The state news headlines on March 27 were an increase to 211 confirmed COVID-19 infections and Maine’s first death from this viral disease. Maine was heading into the exponential growth curve of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

That same day I received from the Maine House Republicans a press release complaining that the governor’s emergency executive order to mitigate the spread of the virus did not consider gun shops “essential” like grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and doctor’s offices, and needed to close.

Really, in the midst of a national health crisis, the Maine Republican Party’s priority is buying more guns? That is what you think is the foremost concern on the minds of Mainers? Not that they or their families may become ill, some even die? What about insufficient protective equipment for health care workers and first responders? Or the unavailability of widespread testing? Or the inadequate inventory of hospital beds and ventilators for those of us that will be hospitalized by COVID-19? What about those who have lost their livelihoods or the many businesses that have had to close to minimize the spread of this highly infectious disease?

This news release shows how out of touch House Republicans are with the immediate concerns of Mainers for the health and welfare of their families, friends and neighbors.

This is a time for us all to pull together to overcome this pandemic and to protect those we love and our communities from this disease. It is not a time to sow irrational fear and engage in irresponsible partisan politics.

(Editor’s note: On March 31, after this letter was submitted, Gov. Janet Mills added gun shops to the list of essential businesses.)


George Seel


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