Getting right to it:
What is the state asking of visitors, both homeowners and guests? Visitors need to complete a COVID-19 Certificate of Compliance. We have made this super easy. Fill out this request and receive a compliance form through DocuSign. Complete this DocuSign on the day you arrive, and you will receive a copy of your executed document. If you have a larger family, you may need to complete more than one. The state's form is a bit skimpy on number of guest slots per form. No matter, you can request multiple forms, we just recommend you have unique email addresses per form request. So, have your spouse, parent, cousin do their own if you need more guest slots than the form allows.
The form asks you to attest one of the following:
If you are a guest or client of KPort, complete the DocuSign, and your work is done. If you are not, forward it to your landlord or management company, where you are staying. We recommend this over signing a form in person. In this day and age, there is no reason to meet with your landlord or owner to receive a key and fill out this form. We are disappointed the state did not come up with a digital solution themselves, but we did. And, anyone visiting the state can use it. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to us.
Now on to more detail about visiting Maine:
Keep Maine Healthy is the recently instituted program to help Maine address the arrival of ~10 million visitors to the state this summer. Whether these numbers will parallel prior years remains to be seen, but from what we are seeing from a rental bookings perspective, there appears to be only a modest decrease in occupancy projections. The exception is of course that hotels, motels, resorts are likely to see a reduction more significant than the single family short-term rentals. In fact, their loss of business is likely propping up short term rentals.
We at KPort have talked to over 100 prospective visitors, as well as our home owners, the Governor's office, and local business owners. Here's what we know. Maine, as well as VT and NH have had significantly lower COVID-19 cases per capita than their more densely populated neighbors. As such, the perception from the state is that they are about to see a dramatic influx of COVID carriers. So, they have instituted a very serious tone and position. We cannot blame them. However, we are concerned that they have set parameters that are likely unrealistic and therefore will simply be violated by visitors. Let's face it, people are going to the beach. Do people need to go out to local shops? Honestly, no. It is possible to purchase most of what is needed on the way in, and have the rest delivered to the rental home. If people take this approach, they should be able to keep their families and Maine residents safe.
So, will Maine see an influx of COVID carriers? Yes. Dramatic? It's not clear. Every prospective visitor we have spoken to has told us that they have been in a stay-at-home mode for at least a month. Now, frankly, we deal with an affluent clientele. And, it's no surprise that the affluent have less need to go out into the wild. Many, except healthcare people, are able to work from home. So, our sample group is skewed. I think our guest sample poses very little risk, particularly if they follow the practices we describe above.
While there is a rather dramatic policy now in place for visitors to the state, the policies for conducting business are rather loose. As such, when this summer is over, no one will know how much a COVID uptick was the result of allowing people in from out of state versus the policies of businesses being open and in what capacity, as well as how well everyone complies with the re-opening rules. Just because businesses are open, doesn't mean you should go to them. However, if stores and restaurants are offering delivery, we encourage you to take advantage of them and support the local economy. Small business owners are suffering across the country, but we all know that Vacation Land persists off of 3 months of the year. Help them out, but do so safely.
Be respectful, be compliant to the best of your ability, be safe and be well. And, as always, enjoy your visit to Maine.