Phippsburg selectpeople voted unanimously to comply with the state’s masking mandate after weeks of not requiring people to wear face coverings in all public buildings.
The board rescinded its original decision that strongly encouraged people to wear face masks in municipal buildings but didn’t require them after warnings from Maine Attorney General Frey and town attorney Jessica Maher, according to The Times Record.
On Dec. 7, the board voted 2-1 to not require masks with only Chair Mike Young supporting requiring masks in public indoor and outdoor settings as required under Gov. Janet Mills’ executive order.
In a Dec. 14 letter to the board, Frey told the three members that they are legally obligated to require the use of face coverings in all municipal buildings like parking lots, lobbies, walkways, waiting areas, elevators, service desks and hallways.
Phippsburg could enforce a stricter policy than the governor’s, but not more lenient, according to Maher.
Selectpeople Chris Mixon and Julia House, who had previously opposed mask requirements, said they still disagreed with the town ordering people to wear masks but agreed to comply with the executive order, The Times Record reported.
People in charge of indoor settings will now be held responsible for enforcing the mask mandate, according to guidance from the attorney general issued Wednesday. This includes business, restaurant and hotel owners, as well as people in charge of municipal buildings.
Those who don’t enforce the order might be charged with a class E crime, punishable by a fine of up to $10,000.