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Mainers can now go without a mask, businesses can impose their own rules

Updated: May. 20, 2021 at 8:08 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order ending the state’s mask mandate effective next week.

The governor’s order was not unexpected because the state has been reviewing vaccination rates and changing guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Based on new CDC guidance, the governor said she intended to lift the indoor mask requirement for fully vaccinated Mainers. But it would be impossible to differentiate between vaccinated and unvaccinated Mainers, and the Mills administration has said all along it wanted the same rules to apply to everyone, a spokesperson said.

“We are not having a state policy that has one set of policies for vaccinated people and one for unvaccinated people,” Maine Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said last week.

The executive order signed Wednesday lifts mask requirements for everyone in the state except children 5 and older in school or day care.

Businesses are free to continue to impose mask mandates and social distancing rules if they choose to do so, but they’re no longer mandated by the state, officials said. The administration still recommends that unvaccinated Mainers wear a mask indoors even though it’s not required.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.