After caught in pic without mask, Janet Mills rolls out new mask mandate, snitch page

AUGUSTA – Less than two weeks after being caught in a controversial photo where she was violating her own social distancing dictates, Governor Janet Mills announced she is rolling out a new, stricter mask mandate. The Mills administration has also launched on online reporting portal encouraging individuals to report businesses and others not complying with her byzantine COVID-19 executive orders.

The photo of Mills without a mask at a Stonington ice cream shop went viral after being posted as a promotional photo on the Facebook page of the shop. While some Mills supporters quickly tried to push back by claiming the photo was taken last summer, a social distancing sign in the background of the photo and several other factors led to the Bangor Daily News confirming the photo was taken on June 17, during a trip to the region Governor Mills took with her Chief of Staff and a couple members of the Maine Legislature.

An article in Island Ad-vantages confirms the trip, complete with a photo of Mills in the same attire, but wearing a mask.

An executive order signed by Mills in late April mandates Maine people wear a mask in situations such as Mills found herself in Stonington.

That order, signed by Mills, says masks are required in the specific setting she was in for the photo, clearly stating masks are required in “outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for take-out service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area.”

Yesterday, Mills issued a statement saying she will soon issue a new executive order that requires strict enforcement of the face mask mandate she previously violated.

“Governor Mills will issue an Executive Order requiring Maine’s large retail stores, lodging establishments, restaurants, and outdoor bars and tasting rooms in the coastal counties of Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland, and York, and in the more populous cities of Bangor and Brewer and Lewiston and Auburn, to enforce the State’s face covering requirement,” said a statement from the Governor’s office.

Stonington, where Mills was photographed violating her mask order, is in Hancock County, one of the counties she will soon implement a stricter mask mandate in.

On top of announcing the impending mask mandate, the Mills administration launched what some are calling a “snitch” reporting form on the Maine DECD website.

The form, hosted by the Maine DECD, allows people to report not only businesses, but also individuals believed to be violating Governor Mills’ orders. According to a search using an inurl operator, that page appears to have been created on June 18, the day after Mills posed in the mask-less photo in Stonington.

The form specifically allows for reporting against individual Mainers of the two violations Mills could easily be accused of with “Not wearing cloth face covering” and “Violating social distancing” boxes that can be checked. An individual filing a report against another individual or business can do so anonymously.

Reports have been growing around Maine that some businesses have been targeted with flurries of complaints targeting business license. The Maine DECD non-compliance page says complaints will be handled “mainly through education and voluntary compliance,” but many Mainers on social media find the thought of the government encouraging Mainers to “inform” on one another unsettling or outright wrong.

The Maine DECD page, however, says it is a “civic duty and responsibility for each citizen and business of the state of Maine.”

Along with previewing her new mask mandate, Governor Mills also announced she was lifting restrictions on individuals traveling to Maine from Connecticut, New York and New Jersey. Individuals from those states will now be treated as travelers from New Hampshire and Vermont.

Individuals from Massachusetts will remain under previous, tighter restrictions.

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