Two shoppers walk down Front Street in Bath while wearing masks on Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2022. The city council will review the indoor mask mandate and decided whether to maintain, repeal, or alter the rule on Feb. 16. Kathleen O’Brien / The Times Record

Bath City Council will decide whether to continue, repeal or alter the city’s indoor mask mandate Wednesday.

The mandate, which went into effect Jan. 24, requires everyone age 2 and older to wear a face-covering in public spaces such as stores, public transportation and restaurants, except when eating and drinking in an “isolated location such as a table or booth” away from others, regardless of vaccination status.

The mandate is 60 days by law, but councilors agreed to review the rule and the state of the pandemic after 30 days. At that point, the council has the power to cut the mandate short, according to City Manager Marc Meyers.

Bath had followed the lead of Portland and Brunswick, both of which only had a 30-day mask mandate. Portland rescinded its mandate at the 30-day deadline last week, the Portland Press Herald reported. Brunswick councilors, however, tabled their decision until Feb. 22.

Failure to abide by Bath’s mandate can result in a $50 fine. Police Chief Andrew Booth could only remember one call for police presence because a customer was disobeying the mandate in the last month. By the time police arrived, however, the customer was gone, Booth said.

“We know not everyone is wearing a mask inside public buildings but there haven’t been any big confrontations reported to us,” said Booth. “It’s mainly an individual’s responsibility, rather than the business, for complying. Anecdotally, we’re probably seeing 85% cooperation with the ordinance.”


Council Chairperson Aaron Park said he isn’t sure how the council’s conversation on Wednesday will go, but warned COVID-19 is still spreading.

“Just having emerged from having COVID-19, clearly people are still getting sick, and we want to protect our vulnerable ones,” said Park. “In general, masking is a good way to try to protect those vulnerable.”

Park added: “As divisive as it is, the intent is to try to weather this pandemic as best as possible. We’re just doing the best we can with the information we have. We’re trying to keep moving forward while doing our best to take care of ourselves and others.”

Councilperson Phyllis Bailey said she’s glad the city enacted the mandate because “if even five cases of COVID-19, it was worth it.”

“I’m very heartened by the way the pandemic is going, the dip in omicron, and the reduction in COVID-19 patients at Mid Coast Hospital,” said Bailey. “(The mask mandate) has served the purpose we hoped.”

As of Monday, Mid Coast Hospital was treating only four patients for COVID-19, according to hospital spokesperson Alex Seise. Of those four patients, three were in the ICU and one was on a ventilator.


In comparison, the Brunswick hospital was treating 22 COVID-19 patients in early January during the peak of the omicron surge, said Seise.

The hospital also continues to recommend people follow U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.

“The U.S. CDC recommends indoor masking whenever incidence is in the High or Substantial transmission categories,” Seise said. “Across all counties in the state of Maine on Feb. 14, the U.S. CDC identified community transmission levels of COVID-19 as High.”

Since March 2020, 1,257 Bath residents have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Maine CDC. Bath in 2019 had a population of 8,319, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Within Sagadahoc County, 3,906 residents have tested positive and 25 have died as of Monday, state data reports.

Statewide, 187,697 Mainers have tested positive since the start of the pandemic and 1,828 have died, according to the Maine CDC.

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