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Gov. Mills issues new executive order to require face masks in all indoor public spaces

Governor Mills signed the new executive order Friday.
The strengthened mask requirement affects all indoor public spaces regardless of type or size.
The strengthened mask requirement affects all indoor public spaces regardless of type or size.(WMTW)
Published: Dec. 11, 2020 at 2:38 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Face coverings are now required in all indoor public spaces in the state.

Governor Mills signed the new executive order Friday.

The strengthened requirements include all indoor public spaces regardless of type or size.

The order states owners and operators are not allowed to let people in if they are not wearing masks.

Previous executive orders required mask enforcement in some but not all public settings.

During Friday afternoon’s Maine CDC briefing, Mills discussed what those dealing with non mask wearers should do.

“First of all, I would leave the store if there were people in there without masks,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to expose myself to that possible spread of the virus. Secondly, call the manager. Thirdly, call the local police. And try to use friendly persuasion, but if that fails, then call the police. We have tools in the toolbox, an extensive number of tools in the toolbox and we are ready to use them.”

“Governor Mills and I have spent some time in the last few days working with retailers, the Retail Association of Maine, Dana Connors is in the Chamber of Commerce, really trying to look at effective solutions to protect employees, to protect consumers, and to keep business capacity as high as possible,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic Development. “So, I think this is a really good step for that.”

Mills says she expects law enforcement to be fully ready to enforce this executive order.

She says they took an oath to uphold the law, and this is a law.

Legislative Republicans believe that Governor Mills latest Executive Order is punitive, makes little scientific sense and will hurt Maine citizens already struggling to adhere to ever increasing mandates with little to show for it.

“I really hope the Governor knows what she is doing,” said Senate Republican Leader Jeff Timberlake (R-Androscoggin). “I am concerned how people react, at least in rural Maine about this. I am scared to death for the average people who are running little general stores, often alone, who must now confront customers who may already be stressed out over the pandemic when they walk in the door.”

“Public compliance with nine months of ever increasing mandates is at its highest and yet we are no longer realizing intended results,” said House Republican Leader Kathleen Dillingham (R-Oxford). “There is great concern with having small business workers, in some cases teenagers, charged with ensuring compliance with executive orders. Placing such a burden on employees who are not trained in this area and forcing them into situations of conflict can compromise an individuals mental health and safety. Again, encouraging citizens to call law enforcement officers when they see someone not wearing a mask, or too many individuals in a private home places, puts strain on our emergency services and is an overreach by those speaking for this administration. I question if it is deemed safe for the public to safely shop in big-box stores for nine months, why are we now being told small gatherings present a problem? If it is safe for a couple to dine in an establishment, which is already complying with reduced seating and other required protocols, what changes for that same couple at 9 pm? Those responsible for using evidence-based, scientific data to support these decisions should focus less on their celebrity status and more on the credibility of these arbitrary decisions in the face of growing public mistrust and discontent.”

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