The Mills Administration updated its public health protocols under the Moving Maine Forward Plan. Effective May 24th, Maine will:
- lift all capacity limits and requirements to physically distance in all public outdoor settings.
- lift all capacity limits in public indoor venues. Physical distancing requirements are also eliminated, except in settings where people are eating or drinking and therefore would be removing their face covering – such as indoor restaurants, bars, dining areas in camps or in congregate living facilities, and break rooms.
Face coverings must still be worn in public indoor settings. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services and Maine Department of Education will separately update school-based protocols.
The Biden Administration has said that as we approach July 4th the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue updated guidance, based on the best available science and the pace of vaccinations, on permissible activities after being vaccinated. The State of Maine will closely evaluate any changes in Federal recommendations.
Previously, under the Moving Maine Forward Plan, indoor gathering capacity was scheduled to increase to 75 percent and outdoor gathering capacity had been scheduled to increase to 100 percent on May 24th and physical distancing was still required. The Governor lifted the requirement to wear a face covering outdoors on April 27, 2021.
The update comes as Maine continues to make good progress in vaccinating people. Governor Mills announced yesterday that more than 70 percent of Maine people age 18 and older have received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) tracker. Moreover, Maine continues to lead the nation in the percentage of its total population that is fully vaccinated, according to Bloomberg.
The Governor’s decision to extend the emergency is in line with nearly every other state in the nation, which have ongoing emergency declarations, according to the National Governors Association.
A State of Civil Emergency allows Maine to deploy all available tools to respond to and contain COVID-19. This is Governor Mills’ fifteenth extension of the State of Civil Emergency. Under Maine law, Proclamations of Civil Emergencies may be issued in thirty-day increments.