Gov. Janet Mills announces stay at home order, gives gun shops “essential” designation

Governor Janet Mills. Photo courtesy Office of Governor Janet Mills.

AUGUSTA – Governor Janet Mills this afternoon announced a new stay-at-home order effective from 12:01 AM on April 2 through April 30. The order includes a sweeping set of new mandates designed to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus across Maine.

As of this morning, Maine had over 300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with the heaviest concentration in Cumberland and York County. Maine has recorded five deaths due to COVID-19 infections to date.

Along with the stay at home order, which Mills labeled a “Stay Healthy at Home Mandate” she also quietly designated Maine’s gun shops as “essential” businesses in an updated document provided on her website.

The gun shop issue became a flashpoint against the backdrop of Mills’ otherwise widely accepted actions as she attempts to flatten the curve of COVID-19 infections. The issue erupted when officials in the Mills’ administration forced the closure of Kittery Trading Post last week and then told the media that shops that sold “only guns” were not considered essential because they were “sporting goods.”

In announcing her new order, Mills framed her new actions as focused on saving lives.

“We are in the midst of one of the greatest public health crises this world has seen in more than a century. This virus will continue to sicken people across our state; our cases will only grow, and more people will die. I say this to be direct, to be as honest with you as I can. Because saving lives will depend on us,” said Governor Mills in a written statement.

“I implore you – look to yourself, your family, your friends, your loved ones, your neighbors on the front lines, first responders and health care workers fighting the virus, those who can’t stay home; the children who live around the corner, the farmer who grows your food, the grocer and the pharmacist who sell you goods, the teachers who are missing their kids; the fisherman, the sailor, the truck driver, the janitor, the waitress at your favorite diner; these are the people you are protecting by staying home. This is who you are saving.”

Mainers will still be allowed to travel to get groceries or visit an essential business, care for family, get medicine and other activities deemed essential.

Travel in automobiles will be restricted to only family members from the same household.

Public transportation is also prohibited under the order and the order maintains a prohibition of classroom or personal instruction through at least May 1.

New mandates are imposed on essential retail locations of varying sizes that limit the number of individuals allowed in the store at any given time. New requirements are put in effect on individuals maintaining at least 6 feet of space between themselves and others.

Violations of the order will carry a fine of up to $1,000 and six months in jail. It will be enforced as needed by law enforcement.

You are urged to read the full details of Governor Janet Mills’ Stay Healthy at Home Mandate by clicking here.

To view the updated list of essential businesses provided by Governor Janet Mills, click here.

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