Deep Dive Coronavirus

The novel coronavirus is testing our resilience in unprecedented ways, affecting all aspects of Maine life, including public education. Deep Dive: Coronavirus continues with a look at how districts around the state are preparing for the return of in-classroom instruction. We'll explore how teachers plan to keep students safe using altered schedules, outdoor classes, remote learning and other strategies.

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If you or someone you know has something to share about life during the pandemic, write to Maine Public at TellMeMore@mainepublic.org and let us know the best way to reach you.

A editors' selection of stories about the coronavirus appears below. For Maine Public's full coronavirus coverage, click here.

Keith Shortall / Maine Public

Many workers in Maine’s hospitality industry continue to face an uncertain future, even as the state begins to gradually reopen for the summer.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125903393@N06/

Gov. Janet Mills has relaxed restrictions for restaurants in 12 Maine counties starting May 18, and they will be allowed to reopen to diners as long as they follow certain guidelines. In the four other counties, restaurants are still weighing their options.

We find out what owners are planning to do, and whether customers are ready to return. We also discuss some of the creative solutions restaurants have come up with so far to keep afloat, and those who've opted to close their doors altogether.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

The coronavirus pandemic is affecting many people's lives. To minimize those effects, Congress has appropriated trillions of dollars of spending to aid Americans. That money is going to have to be borrowed by a government already running huge deficits. How will that be possible? And what will it mean for the country in the long term? 

School buildings in Maine are closed through at the least the end of the academic year, classes have moved online and families are trying to teach their kids at home — with mixed results. What happens over the summer and even into next fall is also still in question.

State and local governments have been front and center in the U.S. as we face the coronavirus pandemic. That is especially true because of inconsistent messaging from the Trump administration, and the fact that the federal government has not met states' needs for testing and medical equipment. So how has Maine responded since our first case of COVID-19, which was nearly two months ago?

Robert F. Bukaty / AP

Maine Gov. Janet Mills on Thursday announced a new partnership with a subsidiary of IDEXX Laboratories of Westbrook that could triple the state’s testing capacity for Covid-19. 

Fred Bever / Maine Public

Memorial Day, the traditional start to the summer tourist season, is less than a month away, and pressure is mounting to get Vacationland back in business. The state is taking a cautious approach to reopening during the ongoing pandemic, and the tourism industry is responding with outrage and optimism.

The coronavirus has changed all of our lives, and this month Maine Public is looking at some of the big emerging issues here, including the state’s public health response to the virus, its impact on the economy and education during social distancing.

For more than a month, Maine has confronted the coronavirus, which is affecting all Maine people. Mainers living through this coronavirus economic slowdown are getting a glimpse of what happened in the Great Depression. Unemployment is soaring. Many are having trouble paying bills. Food pantries are seeing spikes in visits.

Courtesy Beth Weisberger /

Not all businesses have suffered during the pandemic — some in Maine are booming.

Gneiss Spice in Bethel – Gneiss as in the bedrock common in parts of Maine — sells spice jars and spice refills online, and is doing pretty well.

Beth Weisberger, the company’s owner, told Maine Public that feelings of success, at a time when others are hurting, is complicated.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

Justin Kase Conder / AP Images for Aspen Dental

Dentists in Maine say they still don’t know when they can reopen under Gov. Janet Mills’ plan announced last week.

David J. Phillip / AP Photo

As the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Maine and other states appears to plateau, scientists and public health experts are looking for ways to track people who may have had it and recovered. One way is with antibody tests, which are used to determine infections and, potentially, who may have immunity to the disease. But the antibody tests now being offered in Maine and elsewhere are far from conclusive.

Jennifer Mitchell / Maine Public File

It was supposed to be a great year for Maine potatoes. Last year's harvest was strong, and this year should have seen about 3,000 new acres brought into production, but the sudden arrival of COVID-19 has changed all that.

Rich Pedroncelli / AP Images

The first wave of Maine business reopenings starts Friday, under the phased guidance measures Gov. Janet Mills started to issue this week. Some companies, particularly where social distancing is relatively easy, are raring to go. But professionals who work in closer quarters with customers are wary.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Maine Gov. Janet Mills Tuesday released her plan to restart the state economy. But there are still a lot of questions about how it might work and how it affects businesses. We've brought in Maine Public's chief political correspondent Steve Mistler to help explain what we know so far and, hopefully, clear up some confusion.

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