Breaking News
More () »

Retail stores can reopen in 12 of 16 Maine counties

A revision to the state's reopening plan is allowing some businesses shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic to open May 11th.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Retail businesses in 12 counties in Maine can reopen to walk-in customers beginning today. Those counties include Aroostook, Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Frankin, Oxford, Kennebec, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc. 

Credit: NCM

RELATED: Rockland explores closing Main Street to create 'open air market' as businesses in most Maine counties reopen

Governor Janet Mills announced the revision to her phased reopening of Maine Friday. 

Mills said these mostly rural 12 counties can begin the reopening process because there is no evidence of community transmission of the coronavirus and because there is a lower number of confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The stores must follow CDC safety guidelines to reopen. The guidelines include employees being required to wear face coverings, ensuring social distancing between staff and customers, and limiting the number of customers inside the establishment, among others.

Read the complete safety checklist for retail businesses:

RELATED: Real-time Maine coronavirus COVID-19 updates: 64 deaths, 1,408 total cases

Statewide, fitness and exercise centers are also allowed to reopen today, but only for outdoor classes of ten or fewer people, or for one-on-one personal training indoors. CDC safety guidelines must also be followed by employees and clients.

Mills said this new plan does not mean stores must reopen. If employees are not comfortable returning to work or are considered at-risk of the coronavirus, they should not feel compelled to return to work. Employers are urged to be flexible with their employees, and be aware that local governments could apply additional restrictions in the interest of public health and safety.

On Monday, May 18, restaurants in the 12 counties may open for outdoor dining and for limited dine-in service, with strict health and safety precautions.

Businesses and all other counties will have to wait until June. 

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: coronavirus.

RELATED: Rockland explores closing Main Street to create 'open air market' as businesses in most Maine counties reopen

RELATED: Maine restaurants can reopen in rural counties after coronavirus restrictions

RELATED: Lawsuit against Gov. Mills stands even as restrictions are eased

RELATED: Mills speeds up business opening in rural counties amid coronavirus, COVID-19 pandemic

RELATED: Rural Maine counties will be able to begin reopening as soon as next week, Mills says

RELATED: Maine small businesses forced to close or downsize during coronavirus pandemic

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist

Before You Leave, Check This Out