MAINE, USA — As part of Governor Janet Mills' Stay-Safer-At-Home Executive Order, Maine people are now required to wear cloth face coverings in public places where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.
The governor's order comes as her administration seeks to slowly reopen the state's economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The order identifies public settings as:
- Indoor spaces that are accessible to the public such as grocery stores
- Retail stores, pharmacies and health care facilities
- Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for take-out service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area
- Public transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, ride-sharing or similar service; ferry, bus, or train; and any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area
Under the order, cloth face coverings are not required for children under age 2, a child in a child care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.
The U.S. CDC advises the use of cloth face coverings in public settings, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, to slow the spread of COVID-19.
While a cloth face covering is not intended to protect the wearer, it may prevent the spread of virus from the wearer to others. However, as Mills has noted a number of times, cloth face coverings are no substitute for physical distancing and other recommendations.
“Maine appears to be flattening the curve against this pandemic, saving lives and protecting public health. But we are not out of the woods yet,” Mills said. “This measure allows us to gradually restart our economy, allows us to do the same things we have been doing over the past month, and maintains the important public health measures that have protected us thus far. I believe in Maine people more than anything. Although this has been a long and difficult road for our state, I know that together, we will continue to do the right thing to protect one another and defeat this virus.”
Mills is encouraging Maine people to make their own cloth face coverings from common materials or to purchase them from a Maine-based company to support local businesses.
The Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership has compiled a list of Maine companies producing face coverings, which the Mills administration is sharing with Maine people as a resource. The Mills Administration has also partnered with Westbrook-based company American Roots to purchase and provide two cloth face coverings for every state of Maine employee.