The Mills Administration announced Friday it will extend the requirement for certain businesses statewide to close by 9:00 p.m. through Sunday, January 3, 2021. The extension, which lasts beyond New Year’s Eve, is aimed at limiting activities that lead to COVID-19 transmission, amid a sustained and dangerous increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and positivity rates in the State of Maine.

Prior to Thanksgiving, the Mills Administration announced that all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service, including social clubs, restaurants, and bars and tasting rooms currently open for outdoor service, must close for the night by 9:00 p.m. through Sunday, December 6, 2020.

This limit on closing times is aimed at curbing extended evening gatherings during the holiday season when individuals, including students and family members returning to Maine from elsewhere, are more likely to lower their guard, particularly later in the evening, jeopardizing adherence to critical public health and safety guidelines.

The early closure time, however, still allows these businesses to maintain some daytime operations. Curbside pick-up and delivery service are still permitted after 9:00 p.m. Early business closing times are in line with actions taken by other states, including MassachusettsRhode IslandVermont, and New York.

As of Friday, the Mills Administration has committed $1,243,770,470 of the $1.25 billion in CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), almost half of which has gone to support Maine businesses. Last week, the Mills Administration announced a $40 million Tourism, Hospitality and Retail Grant Program to specifically support Maine’s tourism, hospitality, and retail small businesses.

The program builds on the Mills Administration’s support for Maine businesses and employees, which includes a commitment of $295 million to backfill Maine’s Unemployment Trust Fund to support Maine businesses amidst the increased demand for unemployment benefits, as well as $8.5 million to support childcare services so Maine people can go back to work. Earlier this year, at the request of Governor Mills, the Small Business Administration allowed Maine businesses to apply for economic support loans. Additionally, the Governor and the Legislature worked together to establish a consumer loan guarantee program through FAME, in partnership with financial institutions, to provide low- or no- interest loans for eligible people in Maine.


Megan Diver

Megan has worked in Maine politics for more than ten years and all of her professional career, having served in many roles for elected officials (including former Secretary of State Charlie Summers), in-house with the Maine Association of REALTORS®, legislative specialist at Pierce Atwood LLP providing lobbying services and support to Pierce Atwood’s government relations clients and most recently senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. Megan currently is the Vice President at the Maine Energy Marketers Association, utilizing her vast knowledge and legislative experience at the State House to represent MEMA on policies relating to the Association and its members.