OGUNQUIT, Maine — Hotels, motels and inns across the state are struggling to get guests to book rooms as they reopen this week with restrictions still keeping many out-of-state tourists away.
That has prompted many to offer incentives and slash rates to try and entice people to stay.
At The Beachmere Inn in Ogunquit, prices are at the lowest levels they have ever been this time of year, down as much as 50 percent for Mainers through the month of June.
"It's something to get people in the door, to introduce yourself," operating owner Sarah Diment said.
In the last few months, the inn has had to deal with more than 1,000 cancellations, according to Diment.
The property has been in her family since 1937. It was first run by her grandparents, then her mother and now her.
"We've been here for 83 years and the third generation in my family," Diment said. "I just said to Mom yesterday, 'Is there anything you can compare this to?' And she said, 'No not really. Maybe World War II.'"
To make ends meet, they are trying to come up with new ways to get business. They are opening the inn's restaurant, Blue Bistro, this week and offering reserved private outdoor deck seating for parties of up to 20 people.
All the rooms across the six-building oceanside resort are being fully sanitized prior to guests arriving.
Diment said they have even started a program to purchase groceries for guests as most rooms are equipped with a kitchenette.
Still, she said, the 14-day quarantine restriction is causing major problems for businesses like hers all over Maine.
This week Gov. Mills proposed a 'COVID passport' plan that would remove the restriction for people out of state if they can provide proof they recently tested negative for the virus.
"I see positives in all aspects of that plan and I see problems with all aspects of that plan," Diment said.
Despite that, she said some people from the northern part of the state have already started to show interest in staying for vacations or to work remotely.
She is hopeful that trend will continue in order for them to at least survive through summer.
"Mainers are resilient people and I think they were smart people and we know what is good for our state and supporting all these little small businesses, which is primarily what we're made up of, Mainers want to do," she said.
You can find more information on The Beachmere at beachmereinn.com.
You can find local small businesses open near you by going to the Open Near Me section of our website.