One of the best practice lists for businesses compiled by the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce. See more at visitbarharbor.com/safebarharbor.

Commentary: Best practices for a safe summer 



By Alf Anderson 

On April 28, Maine’s Governor Janet Mills released a plan for restarting Maine’s economy. The plan consists of a “staged approach [that] will allow Maine businesses to safely open…by following reasonable, practical guidelines to ensure the safety of employees and customers.” Through the release of this plan, the administration has demonstrated faith that the businesses on Mount Desert Island and across the state can safely welcome customers when their respective time comes. 

Bar Harbor’s businesses have largely been dormant over the past two months, but those that have remained open have been vigilant in adhering to evolving state and federal guidelines to keep their customers, employees and our community safe while providing important services that people need. The guidelines, checklists and standards for compliance are stringent, but our business owners have been planning for weeks how to modify their business practices when they reopen to best protect community health. From what I have seen, their plans meet or exceed those set by the state in every instance. In fact, many of our business members imagined and implemented significant changes to their operations prior to these changes being proposed or required by any authority. 

The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with a wide range of business members, has created our own documents outlining local best practices to keep our customers and employees safe. We have also drafted a Visitor Code of Conduct that details our expectations for our guests. We encourage everyone to view these documents at visitbarharbor.com/safebarharbor, download them and share them broadly. 

We are all aware of the risks posed by this virus. The business community is ready and willing to do its part in keeping us all safe as we attempt to get back to some semblance of normalcy. To ensure we are successful, our entire community must keep up the amazing work we have done thus far to prevent the spread of the virus. 

As Mount Desert Island businesses gradually reopen, visitors from Maine and across the country will likely be looking for ways to safely leave their homes after weeks under stay-at-home orders. They will likely be looking for ways to enjoy the outdoors, support small businesses and recreate in our beautiful communities. We should all expect our visitors to adhere to the guidelines set by our state. We should encourage and lead them to follow these guidelines and our own Visitor Code of Conduct and respectfully address areas of concern. We must all take personal responsibility to keep ourselves and each other safe. In short, we should treat our guests and neighbors as we would like to be treated ourselves. 

I am confident that we can all safely welcome visitors together as the state of Maine allows us to begin reopening safely. 

Alf Anderson is the executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce 

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