Freeport’s indoor month-old mask mandate for all public spaces will expire after Wednesday.

According to Freeport Town Council Chair Dan Piltch, the council agreed to not consider renewing the mandate after reviewing local COVID-19 transmission and hospitalization data.

“When we looked at the data, specifically around health care utilization – what’s going on in the hospital, emergency rooms – it has subsided quite a bit,” said Piltch in an interview Wednesday. “We decided we didn’t need to continue the mask mandate because the health care system seems to be able to deal with the influx.”

The council initially approved the mandate in a 5-2 vote. It kicked in on an emergency basis on Jan. 19, applying to businesses including restaurants, shopping outlets and grocery stores.

Like other municipalities that enacted similar rules, the mandate stirred controversy among residents and business owners. Speaking for himself, Piltch said he feels the council did the right thing in implementing the mandate.

“For me, when I look at the science and the data, it seemed like it was a prudent thing to do, and if anything, I’d like to air on the side of being too cautious and maybe protecting people,” said Piltch.


In total, Freeport Police Lieutenant Paul Powers said the department received four complaints about the mandate. In all reports, officers were dispatched, and no summons were issued.

During the public comment portion of Tuesday’s council meeting, two Freeport residents spoke against the mandate. Among them was Dominic Petrillo, owner of the Freeport restaurant Petrillo’s, who asked the town to abstain from future medical mandates regarding private businesses.

“I think in the absence of the mandates the privately owned businesses and private residents will be allowed to make their own decisions based on their personal level of comfort,” Petrillo said.

As of Wednesday, Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick was treating six inpatients for COVID-19. Of those, three patients were in intensive care and one was on a ventilator.

The hospital asks that members of the public continue to follow the guidance of the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommends that individuals wear masks in indoor public spaces when community transmission levels of COVID-19 is high or substantial.

The U.S. CDC identified community transmission levels of COVID-19 to be high in all Maine counties as of Feb. 16.


Masks continue to be required inside Freeport’s municipal buildings as of Wednesday.

On Feb. 7, Portland City Councilors voted to rescind a similar indoor mask mandate for all public spaces. The Bath City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday to continue, repeal or alter its indoor mask mandate, as is the Brunswick Town Council at their Feb. 22 meeting.

As of Feb. 6, the Maine CDC estimates that a total of 718 cases of COVID-19 have been detected in Freeport. The town’s population is approximately 8,600.

Statewide, the Maine CDC estimates that 1,858 people have died from COVID-19.

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