Town of Chebeague Island
192 North Road
Chebeague Island, ME 04017

April 22, 2020

Dear Chebeague Friends and Neighbors,

All of us, wherever we may be, are trying to stay at home, stay healthy and stop the spread of the coronavirus. The island has pulled together. We are doing a great job caring for one another during this pandemic. That is the good news. The bad news is we are not in the safe zone yet.

I have received some calls asking about returning to Chebeague from homes nearby in Maine or from other states. You have asked, “When can I return to my summer home?” or “Can I come over just for the day to check on my cottage?” Please try to understand that we are working very hard to stop the spread of the coronavirus. We believe that you are too. We wish we could follow our hearts and say “Come on over”, but we cannot. We must follow the science to stop the spread of the virus.

As of today, we are not yet safe from the spread. Cumberland County, of which we are a part, has the most cases in Maine and the number continues to rise.  It also has the highest number of deaths. We are following emergency orders from the Governor of Maine and the guidelines issued by the Centers for Disease Control.

On the island, we are working together to maintain the safety of Chebeague and to keep the island going, with zero loss of life from the coronavirus. In Maine, the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths is still growing daily. We have not flattened the curve yet. Chebeague’s population is elderly and in the highest risk category. 

Consider these Chebeague Island facts:

1. The Commons has been heroic in their safety measures during the coronavirus pandemic. They are striving to keep their residents and employees safe. We do not want to jeopardize their success.

2. Our exceptional EMS is prepared, trained and committed as always to meet the island’s 911 needs. However, we do not want to put additional stress on our emergency and rescue system in the face of a Covid-19 outbreak. To date, we have not had a coronavirus crisis.

3. Sources of food are stretched to the limit. Islanders are banding together, finding island-friendly food suppliers, with Julie and the Island Market going beyond the call of duty.  The Food Pantry has been set up for all, not just those with financial insecurity — hoping to limit trips to the mainland.

4. We are working together to cut our trips to the mainland drastically, even for essential services. Examples of stretched resources are: Whole Foods, it has stopped any new accounts. The Island Market receives supplies only once a week. Casco Bay Lines has cancelled many trips.  Keeping Chandler’s Wharf traffic and freight flowing is a challenge, just last week the Commons had food and supplies lost in the shuffle.

5. The Chebeague Transportation Company (CTC) has taken extensive safety measures and has made changes to all services (boat, bus, ticketing, rider and freight protocols, limiting the number of passengers, EMS and 911 rescue). In short, the CTC is doing everything in its power to keep Covid-19 off the boat and off the island.

6. The Council’s health clinic and the majority of Chebeague Island facilities are closed, including the School and Rec Center and all of their grounds. 

Our Selectmen issued a Resolution on March 28 asking you to please stay where you are and not travel to Chebeague. We are in a State of Emergency until further notice. The safest place to be at this time is at your home. 

The Governor of Maine, Janet Mills, issued an executive order on March 31st to shelter in place. You can read about it here (“Stay Healthy at Home”) and can review the list of essential services. Coming to check on your island home, if you are not already sheltered in place here, is not an essential service.

The Governor has since required that anyone coming to Maine must quarantine for at least 14 days.  This order is still in effect and may be extended. If you come to the island, we expect you and your family to self-quarantine for at least 14 days.

This means you must stay in your house. You can’t go to the Transfer Station, Doughty’s Market, the Post Office or the Boatyard for gas. You must bring enough food, medicine and supplies for yourself, your family and pets for the full 14 days. If you have a need for your home, boat or automobile, you are unlikely to get the service you would normally expect.

We are one Chebeague community, whether we are year-round or seasonal residents of the island. This pandemic is hard on all of us. We will make it through this together.   

The day will come when we can welcome you back without restrictions. Until then, watch for updates on the Town website under the COVID19 tab.  Please contact me if you have questions.  

Be safe and be kind,

Marjorie Stratton,
Town Administrator