Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday the extension of the state's stay-at-home order and her administration's plan to gradually reopen the economy amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at an afternoon news conference, Mills announced she will extend Maine's stay-at-home order until May 31. The previous one was set to expire Thursday.
The new "Stay Safer at Home" order is subject to change but will still require residents to stay at home with limited exceptions like grocery shopping or exercising.
The plan to reopen the economy will be done in four stages, Mills said. Stage 1 begins May 1 and continues the prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people.
During this stage, people entering or returning to Maine must quarantine for a period of 14 days.
"As other states experience devastating outbreaks, we cannot let our guard down," Mills said.
The governor said people who are able to work from home should continue to do so, including state employees. Mainers will also be required to wear cloth face coverings in public settings.
Stage 2 tentatively begins June 1 and will revise the limitation on gatherings from less than 10 people to less than 50 people. Those who can work from home should continue to do so but employees in certain fields may be able to reenter the workforce at that time, Mills said.
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With appropriate safety precautions, Stage 3 could tentatively begin July 1 and possibly allow for the reopening of some businesses such as hotels, campgrounds, summer camps, RV parks, bars, tattoo parlors and massage facilities.
The timeline for Stage 4 has yet to be determined but contemplates lifting all restrictions and allowing all businesses and activities to resume with appropriate safety precautions, Mills said.
As of Tuesday, there were 17 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, bringing the total to 1,040, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. There were no new deaths reported Tuesday leaving the state's death toll at 51.
"Maine has flattened the curve but we're not out of the woods yet," Mills said. "These numbers give us confidence we are heading in the right direction."
So far, 163 Mainers remain hospitalized for COVID-19 while 585 residents have recovered, according to the Maine CDC.