The town of Wells has extended its restrictions on lodging rentals through May 15.

The decision by town officials extends the ban on rentals of seasonal homes, hotels and inns, campgrounds and other high-density lodging beyond the one put in place last week by Gov. Janet Mills. The governor’s order mandates the suspension of all lodging operations, including hotels, motels, bed-and-breakfasts, inns and short-term rentals, as well as RV parks and campgrounds through April 30.

Wells was among the first communities in Maine to restrict lodging prior to Mills’ executive order on April 3. Town officials say they are concerned an influx of seasonal residents seeking “safe haven” from the virus will overload medical services and limit the availability of basic supplies.

The order prohibits all short-term rentals until May 15, regardless of whether money is exchanged. It also orders that all high-density accommodations – including hotels, motels, inns and seasonal parks – be unoccupied until May 15. The restrictions to not apply to people who are in town to care for residents who can’t care for themselves, for people who are engaged in essential business and services, and recipients of General Assistance from the town.

There are more than 5,000 seasonal rental units in Wells, many of them in high-density neighborhoods near the beach or in seasonal cottage complexes and mobile home parks. The year-round population is around 10,000, but surges to more than 40,000 during summer.

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