Reopening of bars and tasting rooms in Maine postponed indefinitely

Citing an “alarming” surge of coronavirus cases in nearby states, and a doubling of Maine’s test positivity rate, Gov. Janet Mills issued an order Sunday which postpones the reopening of bars and tasting rooms in the state indefinitely. The limit on the number of people permitted to gather indoors has also been reduced from 100 to 50. Visitors from three states — New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut — are again required to quarantine for 14-days or get a negative coronavirus test. Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts remain exempt from these requirements, for now. “Like most people in this state, I am extremely concerned about the spread of this virus as we head into colder winter months and the holiday season, when we customarily gather with friends and family,” wrote Governor Mills in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, in this era, dinner parties and other traditional gatherings can play host to an uninvited guest: a deadly virus for which there is no treatment and no cure, a virus which is attacking babies, teenagers, Millennials and seniors alike in every region of Maine and all across the country. Each one of us must assume personal responsibility for our actions and do everything we can to get this virus under control.”Gov. Mills also announced an extension of the “Keep Maine Healthy Plan,” a grant program which allotted more than $13 million in federal CARE ACT funding for Maine towns to develop and implement their own COVID-19 prevention and protection strategies. Over at the Black Pug Brewery in Brunswick, owners called the governor’s new safety measures “disappointing” and are worried about the future of their business. “We’re still not exactly sure what we’re going to be able to do when the snow starts coming,” said Jason Allen, the co-owner of Black Pug Brewery. “From a business perspective, we have a little bit of buffer. If we had to close, we could close for a few months. But the buffer’s not that big, though.”The head of the Maine Brewers’ Guild reacted to the delayed reopening plan and new restrictions by saying, “we understand the governor is making difficult decisions, and public safety is the top priority.””We are hopeful all Mainers can work to stop the spread of the virus so we can get back to business,” said Sean Sullivan, of the Maine Brewers’ Guild. Gov. Mills was not available for an interview on Sunday but wrote in a written statement that “if we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil genie back in the bottle.” The Maine CDC reported 47 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. On Friday, the Maine CDC recorded the single highest total of new cases — 103 infections — since the outbreak began. Although Sunday’s case count was much lower, the Maine CDC director noted that a disruption in the data delivery system that reports test results caused Sunday’s update to include fewer cases than would have been reported over 24 hours. “Epidemiological data and case investigations during the past week show that Maine is experiencing widespread community transmission,” wrote Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in a statement. “Maine people and visitors can help limit further spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 by adhering to proven safety measures. Every time you leave your home, please do so with the intent of making Maine safer for yourself and others.”

Citing an “alarming” surge of coronavirus cases in nearby states, and a doubling of Maine’s test positivity rate, Gov. Janet Mills issued an order Sunday which postpones the reopening of bars and tasting rooms in the state indefinitely.

The limit on the number of people permitted to gather indoors has also been reduced from 100 to 50.

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Visitors from three states — New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut — are again required to quarantine for 14-days or get a negative coronavirus test. Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts remain exempt from these requirements, for now.

“Like most people in this state, I am extremely concerned about the spread of this virus as we head into colder winter months and the holiday season, when we customarily gather with friends and family,” wrote Governor Mills in a prepared statement. “Unfortunately, in this era, dinner parties and other traditional gatherings can play host to an uninvited guest: a deadly virus for which there is no treatment and no cure, a virus which is attacking babies, teenagers, Millennials and seniors alike in every region of Maine and all across the country. Each one of us must assume personal responsibility for our actions and do everything we can to get this virus under control.”

Gov. Mills also announced an extension of the “Keep Maine Healthy Plan,” a grant program which allotted more than $13 million in federal CARE ACT funding for Maine towns to develop and implement their own COVID-19 prevention and protection strategies.

Over at the Black Pug Brewery in Brunswick, owners called the governor’s new safety measures “disappointing” and are worried about the future of their business.

“We’re still not exactly sure what we’re going to be able to do when the snow starts coming,” said Jason Allen, the co-owner of Black Pug Brewery. “From a business perspective, we have a little bit of buffer. If we had to close, we could close for a few months. But the buffer’s not that big, though.”

The head of the Maine Brewers’ Guild reacted to the delayed reopening plan and new restrictions by saying, “we understand the governor is making difficult decisions, and public safety is the top priority.”

“We are hopeful all Mainers can work to stop the spread of the virus so we can get back to business,” said Sean Sullivan, of the Maine Brewers’ Guild.

Gov. Mills was not available for an interview on Sunday but wrote in a written statement that “if we do not control this outbreak, we may never get this evil genie back in the bottle.”

The Maine CDC reported 47 new coronavirus cases on Sunday. On Friday, the Maine CDC recorded the single highest total of new cases — 103 infections — since the outbreak began. Although Sunday’s case count was much lower, the Maine CDC director noted that a disruption in the data delivery system that reports test results caused Sunday’s update to include fewer cases than would have been reported over 24 hours.

“Epidemiological data and case investigations during the past week show that Maine is experiencing widespread community transmission,” wrote Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention in a statement. “Maine people and visitors can help limit further spread of the virus that causes COVID-19 by adhering to proven safety measures. Every time you leave your home, please do so with the intent of making Maine safer for yourself and others.”