Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Maine, US, to ease business restrictions in certain counties starting June 1. Travel restrictions remain in place.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Bangor, Maine
  • Portland, Maine
  • Presque Isle, Maine
  • Augusta, Maine
  • Lewiston-Auburn, Maine

This alert began 28 May 2020 16:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 04 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Maine (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Maine Governor Janet Mills will ease business restrictions in certain counties of the state starting June 1, as part of Stage 2 of the administration's economic recovery plan due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Requirements for travelers entering Maine from other US states to self-quarantine for 14 days will remain in place, and gatherings of up to 50 people will be allowed. Residents 65 years and older, and those with underlying health conditions, should continue to remain at home as much as possible.

Starting June 1, authorities will allow restaurants to offer outdoor dining in Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York counties, while restaurants in Penobscot county and in the rest of the state will be allowed to open for indoor and outdoor services. Retail stores, which had been allowed to open in 12 of the state's 16 counties since mid-May, will be allowed to open statewide. Campgrounds and RV parks are open for Maine residents since May 22, and will be open for visitors who have completed their quarantine starting June 1. Lodging businesses will also open June 1.

The reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons was originally planned for June 1, but it has been postponed to a later still undetermined date, due to increased risk of COVID-19 transmission. Barbershops and hair salons, construction companies, drive-in theaters, auto dealerships, car washes, places of worship, and outdoor recreational facilities may continue to operate statewide. Essential businesses such as grocery shops, pharmacies, banks, fuel stations, and companies operating in the transport, security, telecommunications, utility services, and critical manufacturing sectors may also remain open.

All businesses must enhance sanitation procedures, ensure compliance with social distancing guidelines, and provide the necessary protective equipment for employees. A stay-at-home order will remain in place through May 31. The order stipulates that residents may only leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend to a medical issue, care for a person in need, or go to work at a business or service which is allowed to operate. All residents are required to wear cloth face coverings when in public and near others.

Transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities may deploy additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing the remaining measures. Officials could vary the timing, implementation, or content of any part of the state's COVID-19 recovery plan, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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