In the last month, Maine has issued 14 citations to businesses for not complying with guidelines to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, up from just two in previous months.
The increased enforcement comes after a wedding ceremony and reception in the Millinocket area in early August that is linked to outbreaks in at least two other locations in Maine, with more than 170 people contracting the virus and eight deaths since.
More Coverage on the Millinocket Outbreak
The Portland Press Herald reports that 14 businesses, mostly restaurants, were given “imminent health hazard” citations since August 20. Two of those establishments had been previously cited since the the start of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state temporarily suspended the food and beverage licenses of two business for repeatedly violating state protocols, according to state health inspection program records obtained by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. The other cited businesses were in compliance by last week.
Most businesses, particularly restaurants and hotels, are complying with the state’s safety guidelines, according to Dana Connors, president and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce.
“Maine businesses have done an incredible job of addressing their responsibilities and recognizing the role they play for the state,” Connors said. “Those that don’t are the exception and not the rule. I think businesses have stepped up and taken this on with tremendous responsibility, and I find it hard to be convinced otherwise.”
Maine reported 44 new confirmed COVID-19 cases on Sunday for a total of more than 5,000 since the pandemic began. No new deaths were reported.