Confronting Motorists with Out-of-state Plates ‘Unacceptable,’ Police Say
Maine State Police are receiving reports of people confronting and harassing others with out-of-state license plates on their vehicles.
Police warn that confronting those with non-Maine license plates "is unacceptable and residents with concerns should contact Maine law enforcement."
"Please exercise restraint and common sense during this time of tension," reads the Facebook post. "We want everyone to stay safe and stay healthy."
The reports come amid high tensions as COVID-19 cases rise in Maine. As of April 2, there were 376 confirmed cases of the illness and seven deaths.
Some have expressed concerns that people from "hot spots" including New York, or harder-hit areas like Boston, are coming to Maine in hopes of escaping the virus. But, state officials say there is no real evidence of such an influx.
There is an online petition to stop those from out of state from visiting Maine until May 2020. The petition has more than 23,000 signatures. The petition calls upon Maine Gov. Janet Mills to close the Maine border to non-residents. Many legal scholars consider such action unconstitutional as it restricts the right to domestic travel.
Mills recently said if those from away were, in fact, seeking to escape the virus by heading to Maine, they were doing so in vain.
"It is here," Mills recently said when addressing the issue at a recent news conference. "It is everywhere."
Like many governors throughout the country, Mills has issued a "stay-at-home" order that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes.
On the subject of out-of-state registrations, state police reminded people that many with such plates do indeed reside -- or have essential work -- in Maine. They noted the case of Central Maine Power, which is renting many vehicles -- some with out-of-state plates -- to help protect their employees by adopting a one-employee, one vehicle system to ensure social distancing.