Mills Orders DOC to Buy Food From Restaurants That Now Can’t Open
Restaurants in four remaining Maine counties had prepared to open their doors to indoor dining beginning today, June 1st, 2020. However, an announcement just a few days prior by Governor Janet Mills put a roadblock in the way of that happening. During the press conference while reporters were asking questions about her new closure announcement, Mills lamented that the conference was cutting into General Hospital. (That really happened)
The three counties that were affected by this decision were York, Cumberland and Androscoggin. Mills cited increasing COVID-19 cases and indicated she didn't believe it was safe to reopen indoor dining in those counties. This means you can go eat a meal indoors in Topsham, but drive a mile down the road to Brunswick and it is not allowed.
As you can imagine, this sparked significant outrage in Maine's restaurateur community. Though some of these restaurants can and will be open for limited take out and outdoor dining, hundreds of establishments will now not be able to open today as originally told by the Janet Mills (D) administration.
To make matters worse, these restaurants had all prepared to reopen today. Buying thousands of dollars in fresh and frozen food items and beginning to put their staff back on payroll after months of uncertainty. Now, back at square one, many of these restaurants are facing another financial storm, this time brought on by Maine's own leadership.
According to WABI, the Governor announced during her Saturday radio address that she had instructed Maine's Department of Corrections to purchase food from restaurants who had ordered it, but wouldn't be allowed to open. Corrections Commissioner Randall Liberty indicated his department would purchase the food to feed inmates and staff.
Liberty also said that they can only buy food at the same price that they can get it under their current food contract. In a nutshell, restaurants will still likely lose money on this deal as well. Also, the Maine DOC cannot purchase dairy products.
We will still continue to follow this story and provide updates as we learn more. And please, if you're able, patronize and support our local restaurants and businesses.