Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Tuesday lifted the state’s requirement that people wear face coverings outside, effective immediately, after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance on masks.
In a statement, the Maine Center for Disease Control said masks are no longer required in public, but recommended that people continue to wear them “in outdoor settings where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing.”
Masks remain required in indoor public settings, and the state’s social distancing guidelines remain in place, the Maine CDC said.
"We are updating Maine’s public health guidance to reflect the U.S. CDC’s latest recommendations that indicate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 while outdoors is low, especially as more people get vaccinated, Mills said. “With the summer months nearly upon us, this offers a great opportunity for people to get outside and safely enjoy all that Maine has to offer.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines Tuesday on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don't need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers.
And those who are unvaccinated can go outside without masks in some cases, too.
The new guidance represents another carefully calibrated step on the road back to normal from the coronavirus outbreak that has killed over 570,000 people in U.S.
For most of the past year, the CDC had been advising Americans to wear masks outdoors if they are within 6 feet of each other.
Maine lawmakers also said they anticipate updating guidance around mask-wearing in places like baseball parks and outdoor restaurant spaces in the coming days.
One other change, after months of various changing test and quarantine policies for people traveling in and out of Maine, is that many of those restrictions will be going away in a matter of days.
“Effective May 1, Maine people or travelers from other states no longer need to test or quarantine before coming into Maine,” said the director of Maine CDC, Dr. Nirav Shah.
He said that policy could change if variants in other states present an emerging threat in the future but there was no immediate sign of that on Tuesday.