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The Bangor City Council voted on Thursday afternoon to extend the city’s temporary restrictions on businesses that were part of an emergency order by City Manager Cathy Conlow meant to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Before the meeting, Conlow also expanded those restrictions to apply to certain types of businesses that were not included in a separate statewide order from Gov. Janet Mills earlier in the week, such as movie theaters, casinos, dance clubs or yoga studios.
The council agreed to extend the order during its first virtual meeting, during which just four of its members were in the regular council chambers at Bangor City Hall. The other five were sitting at personal computers and using a teleconferencing program to join the meeting.
With only a few technical disruptions, the councilors unanimously agreed to extend the five-day emergency declaration, which required that bars, restaurants and gathering places close between 8 p.m. and 2 a.m. Conlow also added to those restrictions on Thursday, declaring that places such as casinos and theaters should not open while the order is in effect.
Now, those restrictions will last for as long as the emergency order announced by Mills on Sunday remains in place. Under the measure approved by the council Thursday, the city’s civil emergency order will expire seven days after Mills’ does. So far, Mills has not set an end date for her statewide order.
Mills has also imposed some restrictions on restaurants, bars and other types of gathering spaces across the state, but the city’s order now includes somewhat tighter restrictions.
During the Thursday meeting, councilors also considered input from residents who would like the city to declare a so-called “shelter-in-place” order to prevent the further spread of the coronavirus, similar to what the city of San Francisco has put in place, but they did not take action on that proposal. Councilors said they would need more specific details about what restrictions the city and health officials see as necessary.
With City Hall now indefinitely closed to members of the public, councilors also discussed how to allow for public input at future meetings that are held using the virtual meeting program Zoom, but they did not make any final decisions.