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Mills kicks off Stage 4 of state reopening plan

By Fran Gonzalez | Oct 06, 2020

Augusta — Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday, Oct. 6, at the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention briefing an executive order beginning Oct. 13 that would allow indoor seating activities to operate at 50% capacity with a maximum of 100 people.

The executive order will move the state into Stage 4 of the governor's economic reopening plan.

Businesses such as restaurants with indoor dining, religious activities and movie theaters will now be allowed to serve up to a maximum of 100 people indoors. Non-seated activities such as gyms will remain at 50 people indoors, and 100 outdoors. Retail stores remain subject to the occupancy limit of five people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.

The reopening of bars, tasting rooms and distilleries will occur Nov. 2. These establishments will commit to abide by the newly posted COVID-19 prevention checklist for seated food and drink services.

“With winter weather approaching, we must support businesses across the state as outdoor service becomes less viable and people move inside. This expanded capacity, along with continued health and safety precautions, is a prudent step forward that balances public health and economic health,” Mills said.

Mills also expanded the earlier face-covering mandate for businesses to encompass the entire state. Businesses that violate the order, she said, are subject to possible fines or loss of license. Entities such as private schools and municipal buildings must ensure that employees and people in their buildings adhere to this health measure, she said.

To date, state officials have issued fines, "in one instance, nearly $20,000 and more than two dozen imminent health hazard warnings" to organizations that did not abide by the safety measures.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said since yesterday 20 people have tested positive for COVID-19 across the state, bringing the total number of cases to 5,565.

Overall, he said 457 have been hospitalized and currently there are seven people in the hospital with one person in intensive care. In the past 30 days, Shah said, 29 people have been hospitalized.

In total, 142 people have died because of the disease and 4,838 have recovered.

In Waldo County there are six active cases of COVID-19, with a total of 78 cumulative cases. Overall all 58 people have recovered and 14 people have died because of the virus.

Speaking about new outbreaks, Shah said the Applebee's Grill + Bar in Auburn is reporting three people with the disease, all staff members.

Pinnacle Health and Rehabilitation in Sanford has a total of 16 cases and ND Paper in Rumford now has 24 people with COVID-19. Woodland Pulp in Baileyville is reporting 19 cases, with seven Maine residents and 12 nonresidents.

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