Tim Tower, April 10, 2020
When I wrote last time, I suggested that you should wait before coming to Ogunquit. That applies more now than it did then. A few days ago, our Governor Janet Mills prohibited the operations of all the hotels and motels in the state. Other new prohibitions include all the parks and recreational areas in southern Maine. Places like Nubble Light, Mt. Agamenticus, parking along the shore from Hampton Beach, New Hampshire to York, Maine, the Fisherman’s Walk in York, the adjacent Steedman’s Preserve and all the Rachel Carson’s public access properties are not allowed entrance or access. In fact, unless you know the area better than I do, it’s almost impossible to find an area to walk your dog unless you’re interested in taking the animal on the sidewalks and paved roads in town or elsewhere like Deb and I have been doing. Persons coming in from out of state are required to be self quarantined for fourteen days. And all the CDC requirements are to be followed. Policing this has been problematic. But, in the obvious places (like the Marginal Way), repeat offenders will be fined. And I have been told that fines are increasing.
As of yesterday morning, there were only 14 deaths in Maine due to Covid-19 infections. I haven’t checked today’s number. Relatively speaking, this is a small number. This is good and bad. The good, of course, is the fact that we have so many fewer deaths as opposed to the more southern states. The bad news is that we aren’t even close to a leveling off point or a time where it might look like we can relax restrictions. The state is “flattening the curve” but, in so doing, we are lengthening the lock down time period.
I don’t know when we will be able to open. Much depends on how the virus runs its course in other states as well as what the virus does here. We will not be doing take-out at Barnacle Billy’s as some have suggested I do. I mentioned this before. But I feel more strongly about this now. Some businesses have remained offering take-out. Others started doing it but curtailed it because the employees were very uncomfortable and the patrons were not following the health protocols. I don’t want to do it because there is no way to do it without having some kind of assembled line of people behind a window. We don’t have a drive up window. So this would send the wrong message. It’s also against what our Governor and the Maine CDC are trying to accomplish. And if we weren’t popular enough to have a line, then it wouldn’t be economically feasible to do it anyway. Instead, I have applied for and have been approved for the slated PPP (CARES Act) loan. We will pay our employees and most of our utilities out of this. Besides, even if we were to open, where you go with your food? Stay in your car? You can’t sit anywhere in the Cove. You can’t even park anywhere.
During the last two weeks we have been plugging along, getting both restaurants ready and completing all the repairs and the painting we normally get done before opening. We have been slower at it because I don’t want all our salaried staff down here all at once. And I have been requiring surgical gloves, masks for some and telling others with a higher risk factor that they can’t work with the other employees at all. We won’t bring product in until we know we will be able to open. We don’t have a date for that yet.
So hang tight everyone. There isn’t anything I would like more than to see all your happy faces behind a boiled lobster and a rum punch on the deck overlooking Perkins Cove on a warm sunny day. Or even sitting in front of a warm fire in the dining room. But all good things happen in their time. And our time, although not now, will come eventually. Stay safe; please!