The City of Portland is canceling all events for 30 days at Merrill Auditorium, the Portland Expo and Ocean Gateway due to concerns about the new coronavirus. Officials say they'll discuss how the city is preparing for any cases of COVID-19 at a 2:00 p.m. news conference Friday at Portland City Hall.
In a press release, city officials say the move to cancel performances is part of the social distancing strategy Maine health officials are recommending to help slow any spread of COVID-19.
"I’d like to stress that we’re cancelling events out of extreme caution, in line with best public health practices and Governor Mills’ recommendation, and not because we want to instill fear in our citizens,” City Manager Jon Jennings says in the release. “Social distancing is one way in which we can help slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus, and that is our ultimate goal.”
Gov. Mills announced Thursday that Maine had its first presumptive positive test for the new coronavirus, with COVID-19 turning up in an Androscoggin County woman in her 50s. Two more presumptive positive cases were announced Friday morning. Mills recommended Thursday that gatherings of more than 250 people be postponed.
Portland officials are advising anyone with tickets to upcoming shows and performances to call PortTix at 207-842-0800 or visit porttix.com.
Officials say the city could take further measures as Maine's coronavirus situation continues to evolve.