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Gov. Mills says many Mainers can now go outside without a mask

The Mills Administration announced Tuesday the change that is effectively immediately.
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Published: Apr. 27, 2021 at 1:50 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Maine (WABI) - Maine’s outdoor mask mandate is no more.

The Mills Administration announced Tuesday the change that is effectively immediately.

The state is updating its public health guidance to remove the requirement for people to wear face coverings in outdoor settings.

This comes on the day the US CDC recommended that anyone who is has been fully vaccinated need not wear a mask outside.

Maine is applying it to all people citing the state’s handling of the coronavirus to date and rising vaccination totals.

With all this in mind, state officials still ask people to be smart.

“When you are outside in public settings, you are not required to wear a mask,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “We do recommend though if you’re within six feet of other people, if you are in a crowded area, if you’re at a concert, common sense should apply.”

“We are asking folks to be sensible. Maine people have been sensible throughout the pandemic,” said Maine CDC Director Nirav Shah. “That doesn’t change today. If you’re walking down the street and there’s no one around you, there’s no reason to wear a mask. We are safer now than we were a year ago. If you happen to bump into a group of folks and you are chatting with them, throwing on a mask is easy to do. It is the respectful thing to do, too.”

Another change effective Saturday - all states will be exempt from Maine’s COVID-19 travel requirements.

The state is changing its policy to automatically exempt all states from testing and quarantine requirements.

This follows the planned changes Governor Mills announced at the beginning of March.

Here’s the full statement:

Governor Janet Mills announced today that Maine is updating its public health guidance to remove the requirement that people wear face coverings in outdoor settings.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) recommends that people wear face coverings in outdoor settings where it is difficult to maintain physical distancing. Face coverings are still required for indoor public settings, and there are no changes to Maine’s physical distancing requirements at this time. The change follows updated guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including the use of face coverings in outdoor settings.

“We are updating Maine’s public health guidance to reflect the U.S. CDC’s latest recommendations that indicate the risk of transmitting COVID-19 while outdoors is low, especially as more people get vaccinated,” said Governor Janet Mills. “With the summer months nearly upon us, this offers a great opportunity for people to get outside and safely enjoy all that Maine has to offer. I applaud all the work Maine people have put in to protect themselves and others and continue to encourage them to get vaccinated and wear a mask when inside or when around others so that we can get this pandemic fully behind us.”

“Scientific studies continue to show that outdoor activities are much safer than indoor ones,” said Maine CDC Director Nirav D. Shah. “As more Maine people become vaccinated against COVID-19, outdoor activities become that much safer.”

The change is effective immediately and relevant guidance documents will be updated in the coming days.

Despite having the oldest median age population in the country, Maine, adjusted for population, ranks fourth lowest among states in both the total number of COVID-19 cases and number of deaths from COVID-19, according to the U.S. CDC.

Maine has administered more than 1 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine and is currently second in the nation in the percent of its population that is fully vaccinated, according to the Bloomberg tracker.

Additionally, according to Moody’s Analytics and CNN Business’s “Back to Normal Index”, Maine is best in New England in returning to pre-pandemic economic activity.

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