Governor Janet T. Mills, the first woman Governor of Maine, announced this afternoon at the COVID-19 briefing that Maine will move into Stage 4 of the plan to restart Maine’s economy on Tuesday, October 13, 2020.
The Governor emphasized that with cold weather months approaching, Stage 4 increases limits on indoor seating to 50% capacity of permitted occupancy or 100 people – whichever is less – and maintains the critical public health measures outlined in COVID-19 Prevention Checklists, such as enhanced cleaning practices and physical distancing.
Today’s Executive Order also further strengthens the State’s face covering mandate by requiring that a broader set of entities, such as private schools and municipal buildings, ensure that employees and people in their buildings adhere to this critical health measure according to the press release issued by the Governor’s office simultaneously with the televised briefing.
The Order also expands the scope of the enforcement statewide, rather than in just Maine’s coastal counties and more populous cities.
The progression into Stage 4 comes as Maine, adjusted for population, continues to lead the nation on key metrics for COVID-19 response, including having the lowest hospitalizations, second lowest new cases and fourth lowest deaths. At the outset of the briefing, Dr. Nirav Shah, director of Maine’s CDC, announced that Maine as of today has reported 5,565 cases of the COVID-19, 457 have been hospitalized with seven currently in the hospital; and that 142 have died. A very important piece of science is that the positive rate is 0.58%. Nationally, the positive rate is 5%.
Stage 4 also anticipates a reopening date for indoor service for bars and tasting rooms of Monday, November 2, 2020 to reopen for indoor service, those establishments must abide by the newly-posted COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for seated food and drink service, which is an update to the restaurant checklist.
The Governor also expanded her Executive Order requiring certain businesses to enforce the State’s face covering requirement. In other words, it is now required statewide. The Order was broadened to make clear that places, such as private schools and local government buildings, must join restaurants, lodgings and retail establishments in having their employees and clients wear face coverings. Face coverings.
For non-seated indoor activities, such as physical activity in gyms, the limit remains at 50. The outdoor gathering limit remains at 100 people people. Retailers remain subject to the occupancy limit of 5 people per 1,000 sq. ft. of shopping space.
Businesses that violate the Governor’s Executive Orders are subject to enforcement, including possible fines and loss of licenses. 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 have not abided by the health and safety measures meant to protect their employees, customers and clients.
When the Governor was asked by a reporter what she thought of President Trump tweeting that the flu is more dangerous than COVID-19, she responded: “I don’t think anyone should rely on Donald Trump for medical advice.”