PORTLAND, Maine — City councilors voted on Monday night to renew Portland’s emergency shutdown order for all nonessential operations for 28 days.
The stay-at-home order is set to expire April 27 and could be renewed again, depending on efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19, the illness caused by the novel coronavirus.
The vote, which passed unanimously, extends the five-day stay-at-home order that began at 5 p.m. Wednesday. A five-day order was the maximum allowed under a state of emergency according to the City Charter.
“I think we all need to function as if we have the virus,” City Manager Jon Jennings said after calling for the shutdown last week.
Per the order, Portland residents may only leave their homes to access essential services from grocery stores, pharmacies and a small list of other essential businesses during that time. Outdoor exercise and dog walking is permitted, though city officials recommend that people who do not live together maintain a distance of 6 feet.
Failure to comply with the stay-at-home order is punishable by a $500 fine per incident plus the costs of prosecution.
Several amendments to the stay-at-home order also were passed. One codified a guidance issued by the mayor last week that advised landlords to “would work with their tenants” toward rent payments and prohibiting evictions and rent increases during the shutdown.
Another amendment prohibited short-term rentals in Portland during the emergency, with exceptions for people who were experiencing homelessness and emergency medical providers, and for situations of people requiring self-isolation or quarantine.
The city reported no violations of the stay-at-home order since it went into effect. Police have made contact with some businesses and offered education but have issued no summons.
The council meeting was conducted Monday evening over the online platform Zoom.
Watch: What you need to know about handwashing during coronavirus