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Changes to Maine's stay-safer-at-home order amid COVID-19 taking effect Friday

Some businesses able to meet state-mandated safety measures will be allowed to reopen.

MAINE, USA — Maine begins its process of reopening on May 1, with stage one of Governor Janet Mills plan to restart the state's economy. 

Starting Friday, some businesses will be able to reopen as part of stage one. That includes: 

  • Health care from Maine-licensed providers, with recommendations that they prioritize care for patients with time-sensitive conditions; assure the safety of patients, staff, and communities; manage the use of essential resources such as personal protective equipment and testing supplies; and pace re-opening services to the level of community COVID-19 activity, maintaining capacity in our hospitals for potential outbreaks
  • Personal services: Barbershops, hair salons, and pet grooming
  • Limited drive-in, stay-in-your-vehicle religious services
  • Drive-in movie theaters
  • Outdoor recreation: guided outdoor activities (hunting & fishing) and restricted use of golf and disc golf courses
  • State parks, state-owned public land trails, and historic sites; although certain coastal state parks will remain closed
  • Auto dealerships and car washes

RELATED: Real-time Maine coronavirus, COVID-19 updates: Friday May 1, 2020

RELATED: Read Maine Phase 1 COVID-19 Prevention Checklist to help business reopen with reduced coronavirus restrictions

More business will be able to reopen in later phases of Gov. Mills plan. Those business, and places allowed to open May 1 will have to meet state mandated safety precautions. You can read 

Starting on Friday, Mainers will also be required to wear face coverings in public spaces. 

The order identifies public settings as: 

  • Indoor spaces that are accessible to the public such as grocery stores
  • Retail stores, pharmacies and health care facilities 
  • Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for take-out service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area
  • Public transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, ride-sharing or similar service; ferry, bus, or train; and any semi-enclosed transit stop or waiting area

RELATED: Face coverings now required in public places in Maine

Under the order, cloth face coverings are not required for children under age 2, a child in a child care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance. 

The U.S. CDC advises the use of cloth face coverings in public settings, such as grocery stores or pharmacies, to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Another change Mainers will see Friday is that the Maine Department of Labor will begin taking claims for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. 

 That will begin at 8 a.m. on Friday, May 1. People whose claim does not require further review should begin receiving benefits within seven days of filing.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a new federal program which expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to certain categories of workers not typically able to receive unemployment in the past, such as:

  • Self-employed workers
  • Farmers/Fishermen
  • Independent contractors
  • Nonprofit employees not already covered by regular state unemployment benefits
  • Gig economy workers
  • Workers who do not have enough work history and earnings to be eligible for traditional unemployment benefits
  • Others who have been determined ineligible for regular unemployment benefits

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At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: www.newscentermaine.com/coronavirus.