Gov. Mills orders stricter gathering limits
AUGUSTA — Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced stricter limits on public gatherings on Wednesday, ordering restaurants and bars to stop dine-in service effective that day, banning social gatherings of more than 10 people and urging many private businesses to close.
Grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies and other businesses considered essential will be allowed to remain open, but Mills recommended that establishments across the state close, including gyms, theaters, casinos and shopping malls. The hard gathering restrictions apply to social community, civic, public, leisure, faith and sporting events.
Mills’ announcement came at a Wednesday news conference after Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, updated the number of cases, which nearly doubled between Monday and Tuesday. There are 23 confirmed cases alone in Cumberland County.
The Maine shutdown follows similar restrictions on businesses by several other states, including New York, Connecticut and New Jersey, over the past few days.
Mills’ order comes just three days after she declared a state of emergency, banning events with more than 50 people and recommending the closure of all schools in the state. At the time, Mills said that, although the emergency order would allow her to shut down restaurants and other private businesses, she did not see “a need to order such actions when people are listening to the recommendations and doing what they should be doing.”