Fear of Ebola Nurse Kaci Hickox Causes Boycott of Fort Kent, Maine Businesses

West Main St., Fort Kent, Maine. Photo by Town of Fort Kent

West Main St., Fort Kent, Maine. Photo by Town of Fort Kent

Kaci Hickox, the Ebola nurse fighting quarantine efforts in her hometown of Fort Kent, Maine, is costing businesses customers and hurting the town’s reputation according to a report by the Bangor Daily News.

The News quotes the Town Manager, Don Guimond, bemoaning the affect Hickox is having on the town:

“The community has not done anything wrong. But this type of publicity does not do anyone any good and people need to know we are open and ready to provide services to people here.”

Business owners are quoted saying customers have told them they are boycotting Fort Kent until the Ebola incubation period for Hickox has passed:

“The situation “is bound to affect the whole town,” Steve Daigle, owner of Stevie D’s Panini Plus said Friday. “The economy around here is already so fragile, every dollar we lose hurts us.”

“Daigle said he has spoken to several customers who have told him they plan to shop out of town until the 21-day incubation period for the virus ends for Hickox on Nov. 10.

““People are afraid,” Daigle said.”

…”On Friday, another business owner in Fort Kent, who did not want to give his name, said he, too, has heard from customers planning to shop out of town in the wake of the Ebola concerns.

“A local dentist also voiced his displeasure that Hickox has not committed to home quarantine.

““I think that is very irresponsible of her,” Dr. Lucien Daigle said. “She cannot guarantee 100 percent she will not become symptomatic [and] in that worst-case scenario the ramifications will be beyond what you can imagine.”

There already has been an adverse impact, Daigle said, pointing out the numerous cancellations of routine and elective procedures at Northern Maine Medical Center.”

Hickox’s ‘all-about-me’ attitude has caused fear in her neighbors, including her Canadian neighbors just across the border in Clair, New Brunswick. Now she is costing small businesses money they can ill afford to lose because she won’t stay indoors for a few weeks to ensure the health and well-being of her community.

Note: Hickox has also inflicted the national media on her rural small town. A few businesses like the town’s only hotel have benefited from their presence, but at a price, according to the Boston Globe:

“Chad Pelletier, a cook at the Moose Shack, has no opinion on Hickox, but isn’t enjoying hordes of strangers roaming the town where he has lived all his 39 years.

““I don’t want things to change,” he said. “I like small-town America.””

For a look at life in Fort Kent before it was upended by Kaci Hickox, the Portland Press-Herald published a photo gallery.

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