The Brunswick Town Council unanimously voted to postpone action on the town’s current indoor mask mandate on Tuesday, opting instead to take up the issue at the Feb. 22 meeting.

The mandate – enacted to help slow the spread of COVID-19 – was approved by the council on Jan. 6 on an emergency basis. It came into effect on Jan. 12 and is set to expire on Feb. 25.

The council on Feb. 22 will vote to either enact the mandate on a regular basis (therefore extending it), allow it to expire or repeal it immediately, according to Town Council Chairperson Jim Mason.

The extra two weeks will give the council more access to COVID-19 data and time to review it, Mason said, such as additional reports expected from the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention on virus levels in Brunswick’s wastewater.

“I believe there is a feeling on the council that if the decline continues at this rate, that the mask mandate won’t be needed, and that we’ll kind of be back to the pre-omicron surge,” said Mason. “I’m not speaking for anybody else, but I do believe that was the sentiment.”

As of Tuesday, Mid Coast Hospital was treating seven inpatients for COVID-19, two of whom were in intensive care. At the time Brunswick’s mask mandate was enacted, Mid Coast Hospital was treating 24 inpatients for the virus.


The decline in local hospitalizations aligns with a statewide trend. On Tuesday, the Portland Press Herald reported that COVID-19 hospitalizations in Maine are now more than 25% lower than the peak of 436 patients in January.

In addition, the Press Herald reported Monday that positive test results submitted to the state have dropped more than 50% over the past three weeks.

In a statement issued Tuesday, Mid Coast Hospital said it recognizes that COVID-19 transmission levels may continue to evolve rapidly, and it recommends communities enact or rescind mask mandates in accordance with the CDC guidelines.

“Mid Coast Hospital continues to support local mandates requiring masking in indoor public spaces when community transmission levels of COVID-19 remain high or substantial,” the statement read. “The US CDC recommends indoor masking whenever incidence is in the high or substantial transmission categories. Across all counties in the State of Maine on Feb. 8, the US CDC identified community transmission levels of COVID-19 as high.”

On Jan. 16, The Times Record reported that some Brunswick businesses were experiencing unruly customers after the mandate came into effect.

According to Brunswick Police Chief Scott Stewart, as of Tuesday, the department has had 32 documented complaints about people not wearing masks, although no citations have been issued.

“People either are gone when we arrive, agree to wear the mask or simply decide the leave on their own,” Stewart wrote in an email.

Other municipalities in Maine that have enacted mask mandates include Freeport, Bath and Portland. On Monday, Portland councilors voted 7-2 to repeal the city’s mask mandate for indoor public spaces.

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