Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday that she will end the 9 p.m. early closing time for businesses effective Monday, Feb. 1 due to a decline in the state's COVID-19 positivity rate.
Beginning Monday, businesses that had been subject to the requirement can resume evening operating hours, as long as they follow the state's remaining public health and safety requirements.
“We are beginning to round the corner on the post-holiday surge of COVID-19. With these improved public health metrics, and with the holidays behind us, it is appropriate to remove the early closing time requirement,” Mills said in a statement.
“At the same time, this pandemic is far from over," she added. "As we continue to get shots into as many peoples’ arms as quickly and efficiently as possible, it is crucial that Maine people continue to wear masks, watch their distance, and avoid gatherings whenever possible. Doing these basic things will help us put a lid on this virus and get back to normal faster. That will be great for Maine people and great for Maine businesses.”
Mills imposed the early closing regulations in November to help reduce public gatherings ahead of the holiday season. It was eventually extended beyond the holidays as coronavirus cases continued to spike.
Maine reported a seven day positivity rate of 3.64% on Thursday, a decrease from 5.89% on dec. 31. And the state's 7-day new case rate has declined by 35% over the last two weeks.