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Originally published in Castine Patriot, March 18, 2021 and Island Ad-Vantages, March 18, 2021 and The Weekly Packet, March 18, 2021
Guide to Maine’s COVID-19 rules for spring and summer
Gov. Mills eases restrictions

COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020
Click here to see the full COVID-19 Local Updates Fall/Winter 2020.

by Leslie Landrigan

As more Mainers are getting vaccinated against COVID-19, Gov. Janet Mills is easing restrictions on gathering and travel in order to help the state’s tourism businesses.

Mills on March 5 announced a change in Maine’s travel rules immediately. She also announced further changes to take place in gathering and travel rules on March 26, May 1 and May 23.

She cautioned that the state can tighten the restrictions if a new strain of COVID-19 threatens public health or if hospitals start getting too full.

Following is a guide to the scheduled changes in travel and gathering rules. Face coverings and social distancing will still be required in public places, even for people who’ve been fully vaccinated.

Effective March 5

Until March 5, only travelers from Vermont and New Hampshire could come to Maine without isolating or showing they had a negative test. Mills then added Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut to that list on March 5.

Now, those who have recently had COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated are exempt from the test or quarantine requirement. But travelers from states outside of New England must still receive a negative molecular or antigen test result for COVID-19 within 72 hours of their arrival in Maine. Otherwise they must quarantine for 10 days without going to public places, including the grocery store.

Travelers from outside New England must present a signed certificate of compliance when checking in at any Maine lodging, campground, seasonal rental, overnight camp or Airbnb. They may be asked to provide proof of a negative test.

Mills did not indicate if or when she intends to lift the cap on outdoor gatherings, now at 100 people. One exception does remain, however: Outdoor venues that can partition people into groups of 50, with 14 feet of separation between groups, may do so with up to four groups.

The federal government’s international travel restrictions are still in effect.

On March 26

The limit on indoor gatherings is lifted to 50 percent of permitted occupancy or 50 people, whichever is greater. People must still wear masks and try to stay six feet away from others.

In-store customer limits go to five people per 1,000 square feet or 50 people, whichever is greater.

Outdoor events subject to occupancy limit are allowed 75 percent of permitted occupancy.

Bars and tasting rooms are permitted to open if they comply with the state’s Seated Food and Drink COVID-19 Checklist.

On May 1

People may freely travel to and from all U.S. states, unless Maine’s Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) decides a state has a spike in an extremely contagious COVID-19 variant. If CDC announces a state is high risk, people from that state must quarantine or have a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of their arrival in Maine.

On May 23

Gathering limits are further eased:

Indoor gatherings: 75 percent of permitted occupancy or 50 people, whichever is greater;

In-store customer limits: five people per 1,000 square feet or 50 people, whichever is greater;

Outdoor event subject to occupancy limit: 100 percent. However, a distance of at least 6 feet between people and household groups must be maintained.

For more information: maine.gov/decd/checklists/large-social-gatherings.