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New Maine coronavirus mask mandate means businesses must enforce it

Governor Janet Mills announced on Friday businesses must enforce the coronavirus mask mandate, some people are concerned.

MAINE, USA — A new mask mandate announced by Governor Janet Mills, making some republicans unhappy.

"The governor keeps putting out these executive orders and it's time for the legislature to start weighing in on these decisions," Billy Bob Falkingham a republican out of Winter Harbor said.

He added that businesses are doing their best.

"They're doing what they're supposed to, they put signs on their door, he said.

For some, though, tensions are high. A man in Cornish is facing charges after allegedly hitting a business owner with his car after being asked to leave the store for not wearing a mask.

Shana Cox is the president and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metro Chamber of Commerce. She said she's hearing from members that tighter restrictions are better than having to shut down, but still cause for some concern.

"It still leaves owners and operators wondering, which one of my staff members gets stuck calling the authorities," she said.

The change in the mandate is really just one word. Instead of saying business owners may enforce the mandate, now business owners must enforce it in the state of Maine.

For Faulkingham, he says he's concerned about who might be the enforcers.

"You've got people, young girls, teenagers in some cases and you're expecting them to police grown adults," he said.

Hannaford Supermarkets officials say masks are mandatory in their stores, too.

In a statement, the grocery store chain said:

"We require the use of masks by customers and associates to enter our stores. All of our Maine stores will have associates at the door greeting customers and offering free masks for those not wearing them. Any customer choosing not to wear a mask will be asked to leave. We continue to ask our customers to help ensure the safety of one another, our associates, and our community by wearing masks while shopping."

Shaw's Supermarkets officials agree: 

"Throughout this pandemic, the health and safety of everyone who walks through our doors has been our top priority. Across all of our locations, we have required our associates, vendors, and customers to wear face coverings, for their protection and for the protection of every person that walks through our doors. We appreciate the support that our Maine customers have shown our stores throughout this difficult year, and we ask for their continued cooperation and understanding as we serve the community in compliance with the Governor's executive order. As a reminder, we continue to offer delivery service through Instacart at select locations as a convenient option for shopping from home."