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Stay-at-home order affects how many people can be in stores

(WABI)
Published: Apr. 1, 2020 at 6:12 PM EDT
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Just about every business in the state has been affected in some way by previous executive orders by Governor Janet Mills.

But what's different for them with the new stay-at-home order that goes into effect Thursday? Not as much.

That's because so many businesses were affected by a previous executive order that closed all businesses deemed non-essential.

But there are some very specific square footage requirements that deal with stores still open. Here's a breakdown from a press release by the Governor's office:

- Less than 7,500 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 5. Examples of such stores include gas stations and convenience and specialty food stores.

- More than 7,500 and less than 25,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 15. Examples of such stores include stand-alone pharmacies and certain hardware stores.

- More than 25,000 and less than 50,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 50. Examples of such stores include mid-sized and locally owned grocery stores.

- More than 50,000 and less than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 75. Examples of such stores include chain grocery stores.

- More than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 100 and install protective shields between customers and checkout clerks as soon as practicable. Examples of such stores include Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot.

This of course affects the way shopping is going to go, so I asked Dr. Shah today about how steps like this help reduce the spread of the virus.

"The basic thrust of it, Paul, is about reducing density," said Dr. Shah. "The initial executive order had one standard but the most recent one has multiple standards that account for the size of the institution, the establishment, and the number of people. And those are calculated just to try to maintain the minimum amount of density needed as well as balancing the need for individuals to not congregate outside."

A lot has been made about the businesses that have been declared essential or non-essential.

And in the new executive order, Gov. Mills changed course and labeled gun stores as essential businesses, allowing them to reopen.

If you're wondering whether a specific business is considered essential or non-essential, you can find the full list at maine.gov.

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