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Governor issues new executive order for face coverings

The new order requires people to wear face coverings in public regardless of the ability to maintain physical distancing.
Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 11:18 AM EST|Updated: Nov. 5, 2020 at 2:35 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WMTW) -Governor Janet Mills has issued a new executive order for face coverings as the state continues to see a surge in COVID-19 cases.

The new order requires people to wear face coverings in public regardless of the ability to maintain physical distancing.

The governor’s order strengthens a previously issued mask mandate.

Mills said owners and operators of all indoor public settings in Maine must now post plainly visible signs notifying entrants of the requirement to wear cloth face coverings. She says owners may deny service or entry to their establishments for non-compliance.

Previously, only certain types of businesses like large retail businesses were responsible for implementing measures requiring customers to wear face coverings.

“We have recorded yet another day of record high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state,” Mills said. “Protect your family. Protect a health care worker. Protect the elderly. Wear your face covering. Save lives. It is that simple.”

The governor said wearing a face covering is proven to significantly reduce the spread of COVID-19.

Maine’s seven-day positivity rate, while still significantly lower than other states, has more than doubled in the past two weeks to 1.52%, while hospitalizations have also increased.

“Maine is experiencing widespread community transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19,” Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah said. “Wearing face coverings and staying at least 6 feet away from others when out in public are ways that every person in Maine can limit potential spread of the virus to help make their communities and homes safer.”

Face coverings are required for all children age 5 and older in public settings, including school and child care settings, and are recommended for children ages 2 to 4 unless deemed developmentally inappropriate.

Exemptions continue to exist for those who have serious medical conditions or who are otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

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