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AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills said on Friday that her administration was devising a plan to gradually reopen Maine’s economy, though she reiterated that stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus in Maine was the key to allowing business activities to resume.
Mills’ statement came the day after President Donald Trump unveiled his “guidelines for opening up America again,” which included a three-phase plan to gradually allow businesses to reopen based on certain public health benchmarks. The president also told governors on Thursday that they would control how quickly their states’ economies opened up.
As of Friday, there were 827 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Maine, with 29 deaths, though widespread testing for the virus is still not available and the number of confirmed cases is seen as a lagging indicator of its spread. Testing at Maine’s state lab is limited to vulnerable people, including those who are hospitalized, frontline workers and older people.
Public health officials, including Anthony Fauci, who serves as the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, have advised that opening state economies too soon could lead to a resurgence of the virus, potentially costing lives and forcing businesses to shut down again.
Mills said in a release on Friday that widespread testing, supplies of personal protective equipment and contact tracing were “critical” to allowing economic activities to resume, and that governors had been urging the federal government to help make those resources available to all states.
She also said that Maine was “planning a phased-in reopening, tailored to the demographics and various economic sectors of our state,” and she is keeping in contact with the governors of New Hampshire and Vermont and working with different sectors across the state to “devise a plan” for how to open the economy.
“Those decisions, of course, are driven first and foremost by the need to protect the public health,” Mills said. “We will release details of the plan in the near future.”
Watch: Janet Mills extends civil emergency in Maine