Gov. Janet Mills announced a significant rollback of Maine’s reopening plans Nov. 1, in response to a recent COVID-19 surge that saw the state’s largest-ever number of new cases Oct. 30.

Mills is reducing indoor gathering limits, rolling back planned re-openings of bars and tasting rooms, and reducing the number of states exempt from Maine’s travel restrictions.

“If we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil genie back in the bottle,” Mills said in a news release Nov. 1.

Indoor gatherings were expanded Oct. 13 to 100 people or 50% of permitted occupancy, whichever is lower. Now the limit will move back down to 50 people, regardless of capacity.

People traveling to Maine from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut are no longer exempt from Maine’s requirement that they quarantine for 14 days or receive a negative test, because of rising numbers in those states. New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts remain exempt for now, though the Mills administration urged visitors from those states to get tested anyway.

Maine’s bars and tasting rooms will no longer be allowed to reopen Monday, Nov. 2, for indoor seated service, as previously planned. The Mills administration said this postponement would last “until further notice,” as public health officials monitor the data for signs that it’s safe to resume indoor service.

The decision will likely be hard on owners of bars and tasting rooms who planned to reopen this week. Mills acknowledged the financial difficulty in her announcement, and promised to continue supporting the state’s small businesses, including by seeking more money from Congress.

“To the business owners and employees of bars and tasting rooms, I am deeply sorry that we have been forced to make this decision to postpone your reopening to prevent the further spread of the virus,” Mills said in the release.

“I know that you were ready and willing to follow public health guidance to keep yourselves and Maine people safe. We realize that this decision will cause hardship. We do not take this action lightly, but the rapid rise in cases in just the past six days means that we cannot in good conscience proceed with the planned reopening.”

Along with the increased restrictions, Mills will extend a grant program that supports municipalities’ efforts to contain the novel coronavirus. The Keep Maine Healthy Plan has already distributed more than $13 million to communities to fund education and COVID-19 prevention, including the purchase of masks, hand sanitizer and informational signage in public spaces.

Mills signaled Oct. 30 that changes may be coming to pandemic safety regulations after a week of high daily case totals. Maine’s seven-day average for daily new cases rose to 78.3 Saturday, a dramatic increase from daily averages closer to 14 in mid-August. On Friday, the Maine CDC reported a record 103 new cases, followed by another 101 Oct. 31.