CALAIS, Maine (AP) — Sen. Susan Collins said the Canadian province of New Brunswick's move toward reopening its border with Maine this summer is good news for both countries.
Maine has more than 600 miles of border with New Brunswick and Quebec. The government of New Brunswick recently unveiled a plan to allow travel between the province and Maine starting July 1 as long as 75% of New Brunswick residents age 12 and older have received their first dose of a vaccine.
Collins, a Maine Republican, said the closed border “has taken a severe toll on the many Mainers who have been unable to visit Canadian relatives and small businesses that have lost Canadian customers.” She said New Brunswick's reopening plan is a welcome “light at the end of the tunnel for many Maine families and small businesses.”
New Brunswick will have to make some vaccine progress to reach its stated goal. About a fifth of New Brunswick residents age 65 and older have received their second dose of the vaccine. However, hospitalizations in the province have been low.
In other pandemic news in Maine:
FOURTH OF JULY
Bangor is bringing back its Fourth of July celebration with a road race, parade and fireworks.
Organizers say Gov. Janet Mills’ decision to lift restrictions and physical distancing requirements last month gave them the green light to move forward with the celebration.
“It’s going to be nice to get back out in the sunshine, see the parade units rolling down across two cities, and have a lot of money go up in smoke basically,” Michael Fern, president of the Greater Bangor 4th of July Corporation, told WABI-TV.
Most of the events are expected to take place, with the exception of a pancake breakfast and charity concert.
Such Independence Day celebrations are going to be hit or miss.
Portland already announced that Portland Symphony Orchestra will not performing on the Eastern Promenade, but it hasn’t yet decided whether there will be fireworks.
The daily number of COVID-19 infections continues to stay under 100, but the state recorded its first deaths in nearly a week.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported 61 infections and two deaths on Wednesday.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Maine has dipped from 237 new cases per day on May 17 to 97 new cases per day on May 31.
The AP is using data collected by Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering to measure outbreak caseloads and deaths across the United States.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported Wednesday that 827 people have died and more than 67,000 people have been infected in the state since the start of the pandemic.
The state's mobile vaccination unit will cease operations later this month.
Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said Wednesday that the mobile unit will wrap up in Old Orchard Beach on June 18. It was in Calais on Wednesday.
“If it works for your schedule to drop in, you should feel free to do that,” Shah said.