Thursday, June 11, 2020

Patrick Corey: Trust the people and their elected representatives

By State Rep. Patrick Corey

The COVID-19 pandemic has presented us with unique challenges, but with that, comes resiliency. We are in a better place today, because we’ve changed our habits, modified our world, and committed to preventing its’ spread. It is now time for state government to take notice.

Thirty-seven Windham residents have tested positive for COVID-19, as of June 2, 2020. Our population is over 18,000. We may never know the outcome of these cases, but given Maine CDC’s numbers detailing probable cases, recoveries, and deaths, thankfully, a large majority of those who contract the illness will survive. That does not negate the loss of those that were taken from us, those who have suffered on a path to recovery, or will have related long-term health effects. It does provide hope for people that have tested positive. and frontline workers have faced and met many challenges. Healthcare and public safety workers have gone without the personal protective equipment that keeps them safe. Some have had to witness the effects of COVID-19, whether it be in a healthcare setting, or in a home setting. Essential workers, especially those in retail settings, have kept us afloat. Very few of us were prepared to stay at home for months. These workers put themselves at-risk in service to us, under very complicated circumstances.

Because of essential workers, many of us have been waiting this out at home to flatten the curve and not overwhelm the healthcare system, so we can return to some semblance of normal. My household has been fortunate enough to work from home, granted with some new financial constraints and challenges. I am mostly concerned for those who cannot. I have assisted many who are now unemployed, or making far from what they made before. The Maine Department of Labor has been slow to respond exasperating an already horrible situation for the laid off and self-employed. I have been doing my best to assist them in fighting for the benefits they are entitled too., especially small businesses have been hit hard by the COVID-19 stay-at-home order. Essential businesses that have been able to operate, have had to restrict their activities, adopt new procedures, and purchase new equipment to keep everyone safe. Much of this adaptation has been adopted by businesses in subsequent phases. I have toured businesses that have opened and those that are still closed and can assure you that they are going above-and-beyond what is expected of them. They understand their reputations are at stake.

In Cumberland County, businesses face a lot of uncertainty right now. Last minute changes by the Governor cost many of these businesses thousands of dollars when they bought food in preparation for opening at reduced dine-in capacity. When the plan changed without adequate notice, some closed for good, after spending money they didn’t have, likely after already depleting their cash buffers. There are a number of businesses in our region in the hospitality, outdoor recreation, and personal services industries that have been pushed off until July or August in the restart. am upset that our Governor has left the Legislature completely out of policy decisions affecting our region and our constituents. The people of Maine elected both a Legislature and a Governor. The Legislature should have input regarding reopening decisions.

Together, we have learned a lot over the past few months. Skills that will better prepare us to safely walk back out into the world. I am more fastidious about hand washing than I ever was before. I wear a mask when I cannot social distance. I avoid places and situations where I don’t feel safe. We have all learned to adapt and that is one of our biggest lines of defense in preventing future outbreaks and returning to normal.

It is time for Governor Janet Mills to take notice and trust the public and the resiliency we have built together. I have faith that our businesses will put safety first. Please Governor Mills, before it is too late, involve Maine’s elected Legislature in the decision-making process to help prevent further division among Maine citizens.

Call me anytime at 207-749-1336 or by email at

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