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Mills announces two-week curfew for some businesses

Nov 20, 2020

Augusta — Following an increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalization, and positivity rates in the state, the Mills Administration Thursday announced new measures to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus.

Beginning Friday, Nov. 20, through Sunday, Dec. 6, 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, will close for the night by 9 p.m. This limit on hours is designed to limit extended gatherings at a time when many students and family members are returning to Maine and at a time when social gatherings are more common, both of which will likely lead to more COVID-19 transmission.

This latest measure is consistent with actions taken by other states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York, which require early business closures to minimize extended evening gatherings while preserving standard business operating hours.

“As we enter the colder months and a holiday season when we customarily gather with friends and family, we are also entering a new and dangerous phase of the pandemic,”  Mills said. “Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been performing a balancing act, basing our decisions on science and medical expertise, weighing the safety of reopening with the necessity of getting back to business. This targeted and temporary step will reduce extended gatherings while keeping the businesses open. Other steps may be necessary in the coming weeks if we do not get this virus under control. I ask all Maine people, please wear your face covering, wash your hands, watch your distance and avoid hosting or attending gatherings with friends and loved ones unless it is absolutely necessary. Returning to normal life sometime next year first requires us to survive the holidays this year.”

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. Checklists for Indoor Amusement; Outdoor Amusement; Movie Theaters; Performing Art Venues; Casinos and Seated Food and Drink Service have been updated to reflect this temporary change. 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, a woman in her forties, 88 current hospitalizations, and a seven-day test positivity rate of 2.66 percent.

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