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Gov. Janet Mills said Tuesday she will extend her civil state of emergency proclamation for another month, giving her additional time to access federal funding and use certain powers in the state’s effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The original declaration was slated to end on Wednesday. The renewed declaration, now in effect until May 15, gives Mills the ability to suspend the enforcement of laws, establish emergency reserves of certain products and allows the state to access federal funding to mitigate the outbreak.
It also gives her the power to close schools and require businesses to close, as well as requiring residents to stay at home except to shop for necessities or to go to jobs deemed essential. Mills has also banned social gatherings of more than 10 people.
Mills said during a press conference that not every action she has taken since declaring the civil state of emergency may be extended. However, the extended state of civil emergency gives her the option to extend those offers. She noted the stay-at-home order announced at the end of March has not yet been extended beyond its projected April 30 end date.
The announcement comes as cases and deaths related to the new coronavirus continue to climb. Maine had 734 confirmed cases of the virus and 20 deaths as of Tuesday. Nearly half of those cases were in Cumberland County and York counties, but the virus has been detected in all counties except for Piscataquis County.
Watch: Why Janet Mills chose July 14 for the primaries