Judge denies motion in suit over out-of-staters’ quarantine

A federal judge has denied a motion in a lawsuit by some Maine campground operators who believe a state quarantine order for out-of-state visitors is unconstitutional. The move came Friday, hours after the U.S. Department of Justice said it filed court papers in support of campground operators.

The campgrounds sued in federal court saying they believe the rule treats Maine residents more favorably than out-of-state residents, and that is hurting them economically.

U.S. District Judge Lance Walker on Friday denied a motion for a preliminary injunction, allowing the rule to stand while the lawsuit proceeds, the Portland Press Herald reported.

Gov. Janet Mills, a Democrat, said the quarantine is “a proven tool to prevent the spread of this deadly disease” and said the Justice Department is “making a concerted effort to undermine the health of the people of Maine.”

Mills said Saturday that restaurants in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties that she told to delay opening can sell their excess food to prisons. Mills plans to start the second phase of the state’s reopening on June 1 but said restaurants in those counties won’t be able to open that day. She said the Maine Department of Corrections commissioner has agreed to purchase excess food from restaurants in those areas, WMTE reported.

On Saturday, Maine reported four more deaths from COVID-19 for a total of 89. The state had 2,025 confirmed cases.

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