March 24, 2020 Article

Legislative Alert: Governor Mills' Emergency Order Regarding Essential Businesses and Operations

This communication is intended to alert you to ongoing developments in Maine at the state and local level concerning mandatory business closures and curtailments in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
This afternoon, Governor Mills issued a statewide Executive Order, effective after midnight tonight (beginning on March 25th), requiring all non-essential businesses to cease activities at sites that are public facing or which require more than 10 workers to convene in space where social distancing is not possible, and requiring all “Essential Businesses and Operations” to continue their activities consistent with guidance on social distancing.

The Order defines Essential Businesses and Operations by reference to federal Department of Homeland Security guidance, as well as through a list of categories of businesses and service providers. It provides that while these essential services must stay open, they must to the maximum extent practicable have their employees work remotely and otherwise comply with six-foot social distancing for both employees and members of the public at all times (for example, when customers are standing in line). Should you have a client in a business not listed as Essential in this Order, you can file an appeal to request that a business be classified as essential.

The Order also provides a non-exhaustive list of Non-Essential Businesses, which must cease activities at sites that are public facing and thereby allow customer, vendor or other in-person contact, or at sites that require more than 10 workers to convene in space where social distancing is not possible. Non-Essential Businesses and Operations may continue those activities that do not allow customer, vendor or other in-person contact; do not require more than 10 workers to convene in space where social distancing is not possible; and are facilitated to the maximum extent practicable by employees working remotely.

The Order requires businesses covered by the Order, whether essential or non-essential, but “especially ‘big box’ stores that attract more people”, to make “all best efforts” to implement and actively enforce social distancing requirements in and around their facilities.

Governor Mills’ executive order will remain in effect until April 8th at 12 am, unless amended, rescinded or renewed. Please note that the Governor’s Executive Order does not supersede recent local orders implemented by Bangor, Brunswick, and Portland.  These orders may be more restrictive so it is important to be aware of those restrictions for clients doing business in those municipalities.

Firm Highlights


Maine Legislative Alert: Reopening and Other Updates

The Legislative Practice Group at Preti Flaherty hopes you are all staying healthy, safe, and sane. We are continuing to interface with Governor Mills, her staff, and relevant of members of her administration on...


Legislative Alert: State and Federal Resources RE: COVID-19 Response

SBA Disaster Loans Information On March 16, 2020, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) approved Governor Mills’ application for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help Maine businesses overcome any temporary financial hardship due...


Essential Business? Essential Activity? Clarification Here.

Effective at 12:01 a.m. on April 2nd, the Governor has ordered a statewide “stay at home” order further restricting Maine resident’s movement. Governor’s Executive Order No. 28 FY 19/20 dated March 31, 2020 (“Stay...


Legislative Alert: 129th Second Session Adjournment Update

“This week has been the longest year.” If you were to ask someone two weeks ago when this year’s Legislature would be wrapping up its session, most would have replied that they were right...


Legislative Alert: Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee Meeting Report

The Maine State Legislature’s Appropriations and Financial Affairs Committee met on Friday, June 5 th to continue to discuss the impacts of COVID-19 on Maine’s economy. The agenda included childcare issues, a report from...


Legislative Alert: State Grants Request for "Essential Business" Status

Under the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Order issued yesterday (3/24/20), businesses not initially identified as “essential,” and therefore unable to continue operations, have the opportunity to request being re-classified as essential. One of the first...


Legislative Alert: Economic Recovery Grant Program Update

On Thursday, August 20, 2020, Governor Janet Mills announced the launch of the newly established Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program – a state-based approach to help support struggling Maine businesses and nonprofit organizations that...


Legislative Alert: Governor's Emergency Bill - LD 2167

As a part of the Preti Flaherty Legislative Update sent yesterday to our clients, we provided highlights of the Governor’s omnibus emergency legislation related to the outbreak of COVID-19. We felt it was important...


Preti Flaherty COVID-19 Resources

In response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Preti Flaherty's attorneys have maintained a constant stream of the most up-to-date information and resources for our clients, business partners, and others struggling to navigate these complex...


Maine Legislative Alert: Lodging reservations may begin immediately for June 1st stays

Some good news was announced during today’s daily COVID-19 daily briefing regarding Maine’s lodging establishments. Commissioner Heather Johnson announced that, effective immediately, Maine lodging facilities can begin accepting future reservations for stays beginning June...