Some Maine Businesses to Close Early Amid Rising COVID Cases

The curfew to help control the spread of the virus will begin on Friday, Nov. 20, and last until Dec. 6, according to Gov. Janet Mills

A table set for indoor dining at a Portland, Maine, restaurant

Amid a rise in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations in Maine, Gov. Janet Mills has announced that some businesses will temporarily close by 9 p.m.

The curfew to help control the spread of the virus will begin on Friday and last until Dec. 6, Mills said in a statement Thursday. During that timeframe, all outdoor and indoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and businesses that provide seated food and drink service will have to abide by the early closure time, according to Mills.

The timeframe was picked as many students and family members may be returning to the area for the Thanksgiving holiday and "social gatherings are more common."

"Since the beginning of this pandemic, we have been performing a balancing act, basing our decisions on science and medical expertise, weighing the safety of reopening with the necessity of getting back to business. This targeted and temporary step will reduce extended gatherings while keeping the businesses open. Other steps may be necessary in the coming weeks if we do not get this virus under control," Mills said in a statement.

The governor is also reminding residents to wear face coverings, wash their hands, maintain social distance and avoid hosting or attending gatherings.

"Returning to normal life sometime next year first requires us to survive the holidays this year," Mills said.

Maine reported 215 new confirmed coronavirus cases Thursday and one additional death. There have now been 171 confirmed deaths and 9,734 cases, according to the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"Every part of Maine is seeing community transmission," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Shah added that residents can help limit the spread of the virus by limiting social gatherings.

"By adjusting or delaying our shared celebrations, we deny the virus that opportunity and demonstrate our respect and care for others," he said.

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