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Updated: October 19, 2020 From the Editor

From the Editor: Coastal economies slowed not stalled by pandemic

A recent study commissioned by HospitalityMaine shows COVID’s impact on the hospitality industry has been $1.7 billion in lost revenue.

For an industry that’s worth some $7 billion a year to Maine, that’s a big dent. Hospitality — hotels, restaurants, attractions, tour companies — is Maine’s second-largest largest industry, behind health care.

Yet, just as the industry mobilized after 9/11, business owners quickly adapted. Restaurants shifted to outdoor dining or curbside pickup and hotels and attractions dusted off the “staycation” marketing playbook, used after 9/11 and the recession of 2008-09.

As Renee Cordes discovered in talking to five hoteliers on the midcoast and Downeast, the past seven months have been anything but static. Some made up lost business with a strong August and early fall. Others adjusted by focusing on the restaurant’s takeout business or food-and-beverage in general. Another plans to extend the season beyond the normal Thanksgiving closure through New Year’s. “Hotel business check-ins” starts on Page 14.

With restaurants closed for an extended period, the lobster industry felt the effects. To see how the pandemic has affected one lobstering area, Stonington on Deer Isle, Laurie Schreiber checked in with a lobsterman, a processor and town officials. It hasn’t been as bad as feared. See “Lobster rolls on” on Page 24.

On the midcoast, real estate reporter Maureen Milliken looks at the steps being taken to redevelop the former state prison site in Thomaston. The prison was closed 15 years ago and the site is now green space, which has partly created the conflict. Some residents want it to stay parklike, while others are urging the town to stick to the original plan to redevelop the site. See “Where’s the development?” on Page 20.

Elsewhere in the issue, Thornton Academy tops the annual list of Maine’s largest private schools. See Page 32.

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