Pointing out rise in coronavirus cases, Mills rolls back reopenings – Press Herald

1November 2020

Fore Street in Portland’s Old Port was quiet and rainy Sunday night. Earlier, Gov. Janet Mills announced rollbacks of reopening strategies in action to the current rise in COVID-19 cases.

Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer Gov. Janet Mills revealed a considerable rollback of Maine’s reopening plans on Sunday in action to a current COVID-19 rise that saw the largest-ever number of new cases in the state on Friday. Mills has minimized indoor event limitations, postponed planned reopenings of bars and tasting spaces, and reduced the variety of states exempt from Maine’s travel restrictions. The increased limitations drew a combined reaction from entrepreneur, who acknowledged the health issues behind it, however, in some cases, questioned whether they ‘d have the ability to make it through much longer.” If we do not manage this break out, we might never get this evil genie back in the bottle,” Gov. Mills said in a declaration Sunday afternoon. Indoor gatherings were expanded on Oct. 13 to 100 individuals or half of permitted tenancy, whichever is lower. Now the limitation will move back down to 50 people, no matter capacity.

The event limit on outside activities will remain at 100 individuals, and occupancy limitations for retail organizations likewise will remain at five people per 1,000 square feet of shopping area, according to an announcement Sunday from the guv’s workplace.

People traveling to Maine from New York, New Jersey and Connecticut are no longer exempt from Maine’s requirement to quarantine for 2 week or get a negative test, due to the fact that of increasing COVID-19 numbers in those states. New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts remain exempt for now, though the Mills administration on Sunday prompted visitors from those states to get evaluated anyhow.

And Maine’s bars and tasting rooms will no longer be enabled to resume on Monday for indoor seated service, as had actually been prepared. The Mills administration said the postponement would last “till further notice,” as public health authorities keep an eye on the information for indications that it’s safe to resume indoor service.

The choice will likely be tough on owners of bars and tasting rooms who planned to reopen today. Mills acknowledged the monetary problem in her announcement, and promised to continue supporting the state’s small businesses, consisting of by looking for more cash from Congress.

“To the business owners and staff members of bars and tasting rooms, I am deeply sorry that we have actually been required to make this choice to delay your resuming to prevent the further spread of the infection,” Mills stated in the declaration. “I know that you were prepared and going to follow public health guidance to keep yourselves and Maine individuals safe. We recognize that this choice will cause challenge. We do not take this action gently, but the quick rise in cases in simply the previous six days means that we can not in good conscience continue with the planned reopening.”

Some bar owners recently said that a rollback in resuming could be devastating to their businesses, which are prime targets for coronavirus safety measures, considered that they usually bring people close together inside.

Margaret Lyons, owner of the The Snug, a pub on Congress Street in Portland, said recently that not being able to reopen could force her to pay back a loan she got under the Income Protection Program passed by Congress.

The bar has actually been closed considering that March, and has practically no outdoor seating. Lyons said she had actually spent considerable effort preparing to resume on Tuesday, including eliminating half of her seating, buying Plexiglas for the bar, installing sanitation stations and setting up a system to collect clients’ contact details so that tracers from the Maine Center for Illness Control and Avoidance can reach them if there’s a break out.

“Truthfully, I’m at my snapping point. I have actually done everything. Everything,” Lyons stated. “We are prepared. My bar is safe. … We are all hardly holding on. If I might have a word with the guv, I would beg her to just let me open.”

< a href="https://portlandmaineinsnearme.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/citing-surge-in-coronavirus-cases-mills-rolls-back-reopenings-press-herald-1.jpg"data-caption= "A team member cleans the windows of The Snug, a bar in Portland's East End, on Friday. Signs letting customers learn about the bar's resuming hang in the window. Bars in Maine, closed throughout the pandemic, are arranged to

resume Monday however record varieties of COVID-19 cases could alter that. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographe”> A staff member cleans up the windows of The Snug, a bar in Portland’s East End, on Friday. Signs letting consumers understand about the bar’s reopening await the window. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographe About an hour after the guv’s statement on Sunday, a profanity-laden post appeared on The Snug’s Facebook page excoriating the limitations and asking why other organizations– such as schools, restaurants and hairdresser– were enabled to remain open while bars were not.”You’re penalizing me for the spread, and I wasn’t even(expletive)open, “the post says, in part. Later on Sunday, Lyons stated in an e-mail that her company likely would be able to survive, in the meantime.

“I am exceptionally fortunate to have a really considerate proprietor,” she stated. “In between his understanding and the irony that I have sufficient money from an emergency situation loan left over to pay on said emergency loan for a little while longer, I should have the ability to hang in there a while longer.”

However she likewise asked why dining establishments and craft breweries with area for large enclosed camping tents have the ability to remain open, while she can’t.

“My biggest objection is that my bar is as safe as any organization that is currently permitted open (and for the record, I am not saying any service is safe to open),” she stated in the email. “I have followed the exact same guidelines in preparation to resume. My personnel is trained and all set to ensure everybody’s security, like a restaurant. However for inexplicable factors, the bar is shuttered. Can one not consume simply as much at a bar (as) in a dining establishment?”

Break outs have been traced to bars in other states that have reopened. In Michigan, health authorities linked almost 200 cases to a single bar in East Lansing, and in Louisiana, authorities were forced to reverse their resuming after 400 people were contaminated at bars.

In June, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s leading contagious illness authority, urged Americans to stop congregating inside in bars. “Bars: really bad, actually not good,” he said at the time. “Churchgoers at a bar, inside, is bad news. We truly have actually got to stop that.”

Fauci’s remarks came at a time when parts of the nation were resuming bars for full service, without some of the preventative measures that Maine services were preparing to take today. However he has still admonished Americans to stay with outdoor gatherings, with masks and social distancing, wherever possible.

Dave Aceto, co-owner of Arcadia National Bar in Portland, said he understood both the disappointment felt by bar owners and the requirement to keep employees and patrons safe.

“We remain in a world where there are no right responses,” he said in a phone interview Sunday. “You’re picking between your financial and your physical health, because eventually you need to earn money.”

Arcadia has been closed given that lockdowns began and, with little curbside area and a stable of immobile game devices, has been unable to welcome patrons outside as other services have actually done. Aceto hadn’t planned to reopen today– “The science is informing us to remain closed,” he stated– however he said he felt other bar owners’ frustration about being singled out compared to dining establishments.

“It’s annoying that bar owners and tasting space owners are not depended keep individuals safe when dining establishments are,” he stated. “I’m not even given the opportunity to show that I can have 25 individuals securely playing arcade video games and drinking beer.”

Still, Aceto said, “the health of my employees is number one, and today I do not feel comfy putting them at danger.”

The Portland Hunt & Alpine Club was open for outdoor seating Sunday night. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Professional Photographer

Briana Volk, co-owner of the Portland Hunt & & Alpine Club in Portland with her hubby, Andrew, said the schedule modification would not affect the Market Street bar due to the fact that, like Arcadia, they weren’t preparing to resume for indoor service on Monday.

“At Hunt we had no strategies to resume inside due to the fact that we do not believe it is safe for our personnel, guests or neighborhood,” Volk said in an e-mail Sunday. “Our strategy is to stay outdoor-only dining until Dec. 31. We are thankful Gov. Mills is making the hard choice to protect our community and is working to keep everyone as safe as possible. I make sure it was not a simple choice to come to.”

The new constraints will affect more than simply bars and tasting spaces. Don Littlefield, manager of The Maine Brew Bus, which brings tour guests by bus to find out about the craft alcohol market in Maine, stated the end of exemptions for New york city, New Jersey and Connecticut visitors might cut into the business’s plans to resume business in November.

“Our vehicles have now been parked since early March,” Littlefield, who also serves as public intermediary for the Maine chapter of the U.S. Bartenders’ Guild, stated in an email. “For more than three months running, we have actually exclusively carried out open-air trips to explore the industry by strolling, biking, boating, and running.”

Maine Brew Bus had actually been making strategies to resume bus-based trips in mid-November based on the Mills administration’s past statements that indoor service at bars and tasting spaces may resume. Of the 720 guests who have actually joined the company’s outdoor tours, 56 percent reside in those now non-exempt states, Littlefield stated.

“The loss of those leisure tourists to freely go into Maine will seriously affect any of our plans for the future,” he said.

Along with the increased safety precautions, Mills will extend a grant program that supports municipalities’ efforts to contain the novel coronavirus. The Keep Maine Healthy Strategy has already dispersed more than $13 million to communities to fund education and COVID-19 prevention, consisting of the purchase of masks, hand sanitizer and educational signs in public spaces.

Mills signified on Friday that changes may be concerning pandemic security guidelines after a week of high everyday case totals. Maine’s seven-day average for everyday brand-new cases rose to 78.3 on Saturday, a dramatic increase from daily averages better to 14 in mid-August. On Friday, the Maine CDC reported a record 103 new cases, followed by another 101 on Saturday.

Mills’ press secretary, Lindsay Crete, stated Friday that the governor was considering changes to indoor event limits, the list of states presently exempt from quarantine and screening requirements, and the reopening date for bars, tasting rooms and distilleries, among others.

“Like many Maine families, Gov. Mills is very worried about the spread of this deadly virus as we deal with chillier weather condition and holidays that typically encourage gatherings of all sorts. Unfortunately, if we do not each take aggressive actions, this infection will be the unwelcome guest to our household dinners and social gatherings,” Crete said.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, alerted on Saturday that Maine is “nearing a phase of exponential development, if we haven’t entered it already.”

“It’s simple to believe you’re flying until you struck the ground,” he stated on Twitter, perhaps referring to Maine’s success– until now– in maintaining low case rates as the virus surges around the U.S.

On Thursday, Mills extended for another one month the state of emergency situation under which she has actually released executive orders limiting public gatherings and mandating masks in public spaces, among other preventative measures.

When that extension ends, in late November, it will mark more than 8 months under an emergency declaration that began when the coronavirus first was detected in Maine in March.

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