A Stay at Home Order was announced by Portland city manager Jon Jennings for Portland at a hastily called press conference this afternoon. The measure goes into effect tomorrow Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 5:00 pm and will be in effect for five days. In other words, Jennings is calling for all persons to stay at their place of residence, except for essential trips to the grocery store and pharmacies. People may participate in solitary outdoor activities, such as walking a dog.
Avoiding any gatherings of ten or more is key and maintain at least 6 ft. in distance from others.
On March 30, Jennings will confer with the city council with the intention of extending the Order. Maine has 118 individuals who have tested positively for the COVID-19. Ninety of them are in Cumberland County. No deaths in Maine have been reported.
Jennings also said that two police officers have now been tested positively for the virus. The General Assistance office on Lancaster Office is closed because two employees of that office have been tested positively. People may leave paperwork at a window there, but may not enter the building. Residents do not need to purchase city trash bags currently. If residents use any kind of plastic bag, their garbage will be picked up. Jennings also reported that the India Street Clinics will be reopening next week as the personnel needed to run the Clinics are ready to return to work.
Jennings also said that budget preparation was well underway with a 1.6% increase prior to the pandemic. However, the city has lost a lot of revenue over the past several weeks. “We have no idea now. There will not be a large tax increase in this budget, but services will be affected. We don’t know what the impact of the less revenue will be.” he said.
This announcement followed on the heels of the daily briefing by Governor Janet T. Mills and members of the COVID-19 Task Force. She mandated that all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine close their physical locations that are public facing. The Order also closes non-essential business sites that require more than ten workers to convene in a space where physical distancing is not possible. Non-essential businesses and operations may continue activities that do not involve these types of in-person contact. This order is effective tomorrow March 25th at 12:01 am and extend for a period of 14 days through April 6, 2020 at 12:00 am.
The penalty for those violating the Order is a fine of $500. plus costs of prosecution.
At this daily brief conference, President Trumpy said he would like to see large parts of the country open up in time for Easter Sunday. That’s twenty days away and experts say that the worst of the pandemic is yet to come. It’s not his decision to make, fortunately. All he runs is his mouth.