Following the recent increases in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates in the State of Maine, Governor Janet Mills and her Administration announced on Thursday afternoon new measures to assist in mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Starting, Friday, November 20, 2020, through Sunday, December 6, 2020, all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink services, including, but not limited to restaurants, bars and tasting rooms that are currently open for outdoor service, must close by 9:00 p.m. The rationale behind this is to limit extended gatherings at a time when people may be returning to Maine from schools or coming to Maine for the Thanksgiving holiday.
Similar measures have been put into place by other states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York, which require business to close earlier to minimize extended evening gatherings.
A previous Executive Order delegates authority to Commissioner Heather Johnson of the Department of Economic and Community Development and Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew of the Department of Health and Human Services, in consultation with the Maine CDC and the Attorney General’s Office, to adjust public health and safety requirements contained in COVID-19 prevention checklists to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. All COVID-19 Prevention checklists can be viewed on the Department of Economic and Community Development’s website.
On Thursday, Maine reported 215 new cases, 1 additional death, 88 current hospitalizations, and a seven-day test positivity rate of 2.66 percent.
To ensure broad compliance with public health and safety measures that limit the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings, avoiding gatherings, and maintaining physical distancing, the Mills Administration will also invest $100,000 in Coronavirus Relief Funds to extend its statewide Keep Maine Healthy public awareness campaign into January 2021 with social media, digital, television and streaming media advertising. DHHS launched the campaign in June to encourage Maine people to continue taking actions that are proven to limit the spread of COVID-19.
The Mills Administration is working with the Attorney General’s Office to provide clear guidance to businesses on current public health requirements and their right to enforce those requirements to protect the health of their customers and staff. That guidance will be released publicly as soon as it’s ready.