AUGUSTA, Maine — Gov. Janet Mills extended a curfew for some businesses indefinitely on Wednesday as coronavirus cases continue to climb in Maine.
The 9 p.m. curfew for indoor and outdoor amusement venues, restaurants, casinos and movie theaters was set to expire on Jan. 3. Businesses are still allowed to have curbside pick-up and delivery services after 9 p.m.
Mills cited the rising seven-day average and positivity rate in Maine, which respectively stand at 431.6 new cases and 5.43 percent as of Wednesday. She also pointed to increasing hospitalizations and deaths, as December looks to be the deadliest month of the year. Those factors make it clear Maine “cannot afford to relax this rule now,” Mills said.
The state is also looking to see how the winter holiday season affects virus transmission in the state. Highway travel was expected to be down by a quarter as officials urged against large gatherings.
The measure comes as Maine resists stricter methods to control the virus’ spread, similar to ones used in the early months of the pandemic. Mills has also instituted a mandatory mask requirement in public settings and limited indoor gatherings to 50 people.
Other northeastern states, including Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont and New York, also have instituted early business closures at 10 p.m. to minimize extended evening gatherings.
The state has seen 23,499 people sickened by the virus as of Wednesday.