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Portland Extends Stay-At-Home Order Through April 27

Troy R. Bennett
Bangor Daily News
A lighted sign warns citizens that city hall is closed in Portland on Monday night.

The Portland City Council voted unanimously Monday night to extend the city’s stay-at-home order until April 27.The vote extends a five-day emergency shutdown order issued March 24, says city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin in a statement.

In an amendment to the order, the city requests that property owners rescind or suspend all evictions for those unable to pay their rent due to the COVID-19 pandemic, beginning March 1 until 30 days after the emergency order expires.

Another amendment councilors approved bans short-term rentals in the city during the shutdown. Councilor Kimberly Cook introduced the amendment after learning that a Maine-based company was advertising short-term rentals as an option for out-of-towners to shelter in place.

"I was surprised, I was shocked, and I thought this is something that obviously we need to address as part of our order," Cook says.

Cook says short-term rentals will continue to be permitted for medical professionals coming to the city to aid with the outbreak, for people experiencing homelessness, and for Portland residents self-isolating from their own households.

Portland's order extending the shutdown maintains emergency procedures requiring people to stay at home for other than essential activities, such as buying food. Those who fail to do so face a $500 fine and any court costs.

Also extended is the order for all of the city’s non-essential businesses to close, both to workers and the public, and a ban on eating and drinking in restaurants and bars. Take-out food is still allowed.

The order also continues recommendations the Mills administration issued earlier this month restricting gatherings of 10 or more people, and recommending that when conducting essential business, people stay at least 6 feet apart from each other.

Houses of worship will be allowed to conduct services, but only within Mills’ gathering guidelines, city officials say. And people will be allowed to get outdoors to exercise and walk their dogs but should strive to stay at least 6 feet away from each other.

The order could be extended further, officials say.

This story was updated March 31, 2020 at 9:40 a.m. ET.