Indoor Dining Allowed in All Maine Counties Beginning Wednesday
During Monday's Maine CDC briefing, Governor Janet Mills announced that her administration is allowing indoor dining in all Maine counties.
Up until the announcement, Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York county restaurants were still restricted to takeout and outdoor seating only. Beginning Wednesday, June 17, restaurants in those counties can voluntarily reopen to offer indoor dining with added health and safety protocols outlined in the COVID-19 Prevention Checklist.
For restaurants, that means tables spaces at least six feet apart, no more than 50 people per room, single use condiments and no salad bars or buffets for now.
Other changes announced that go into effect on Wednesday are loosening restrictions on bars, breweries, and tasting rooms in Androscoggin, Cumberland and York counties permitting them to open for outdoor, seated service. Gyms, nail salons, and tattoo parlors may also reopen, all with added health and safety protocols.
Capacity limits at retail stores are going up as well, allowing up to 5 customers per 1,000 square feet. Staff are still required to wear cloth face coverings and follow strict public health precautions.
The latest numbers from the Maine CDC show that the cumulative number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Maine is now at 2,810, an increase of 17 since Sunday. 2,495 of those cases are confirmed while 315 are deemed probable.
One new deaths was reported, bringing the total number of deaths of those diagnosed with COVID-19 at 101.
2,189 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered, an increase of 16 since Sunday.
The total number of diagnosed, active cases is 520, the same number as Sunday.
317 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 31 are currently hospitalized with 11 of those in critical care and 4 patients on ventilators.
The cumulative number of COVID-19 molecular tests that have been performed is 71,485 with a positivity rate of 4.57%.
Governor Mills has extended the Civil State of Emergency through July 10. Nearly every state in the nation has an ongoing Civil State of Emergency which allows the use of Federal resources and gives states the ability to use all resources available to respond to COVID-19.
The Mills administration has put an alternative to the current 14-day quarantine order that is in place for people visiting or returning to Maine.
Under the new rules, adults who can certify that that they have received a negative COVID-19 test within the last 72 hours, may forgo the 14-day quarantine. Children are exempt.
Visitors must also sign a certificate of compliance saying that they have received a negative COVID-19 test, or will be quarantined for 14 days, or that they have already completed their 14-day quarantine in Maine. Visitors must provide this compliance whenever they check in at any lodging such as hotels, campgrounds and Airbnbs. Visitors may be asked to provide proof of the negative result. The compliance requirement takes effect July 1.
Residents of New Hampshire and Vermont are exempt from the testing or the 14-day quarantine effective immediately if they are coming for a brief time and return home. Beginning June 12, New Hampshire and Vermont residents can stay in lodging without going through the compliance process. The exemption is due to the similarity in number of active cases of COVID-19 in those states compared to Maine.
Stage 2 of Maine's phased plan to reopen the State began on June 1 and raises the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people to 50. People who are able to work from home should continue to do so, and people should wear cloth face coverings in public settings where physical distancing measures are hard to maintain.
If the Maine CDC detects any resurgence of the virus, the state will slow down the stages and reinstate restrictions.
The counties affected by the current rural reopening plan are Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln and Sagadahoc. All of these counties have not had shown evidence of community transmission of COVID-19.
Restaurants in these counties may open for outdoor dining and for limited dine-in service providing they adopt health and safety precautions, such as physically distancing customers, making sure employees follow enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices and controlling customer flow by making reservations only whenever possible. Restaurants in Cumberland, York, and Androscoggin counties may open for outdoor dining and take-out only.
Retail stores statewide may now open to customers provided they adopt the health and safety precautions that the state is releasing. The precautions include restricting the number of customers in the store at any one time, enhancing cleaning and sanitation practices, and maximizing touch free transactions wherever possible.
If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.