JOINT STATEMENT FROM MAINE HOUSE & SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADERS
In the interest of the health of their neighbors, friends and families, Mainers have sacrificed their livelihoods, their right to assemble, their social and personal freedoms. Citizens have risen to the challenge and we commend each for the part they have played in flattening the COVID-19 curve.
Citizens and Maine businesses have learned how to safely operate. We can apply that knowledge going forward.
The State’s statistical data supports that it is now time to safely and responsibly reopen Maine.
“Health and safety of the citizens means not only physical health but also economic health they go together. That is why businesses need to be open on May 8th,” Senator Dana Dow said.
It is absolutely imperative that we do this by focusing on our most vulnerable citizens, particularly those in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and medical settings to ensure we have the most stringent of safety standards in place.
With scientific and statistical data provided by this administration and the CDC, we are left questioning why the Governor is signaling that this government-imposed lockdown will likely extend through August. Again, this in spite of CDC numbers indicating the worst has passed.
We have been provided with the Governor’s Restarting Maine’s Economy Book which lays out her phased plan. It states the administration will look to data and infection rates to make informed decisions, as well as the capacity of virus testing and testing for contact tracing. All great guidelines, but what do the numbers need to look like?
We have asked over and over again for the rubric the administration will be following, but instead we get more arbitrary guidelines. The Governor’s plan, unfortunately, picks winners and losers amongst our citizens.
• Mainers can continue to stand in lines of 100 or more at big box stores, but must stay in their cars in the parking lot to participate in religious services.
• Restaurants can prepare a meal for you and hand it to you on a curbside, but not if you are seated at a table socially distanced from others in the building.
• Citizens are required to wear a cloth mask if physical distancing measures cannot be adhered to, but businesses can’t open unless these measures can be adhered to.
We are thankful that the administration heard some of our pleas on behalf of small businesses in Maine, such as our golf courses, hair salons and barber shops, but are left trying to make sense of why other businesses are still not allowed to operate.
The General Guidance and Car Dealers Checklist provided by the administration is a detailed guide of what a business needs to do to ensure safe interactions with the public. Why isn’t this being offered to all businesses and allowing them to decide if that can operate while complying with these safety standards?
“It is our duty to represent the interests of all of Maine’s citizens. That means their physical and mental health, their safety and wellbeing, and making sure we do not financially ruin our constituents,” said House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham. “The cascade effects of failed businesses will be felt for years to come.”
Government has failed to meet the needs of so many of our neighbors and friends. It has been six weeks, and only now are self-employed Mainers able to file for the help they need. For our citizens that feel safe returning to work with the implementation of all recommended safety standards, we must allow them to do so.
This is not government for the people, by the people, but rather a government that believes their perspective knows what is best for all, despite the mounting evidence that opening up is appropriate.
To be clear, we want a focus on safety and an approach that is measured to ensure our most at risk citizens continue to be protected. That approach also needs to account for the mental, social and economic well-being of all of Maine’s citizens.
Dana L. Dow
Senate Republican Leader
Assistant Republican Leader
House Republican Leader
Harold ‘Trey’ L. Stewart, III
Assistant Republican Leader