AUGUSTA – Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday issued her toughest restrictions yet in the effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Among the new limitations — which take effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday — are that Mainers must stay home unless working at an essential job and that they leave home only to visit places the grocery store or pharmacy.
In addition, motorists will only be permitted to have passengers they are taking to medical or other necessary appointments.
Mills also mandated the closure of all in-person classroom instruction until at least May 1.
It includes rules for businesses that remain open, like a six-foot social distancing mandate and limiting the number of people inside places like convenience stores or grocery stores, depending on their size.
“I don’t think any of the governors I’ve spoke with or dealt with have ever expected to have to take these kinds of measures when they ran for governor, or when they became governor. No one anticipated these kinds of measures,” Mills said.
“I beg the people of Maine to be patient, tolerant, to act with kindness compassion and humanity towards your neighbors, your family, your friends and community members across the state, as we engage in this unusual manner to put to bed this terrible, dangerous, deadly virus,” she added.
Mills’ new restrictions followed a briefing from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention during which Dr. Nirav Shah reported that 303 people in Maine have been sickened by COVID-19 as of late Tuesday morning.
Mills said the restrictions will remain in effect through April 30 and that violations are subject to up to six months in jail, a fine of up to $1,000 or both.
For more information on the order, visit the governor’s website.