Maine Island Forbids Entry (Including to Part-Time Residents and Property Owners)

Sadly for S.M. Stirling fans, it's not Nantucket (which hasn't been in the same state for 200 years in any event).

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I quote key parts of the proclamation below; for more, see this Courier-Gazette (Stephen Betts) article (which also notes that "The island has an estimated year-round population of 355, but that swells significantly during the summer" and "The town held its annual town meeting on Saturday and concerns were voiced by some residents about the impact of seasonal residents arriving, possibly carrying the new coronavirus").

My quick reaction:

(1) I think a state could constitutionally enact such restrictions, as an emergency quarantine measure, but I'm skeptical that the particular statutory provisions cited below authorize towns to do the same on their own, and my quick search didn't find any Maine statutes that would indeed so authorize towns.

(2) I don't think municipalities are legally entitled to enact such restrictions in the absence of statutory authorization, though I might well be mistaken.

(3) The town might hope that, even if the proclamation is ultimately held legally invalid, it will deter some people from coming.

WHEREAS, the Town of North Haven, Maine, is situated on an island of the same name lying twelve miles off the coast of Maine; …

WHEREAS, the Town of North Haven operates a non-terminating medical facility known as the North Haven Clinic;

WHEREAS, the North Haven Clinic is staffed by one nurse practitioner and is not licensed or operated as an emergency medical facility;

WHEREAS, patients with serious emergency medical conditions, including patients with COVID-19 requiring hospitalization, must be transported to a mainland emergency medical facility by ambulance on a Maine State Ferry Service vessel;

WHEREAS, transporting patients who are potentially positive for COVID-19 leaves the Town without a nurse practitioner, without a lead Emergency Medical Technician, and without its one ambulance for at least three hours;

WHEREAS, the Town has a limited supply of medical equipment, personal protective equipment, and medicine to treat potential COVID-19 cases; …

WHEREAS, the North Haven Select Board has considered the above factors [see here for the whole list], including the limited availability of people, equipment, and supplies needed to support the island's population, and believes it needs to take steps to protect the people who live on the island from the effects of COVID-19;

WHEREAS, a board of selectmen under Title 30-A Maine Revised Statute, section 2635 shall "as a body shall exercise all administrative and executive powers of the town" except as otherwise provided by State law; and

WHEREAS, Title 30-A, Maine Revised Statutes, section 2109 states that a municipality's home rule authority "shall be liberally construed" to effect activities for the "welfare of the municipalities and their inhabitants";

NOW THEREFORE, in order to best protect the people of the Town of North Haven from the spread of the novel coronavirus known as a COVID-19, the North Haven Select Board hereby orders:

[1.] All travel to the island shall be limited to travel for "essential purposes," as defined below;

[2.] People who do not reside on the island fulltime may not travel to the island due to the significant increase in risk associated with the transmission of COVID-19;

[3.] Contractors who work on the island but do not live on the island may not travel to the island due to the significant increase in risk associated with the transmission of COVID- 19;

[4.] Travel for "essential purposes" shall mean to receive or provide medical care, to provide direct caregiving to people who reside on the island; to resupply bulk food items, fuel, and other products required for human consumption, habitation, and wellbeing; to conduct law enforcement activities, to fulfill Knox County, State, or Federal obligations and to perform duties related to those obligations; and travel for other similar purposes associated with lifesaving, firefighting, and other activities related to the emergency care of persons or property;

[5.] For the time being, "essential travel" shall also include travel to the mainland and back to North Haven Island for the purpose of obtaining groceries and other essential items;

(Note: This may change should the likelihood of an outbreak of COVID-19 increase. The Town of North Haven is working with North Haven Grocery and Penobscot Island Air to arrange for shipment and pick-up or delivery of groceries and other essential items at the North Haven Grocery or via Penobscot Island Air or the Maine State Ferry Service. The Select Board strongly encourages people to order their groceries, foodstuffs, and other necessaries through the North Haven Grocery or from a service that will deliver the items via the Maine State Ferry Service or Penobscot Island Air. The Town will also coordinate efforts to screen and obtain volunteers to help with the delivery of groceries and other essential items to persons who are quarantined or who are otherwise unable to obtain these items themselves. Volunteers would be asked to place the items on people's doorsteps; not to come into contact with quarantined people directly.)

[6.] For the time being, "essential travel" shall also include delivery of building supplies and materials needed for island residents to perform their jobs;

(Note: This may change should the likelihood of an outbreak of COVID-19 increase. The Town will work with Viking, Spears, and other suppliers of building materials and other materials needed for island residents to perform their jobs to find ways to obtain needed materials in a manner that minimizes the likelihood of transmission of COVID-19.)

[7.] People on the island shall avoid close human contact with people other than their families or others with whom they reside;

[8.] People on the island shall not meet in groups larger than ten persons, unless a family gathering would include more than ten persons; …

Thanks to commenter Dr. Ed for the pointer.