HARPSWELL — Cook’s Lobster and Ale House, a popular restaurant on Bailey Island in Harpswell, announced Friday it would be closed until Wednesday after a staff member tested positive for COVID-19.

“The staff member worked for only a few hours and had no contact with the public and with limited staff,” the restaurant wrote in a Facebook post. “During this down time, all our staff will be tested and a deep clean of our space will take place.”

The restaurant’s food truck at Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick will remain open, as staff members who operate it haven’t come in contact with the staff member who tested positive.

“Rest assured, we have taken all necessary steps, have been in contact and working with the (Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention), to make sure everyone on site is safe and our environment is safe for you all to come back soon,” the post stated. “We have worked tirelessly to follow all CDC guidelines while serving thousands of people this season. We are proud of our team, our success this season and this certainly does not change that.”

Cook’s Lobster and Ale House isn’t the first restaurant to close temporarily due to a positive COVID-19 case.

The Taste of Maine, a well-known seafood restaurant in nearby Woolwich, closed for two weeks in early August after learning that someone who tested positive for COVID-19 had been at the restaurant. The restaurant did not specify whether that person was a staff member or a patron.


A handful of other restaurants in Maine have temporarily closed after positive cases were detected, including: Moe’s Original BBQ in South Portland, Salvage BBQ and Smokehouse in Portland, Eventide Oyster Co. and The Honey Paw in Portland, and Corsetti’s, a pizza and sandwich shop in Westbrook.

All Maine restaurants were closed for indoor dining this spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic but were allowed to open with added safety measures in June. Per Gov. Janet Mills’ reopening plan, restaurants are now allowed to serve patrons indoors to 50 percent capacity, or 100 people, whichever is lower. Bars, however, are not allowed to welcome patrons until Nov. 2.

Harpswell has seen between one and five COVID-19 cases as of Friday, according to the Maine CDC. Despite the town’s low case count, Cumberland County has seen the highest number of COVID-19 cases, with 2,445 total. Of those, 2,189 people have recovered and 70 have died.

Despite this, the Maine CDC reports the county has held a 0.2 percent positive test rate over the past two weeks, among the lowest in the state, with 25 people testing positive out of the 11,902 tests administered.

Neighboring Sagadahoc county has held a 0.3 percent positive case, with three people testing positive for COVID-19 out of the 1,047 tests administered. Since March, 79 people in Sagadahoc County have tested positive for COVID-19 and 67 have recovered.

Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick isn’t treating any patients for COVID-19 and hasn’t since Sept. 13, according to Randee Reynolds, Mid Coast­-Parkview Health Vice President of Community Health, reflecting the area’s low number of cases. The hospital has treated 21 patients for COVID-19 since mid-March.


Mid Coast Hospital has tested 2,492 patients for COVID-19 so far this month, with 14 positive results, according to Reynolds. Since the onset of the pandemic, Mid Coast Hospital has tested 7,488 patients for COVID-19, with 89 positive results.

Meanwhile, Waldo County has seen a spike in cases, with a 1.3 percent positive test rate, according to the Maine CDC, which is connected to an outbreak at a local church.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine CDC, said at a Thursday news briefing that the outbreak related to Brooks Pentecostal Church in Waldo County has increased from 46 cases to 49, the Portland Press Herald reported.

The state has seen 6,095 confirmed and probable cases since the pandemic arrived in March. Of those, 5,307 people have recovered and 146 have died, according to the Maine CDC.

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