To the Editor:
By the time this letter hits the paper, hopefully all cruise ships will have been banned in the U.S. The attempts to quell the townspeople’s fears of the spread of coronavirus at the Bar Harbor Cruise Ship Committee meeting on March 12 were truly frightening. Even though the Centers for Disease Control recommends limiting large, indoor non-essential gatherings (concerts and games had been cancelled all over the country) the meeting started with an announcement that yet another cruise ship had been added to the roster, making a potential for 198 this year.
The Coast Guard representatives said they will be in close contact with the CDC monitoring the situation. “The cruise ships have strict rules and regs on cleaning. Passengers will have their temperatures checked before boarding and answer a long questionnaire.”
It is not comforting to know that anyone with a temperature over 100.4 degrees would be denied boarding. You can be 100.4 now and 102 degrees one hour later. Tylenol can totally mask a fever. One hundred degrees is sick, and the disease can spread before you have symptoms. “If Bar Harbor becomes a hot spot, the cruise ship industry would look at it.” What is the definition of a “hot spot?” And “looking at it?”
They tried to tell us “4 million tourists come to Bar Harbor every year, at least the cruise ship passengers will be monitored.” The point is —large groups of potentially sick people will be disembarking on our island, putting us all in danger. Social distancing is the best way to prevent spread of disease. The tour guides are elderly. We have an elderly population with chronic diseases. We have a small hospital.
There were some (outnumbered) on the committee who were quite concerned about cruise ships coming. And, because a lot will change in a week, more frequent meetings were scheduled. Still, sadly, tourism seems to be a priority over the health of our community.