Maine's Biggest City Considers Reinstituting Indoor Mask Mandate

As coronavirus cases rise in Maine and elsewhere, the Portland City Council plans to vote on a new mask requirement

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Portland may become Maine's first city with an indoor mask requirement since state restrictions were lifted earlier this year.

The Portland City Council held a workshop Wednesday to discuss days after city health officials recommended leaders make mask-wearing mandatory in all indoor public spaces, regardless of whether or not someone has been vaccinated.

In recent weeks, Maine has seen COVID-19-related hospitalizations and cases skyrocket as the delta variant has spread.

"This is not an easy answer but, from a public health perspective, we believe it's the right answer," said Kristen Dow, director of Portland's Health and Human Services Department.

Dow suggested the city reinstate indoor mask-wearing as a rule rather than a recommendation.

Her department says a restriction should be in place until there is new, higher-level CDC guidance on masks, or until the COVID-19 transmission in Cumberland County, which includes Portland, falls to a moderate or low level for at least three weeks.

"We're certainly going to run into a portion of the public that isn't going to be happy about it. For us, if we have to wear it, we have to wear it," said Matt Moran, the owner of Nosh Kitchen Bar.

City councilors are expected to vote on the measure Monday.

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