November 2, 2020

Legislative Alert: Governor Janet Mills Updates the Keep Maine Healthy Program

Last month, Governor Mills made a number of adjustments to the state’s Keep Maine Healthy Program, allowing for greater capacity for indoor dining, establishing opening dates for indoor service at bars and tasting rooms, and adding additional states that could allow its residents to cross our borders without the need for quarantining or testing. With a dramatic increase in positive COVID-19 cases emerging over the course of the past week and Maine experiencing daily new cases hitting triple digits for the first time since the pandemic started in March, on November 1st Governor Mills announced changes to help control the spread of the coronavirus. Those changes are outlined below.

Bars and Tasting Rooms

Governor Mills previously announced November 2nd as the target date for bars and tasting rooms to resume indoor seated service. Citing the significant rise in cases in less than seven days, the Chief Executive said, “we cannot in good conscience proceed with the planned reopening.” No future date of an anticipated reopening was provided by the Administration.

Indoor Gathering Capacity

Effective November 4th, indoor gatherings will return to a maximum of 50 people, regardless of capacity. As you may recall, on October 13th the allowed indoor gathering limit was increased to 50 percent of permitted occupancy of that facility, up to a maximum of 100 people, for seated activities. Examples of such activities and facilities include indoor dining, religious gatherings, school cafeterias, and movie theaters. The loosening of those restrictions occurred last month because of Maine’s low hospitalizations, new cases, and deaths – metrics that have dramatically increased over the past week. No additional changes have been made to the outdoor gathering limit, which is 100 people (adhering to physical distancing and the use of face coverings). Retail establishments’ occupancy limits will also remain at 5 people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.

Travel Restrictions

Also, effective November 4th, Maine will remove three states currently exempt from its quarantine and testing requirements. Travelers from New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut must once again either quarantine for up to 14 days while awaiting test results or provide a negative COVID-19 test from a sample taken within 72 hours of arriving in Maine. These states were previously exempt from this requirement during the summer. Although New Hampshire, Vermont, and Massachusetts residents traveling to Maine will continue to be allowed to cross state borders freely without the need of testing or quarantining, Massachusetts is being closely monitored by the Administration and may be removed from the exempt list should that state’s metrics continue to trend in the wrong direction.

In yesterday’s announcement, Governor Mills strongly recommended that visitors from (and Mainers returning from) exempt states obtain a test in order to know their COVID-19 status in an effort to control the spread of the virus. Any person in Maine who feels they need a test, irrespective of experiencing symptoms, may get a test without an order from their physician.  In order to meet increased demand for testing, the Mills Administration announced last week it will distribute 400,000 rapid antigen tests starting later in November. Approximately 75 percent of those tests will be provided to up to 65 Walgreens pharmacy locations statewide. Testing will be available to the public as a drive-through service and free of charge.

Additional information regarding these latest changes may be found in the press release issued by Governor Mills on Sunday. To find a testing location near you, please visit Get Tested COVID-19.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our practice group members.

Firm Highlights


Primary Round-Up

Primary Round-Up As you are probably aware, primary elections in Maine took place on Tuesday, June 14, and there were a handful that could be significant to the general election outcome in November. Congressional...


Maine Legislative Update: Second Session of the 130th Legislature

Unexpected losses Sadly, we learned of the passing of two legislators in the past few days. It was announced on Friday, January 28th, that longtime Democratic legislator and current House member, Representative John Tuttle...


Legislative Alert: Special Session, Redistricting, and Cloture

The Legislature gathered for a Special Session last week, September 29 th , to vote on legislative redistricting. The final agreement passed successfully and with strong bipartisan support in both the House and the...


End of Session Update

The Second Regular Session of the 130th Maine State Legislature finally adjourned Sine Die, or “without day”, on Monday, May 9. Lawmakers voted on the 5 vetoes sent to them by Governor Mills, and...


2022 Maine Employment Law Summit

Join Us for the Return of Preti Flaherty's Annual Employment Law Summit! After two years away due to the pandemic, we've been thinking a lot about how office environments have changed during that time...


Legislative Alert: Convening of the 2nd Regular Session of the 130th Legislature

The Second Regular Session of the 130 th Legislature will convene next Wednesday, January 5 th at 10 a.m. This is intended to be an in-person session of both the House and Senate with...


Legislative Alert: Redistricting Analysis

Below is an analysis of the recently enacted Maine State Senate redistricting and the potential impact this may have in the next election cycle. This comes with the caveat that the feelings of the...


46 Preti Flaherty Attorneys Selected by Peers for Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America 2023, Including 6 “Lawyers of the Year”

Forty-six Preti Flaherty attorneys have been named to Best Lawyers in America 2023, including three “Ones to Watch” and six “Lawyer of the Year” recipients. Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America is considered a...


Legislative Alert: Legislative Racial Impact Statements Coming Soon

In the session that ended in June, the Legislature passed a bill to create a Subcommittee to Implement a Racial Impact Statement Process Pilot .  This is a subcommittee of the Legislative Council and...


Attorney Severin Beliveau Selected by Peers as “Lawyer of the Year” in Best Lawyers in America 2023

Preti Flaherty attorney Severin M. Beliveau has been recognized in Best Lawyers in America 2023 as the “Lawyer of the Year” in the field of Government Relations Practice. Inclusion in Best Lawyers in America is...