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Mills Orders Earlier Closing Time For Some Businesses As Maine Adds 1 Death, 215 COVID-19 Cases

Robert F. Bukaty
Associated Press
Workers attach holiday decorations to a utility pole in Dock Square, in advance of the holiday shopping season, Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2020, in Kennebunkport, Maine.

Gov. Janet Mills is limiting the hours for certain businesses in response to the surge of COVID-19 cases in Maine.

Beginning Friday and through Dec. 6th, amusement and performing arts venues, movie theaters, casinos, social clubs, restaurants, bars and tasting rooms must close by 9 p.m.

The goal, according to a news release from Mills’ office, is to keep businesses open but limit extended gatherings at a time when many students and family members are returning to Maine.

Neighboring states, including Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York have enacted similar measures.

Mills says other steps may be necessary if Maine doesn’t get the virus under control.

The change comes as 215 new cases of COVID-19 were added in Maine on Thursday, and one more person died.

That brings the total number of deaths to 171, and total active cases to 2,160. The Maine CDC reports that 88 people are in the hospital, including 35 in intensive care.

The death was in a woman in her 40s from Kennebec County.

Maine’s case, positivity, and hospitalization rates have been on an upward trajectory for weeks. In a news briefing on Wednesday, Mills said the state is facing a critical test as holidays and colder weather approaches. She’s asking Mainers to wear masks, keep distance and limit travel.