policy. It has proven to be an effective tool in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19. Maine has been, and continues to be, a relatively safe place to travel during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on published reports, Maine has the third lowest rate of COVID-19 cases in the nation, the second lowest rate of COVID-19 hospitalizations, and the fourth lowest rate of deaths from COVID-19 – all despite having the country’s oldest population.
In view of the positive developments surrounding COVID-19 across much of the nation, many states recently have begun loosening their travel restrictions on out-of-state travelers. Late last week, Maine announced that it would do the same, relaxing the state’s travel restrictions effective both immediately and in the near future. The hope and belief is that Maine and other states soon will begin to see a return to pre-pandemic levels of social and economic activity, without incurring materially adverse public health consequences.
Effective as of March 5, Maine updated its COVID-19 travel policy to provide three separate exemptions from the testing or quarantine requirement imposed on out-of-state travelers:
- State – Travelers are exempt if they travel from any of the six New England states – Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont and, of course, Maine itself. Note, however, that federal requirements related to international travel remain in effect.
- Vaccination – Travelers are exempt if they have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and 14 days have passed since the completion of their vaccination series.
- Recent Infection – Travelers are exempt if they have received a positive PCR test for COVID-19 within the past 3 months and have completed their isolation.
Looking ahead, effective as of May 1, Maine will shift the basic approach of its COVID-19 travel policy. The testing or quarantine requirement will change from an “all states included, except exempt” model to an “all states exempt, unless included” model. As a result, travelers from all states automatically will be exempt from Maine’s testing or quarantine requirement, unless the Maine CDC determines otherwise. Under this revised model, the Maine CDC will be charged with identifying states that have a high prevalence of highly contagious COVID-19 variants. If there is a spike in variant cases in a particular state, Maine will reapply its testing or quarantine requirement to travelers from that state.
All travelers, regardless of where they are from (including Maine), still are required to take three essential, common-sense actions to lessen the spread of COVID-19: wear a mask; maintain social distance from others; and clean their hands frequently. It remains true that the best way to survive COVID-19 is not to contract it in the first place.
These changes to Maine’s COVID-19 travel policy for out-of-state travelers are welcome news for everyone who has been yearning for a return to normalcy in travel. We hope and believe that they will encourage more people to want to travel to Camden, Maine, and to stay at our lovely Inn. We hope to see you here soon!