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Gov. Janet Mills will step up face covering requirements in the state’s coastal counties as the state relaxes its quarantine and testing requirements for visitors from three more states.
Mills will issue an executive order requiring that Maine’s largest businesses in Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland and York counties — as well as in Bangor, Brewer, Lewiston and Auburn — enforce a face covering requirement for their customers.
The new executive order specifically concerns large retail stores, lodging establishments, restaurants, outdoor bars and tasting rooms.
“We envision this will become part of the certification checklist that every business agrees to when they reopen or open,” Mills said. “It’s not a major change, but it just reinforces the requirement that all public facing businesses wear a mask and customers as well wear a mask.”
Mills has previously issued two executive orders that require everyone to wear face coverings in public, particularly where it is not possible to maintain social distancing. However, many businesses in Bangor and elsewhere have been allowing customers without face coverings to shop or eat indoors.
Under the new executive order, business owners will have to enforce rules requiring that customers wear face coverings.
“It’s the same thing as saying, ‘no shoes, no shirt, no service,’” Mills said when asked if it’s safe for store employees to enforce mask requirements, especially if they’re worried about customers becoming combative. “I hope you don’t get combative. It’s just the rules.”
These counties and cities are where the state is expecting a number of out-of-state visitors, especially after Mills announced Wednesday that residents from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut do not have to self-quarantine for 14 days, nor show a negative COVID-19 test result.
New Hampshire and Vermont residents were already exempt from Maine’s out-of-state visitor regulations.