Governor Mills announces changes to business checklists,
increases indoor seating; expands face covering mandate
Today Governor Mills released changes to some of the business regulations.
These changes will be effective next Tuesday, October 13.
Stage 4 of the Plan to Restart the Maine Economy includes increases in the limits on indoor seating to 50 percent capacity of permitted occupancy, or 100 people (whichever is less) and expanding the face covering mandate statewide. Also, bars and tasting rooms may be able to open for indoor service on November 2.
Please visit the DECD website for updated checklists. Note: the checklist page has been updated and reconfigured so it has a different look. The restaurant checklists (the current one and the new one effective October 13) can now be found under “seated food and drink service.”
Below are excerpts from the Governor’s press release; the full release can be found here.
Mills Administration Announces Maine to Enter Stage 4 of Reopening
October 6, 2020
Starting October 13, indoor seating limits are increased, enforcement of face coverings is strengthened statewide
The Mills Administration announced today that Maine will move into Stage 4 of the Plan to Restart Maine’s Economy beginning Tuesday, October 13, 2020. With cold weather months approaching, Stage 4 increases limits on indoor seating to 50 percent 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. The Order also expands the scope of the enforcement statewide, rather than in just Maine’s coastal counties and more populous cities.
Beginning a week from today, businesses and organizations that serve people through seated activities – such as indoor dining, religious gatherings, and movie theaters – will be permitted to operate at 50 percent of their capacity, with a maximum of 100 people. Updated COVID-19 Checklists for these businesses and organizations are posted on the Department of Economic and Community Development’s website. Appropriate health and safety protocols, such as enhanced cleaning practices and the requirement to maintain six feet of distance between seating areas, remain in full effect.
For non-seated indoor activities, such as physical activity in gyms, the limit remains at 50. The outdoor gathering limit remains at 100 people. Retailers remain subject to the occupancy limit of 5 people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.
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, these 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.
Governor Mills also expanded her Executive Order (PDF) requiring certain businesses to enforce the State’s face covering requirement. During the summer months, the enforcement mandate was required only in Maine’s coastal counties and more populous cities. It is now required statewide. The Governor also broadened the Order to make clear that places, such as private schools and local government buildings, must join restaurants, lodging, and retail establishments in having their employees and clients’ wear face coverings. Face coverings have been proven to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.
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.