AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Governor Janet Mills issued an announcement late Monday night urging people across the state to cancel St. Patrick's Day celebrations to help stem the coronavirus spread.
"While I enjoy a good Saint Patrick's Day celebration as much as the next Mainer, this year's festivities are only inviting an opportunity to spread COVID-19," Mills posted to Twitter.
Mills said she is hopeful it will force Mainers to take the coronavirus more seriously as the number of cases continues to grow in several counties.
As of Tuesday morning, there are a total of 17 confirmed and presumptive positive cases.
13 of those cases are in Cumberland County.
"I recognize the significant impact this can have on our businesses, but we have to keep in mind the significant impact it could have in mitigating the spread of the virus," Mills said. "I am urging event organizers and businesses across the state to cancel their Saint Patrick's Day celebrations to follow U.S. CDC guidelines to prevent the gathering of crowds."
The City of Portland put an emergency curfew in place from 6 a.m. Tuesday until 2 a.m. Wednesday.
City officials said it will impact large group gatherings at restaurants and bars. Establishments that do not comply could face fines of upwards of $500.
Bangor declared a Civil State of Emergency that forces bars restaurants and gathering places to close from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. for the next five days.
Officials in the City of Waterville have also ordered restaurants and bars to shut down.
Gov. Mills has been working to ensure businesses impacted by COVID-19 have the support they need.
The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Mills' request to bring relief for those harmed by the virus this week.
"I believe it is critical for businesses and Maine people to heed this call to protect the health and safety of every person in Maine," Mills said.
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