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Maine begins first reopening phase, requires use of masks

Bicyclists wore masks while riding in Portland, Maine.
Bicyclists wore masks while riding in Portland, Maine.Robert F. Bukaty/Associated Press

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — The first phase of the reopening of Maine's economy starts on Friday with residents able to return to businesses such as hair salons, car dealerships and car washes.

Democratic Gov. Janet Mills has announced a phased-in reopening of Maine, which has had more than 1,000 cases of coronavirus, a far fewer total than hard-hit southern New England states. Maine residents are now required to wear cloth face coverings in public spaces where physical distancing is difficult to maintain.

The state remains under a stay-at-home order until May 31, but residents are now able to engage in activities deemed safe by the state. Those activities also include restricted use of golf courses and stay-in-your-vehicle religious services.

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The first phase of reopening continues a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people and the quarantining of all people entering or returning to Maine for 14 days. A second, broader phase of reopening is scheduled for June 1, and another is tentatively set for July 1. The final phase of reopening, which could lift all restrictions, has not yet been assigned a date.

Mills’s office has sad the gradual reopening is justified because the state appears to be succeeding in “flattening the curve.”