Following an alarming increase in COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and positivity rates in the State of Maine, the Mills Administration today announced new measures to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus according to a press release issued by the Governor’s office this afternoon.
Beginning tomorrow, Friday, November 20, 2020, through Sunday, December 6, 2020, all indoor 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 9:00 pm. 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 transmissions.
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,” said Governor Mills. “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 coverings, 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.”
Today, Thursday, Maine reported 215 new cases, not a new record. There was one additional death, 88 current hospitalizations and a seven day test positivity rate of 2.66% – still well below the national average.
DHHS announced today that another 52 Walgreens pharmacies will begin offering free drive-through rapid COVID-19 antigen testing on Friday to people in Maine experiencing symptoms of the virus. Three more Walgreens sites in southern Maine will begin offering antigen testing next week, bringing the total to 65 Walgreens sites throughout the state according to the same press release.
The next scheduled MaineCDC COVID-19 briefing is scheduled for tomorrow, Friday, November 20th at 2:00 pm. It is subject to change.