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Maine physicians call on businesses to reimpose mask requirements

Virus Outbreak US Surge
Robert F. Bukaty
AP file
Shoppers comply with the mask regulations to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus at Bridgton Books, Friday, Nov. 13, 2020, in Bridgton, Maine.

The Maine Medical Association is urging businesses to require both employees and customers to wear masks indoors as COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates continue to surge in the state.

In a statement on Wednesday, the organization that represents more than 4,000 physicians in Maine said vaccinations, booster shots and masking are critical tools in the fight against COVID-19. But Maine Medical Association President Dr. Jeff Barkin said there is a danger that Maine could "lose all progress" made during the pandemic if there is a post-holiday surge tied to gatherings.

“It is clear that the vast majority of transmission occurs in private gatherings and the science continues to show that mask wearing can quickly and dramatically slow infection rates — for vaccinated and unvaccinated alike,” Barkin said.

Both the Maine and U.S. CDC recommend that all individuals wear masks in public, indoor settings regardless of their vaccination status because of high rates of transmission in all 16 of the state's counties.