Visitors walk on a busy sidewalk, Saturday, May 15, 2021, in Bar Harbor, Maine. Gov. Janet Mills is is eliminating most outdoor distancing requirements imposed during the COVID-19 pandemic as the tourism season begins to kick into gear. Credit: Robert F. Bukaty / AP

As mask requirements are set to lift around the state on Monday, many wonder how this will affect daily life and what it means for the summer season.

Here’s what you need to know about the latest changes to Maine’s COVID-19 guidelines.

What are the changes?

Vaccinated Mainers will not be required to wear a mask outdoors or indoors in Maine after May 24.

Social distancing guidelines will also be lifted on May 24, and it will not be mandatory for indoor venues to enforce the 6-foot distancing requirement. This includes restaurants and bars, shopping centers, break rooms or other communal spaces.

Businesses will be allowed to return to 100 percent capacity on that day as well.

Who is affected?

Fully vaccinated Mainers will no longer be required to wear a mask inside or outside.

You are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after you have received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Those who have not received a vaccine, have not received the full dosage of a vaccine or have not reached two weeks after their final dose will still be asked to wear a mask at indoor venues and gathering spaces.

As children under the age of 12 cannot receive a COVID-19 vaccine at this time, mask requirements are still in place for people ages 2 to 12.

Where will I be required to wear a mask?

Some businesses have said that they will continue to enforce masks in their stores, regardless of the directives by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the Mills administration.

Major retailers that will no longer require fully vaccinated employees or shoppers to wear masks while in stores include L.L. Bean, Hannaford, Walmart, Walgreens, Lowe’s, Target and Home Depot, to name a few.

The Maine Mall will follow Maine state guidelines, and will allow vaccinated customers to enter the building without wearing a mask. Individual retailers within the mall may set individual masking guidelines.

The new CDC guidelines will still require that all public schools enforce masks in indoor environments. Students and school staff will be required to continue to wear masks in buildings that are on school grounds.

Masks will be required on all modes of public transportation, including busses, trains, airplanes and subways. All passengers and drivers on the Community Connector will be required to continue wearing masks while on public transport.

Northern Light Health facilities will continue to require masks for all staff, patients and visitors, as will all hospitals and clinics associated with MaineHealth.

Maine lawmakers voted on Friday to continue to require legislators and visitors to wear masks in the State House.

Can businesses ask for proof of vaccination?

Individual businesses will be able to set their own mask guidelines, and can determine if they will require proof of vaccination.

State Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew said that the state will not set a policy requiring businesses to create a vaccination screening process.

What happens if I am unvaccinated and don’t wear a mask?

Maine lawmakers have not introduced changes to the current mask mandate that will introduce penalties for unmasked, unvaccinated individuals. Lambrew expects that the state will adopt new mask enforcement policies soon.

Leela Stockley

Leela Stockley is an alumna of the University of Maine. She was raised in northern Maine, and loves her cat Wesley and staying active in the Maine outdoors.