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Stores to begin limiting number of shoppers in an effort to limit spread of Covid 19

(WAGM)
Published: Mar. 31, 2020 at 11:26 PM EDT
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Beginning Thursday, shopping for essentials may require a bit more planning.

Governor Janet Mills’ Executive Order, announced March 31st and taking effect April 2nd, restricts the number of people allowed at essential businesses at any one time, mandates that they conduct as much business as possible by curbside order and pick-up or delivery, to limit in-person contact, and enforce physical distancing in and around their facilities by prominently posting signs at public entrances and on the floor to notify customers to stay six-feet apart. It also requires that store staff disinfect the handles of every cart and basket between uses, minimize customer handling of unpurchased merchandise and offer separate operating hours for Maine people over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions.

Under the Executive order, essential stores with retail spaces of:

- Less than 7,500 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 5. Examples of such stores include gas stations and convenience and specialty food stores.

- More than 7,500 and less than 25,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 15. Examples of such stores include stand-alone pharmacies and certain hardware stores.

- More than 25,000 and less than 50,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 50. Examples of such stores include mid-sized and locally owned grocery stores.

- More than 50,000 and less than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 75. Examples of such stores include chain grocery stores.

- More than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 100 and install protective shields between customers and checkout clerks as soon as practicable. Examples of such stores include Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot.

Presque Isle's Tax Assessor, Lewis Cousins, shared on social media A list of stores, their square footage, and the number of shoppers that will be allowed access to the store at the same time:

- Wal-Mart, 183,000 square feet, 100 shoppers;

- Lowes, 124,000 square feet, 100 shoppers;

- Shop-n-Save, 40,985 square feet, 50 shoppers;

- Save-A-Lot, 15,800 square feet, 15 shoppers;

- Walgreens, 11,229 square feet, 15 shoppers;

- Steaks-n-Stuff, 9,800 square feet, 15 shoppers;

- Star City IGA, 6,740 square feet, 5 shoppers.

Retailers must enforce these limits and a six-foot separation between any customers waiting in lines. Any essential business which violates this Order will be subject to further on-site restrictions or closure until those violations are addressed. These new requirements adjust and mandate prior recommendations from the Governor regarding essential businesses and operations.

Shoppers who violate the mandate are subject to legal action, including a fine.