Q: What am I allowed to leave my home to do?

A: Leaving your home to get the essentials, including food and medicine, or to seek emergency medical help is still allowed, both statewide and in the city of Portland.  You can also leave your home for car repairs or to deliver supplies to another person or family member who may be unable to travel. Limiting your trips and designating one household member to do any outside-the-home shopping is recommended, as is using curbside pickup services when they are available.

Q: I think my business provides an essential service and should be allowed to stay open. How do I know if my business is “essential?”

A: If your business is involved in the following types of activities, you can keep operating: food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair and hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and health care, child care, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and animal feed and supply stores, shipping stores, public transportation, hotel and commercial lodging, and the news media.

Q: My business doesn’t involve any of the above activities but I still believe it is essential, so what can I do?

A: You can apply to the state for a designation as essential by filling out an online application here.

Q: What happens if I’m found in violation of the state or city orders?

A: The city of Portland can fine you up to $500 for each violation and recover their legal costs for prosecution. The governor’s order says a business violation will be treated as a violation of any state permits or licenses your business holds, and “pertinent penalties” may be assessed.

Q: Can I take my family for an outing at a state park or on other state public lands?

A: Yes, visits to state parks are still allowed but travel only with members of your own household and limit groups to less than 10 people. The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry also recommends traveling only to a nearby park and only for short outings, keeping your distance from others and avoiding park bathroom facilities, which may not be available. See the full list of park visit recommendations here.

Q: Can I get food from my favorite restaurant?

A: Yes, but only if it is providing delivery or takeout service. You cannot dine in at any bar or restaurant in Maine.

Q: Am I required to wear a face mask, or make my children wear face masks to protect them from contracting the virus?

A: No. If you or your children are healthy, you do not need to wear face masks. Only people who are experiencing an illness or who are caring for others who are ill should wear face masks.

Q: If I live in Portland, can I go outside and have a cookout on my patio or porch with friends?

A: No. But you can go outside with your immediate household members, provided you stay at your own home and keep a minimum 6 feet of space between you and others.

Q: Can I walk my dog?

A: Yes. Walking your dog and walking outside for exercise is permitted but congregating in public places is not. You may also use all means of transportation, including walking, biking or riding the bus, to access COVID-19 related essential services, like food and medicine.

Q: Can I take my laundry to the laundromat or dry cleaner?

A: Yes. Laundromats and dry cleaners are deemed essential services but customers need to maintain 6 feet of space while procuring those services.

Q: What’s the difference between Gov. Janet Mills’ order and the city of Portland’s order?

A: They are similar and both are intended to reduce contact between people in Maine workplaces. Portland’s order, which takes effect at 5 p.m. Wednesday, appears to affect a wider array of businesses. The statewide order allows businesses that do not rely on public interaction to continue operating under conditions that ensure workers can stay at least 6 feet from each other. Portland is calling for nonessential businesses to shut down workspaces and operate only if they can do so remotely, although it also allows exceptions for some completing critical executive functions  such as payroll.

Q: How long do we have to abide by these rules?

A: The city of Portland’s order is in effect for five days, starting at 5 p.m. Wednesday, unless it is renewed by the Portland City Council. The state’s order is in effect until April 8 at 12 a.m., unless it is extended by the governor.

 

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