Frequently Asked Questions
May 13, 2021
Q. If President Biden says all adults that want a vaccine will have access to one by the end of May, why do we still have restrictions throughout the summer?
While we are excited about the President’s announcement of accelerated vaccine availability, at this time, we do not know when it will arrive in Maine. We don’t know how quickly Maine residents will be vaccinated. And there is not an approved vaccine for children at this time – and may not be one until the end of the summer. As with all of the guidelines, we continue to monitor the situation and will make appropriate changes.
Q. Are there clear metrics that we can use to have a warning on changes you would make?
A. Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) use both qualitative and quantitative measures to determine risk and impact. Because of Maine’s low population, our numbers can fluctuate considerably in a given week. This also enables Maine to better understand the nature of outbreaks and variants to narrowly target the State’s response.
Q. Are distancing and face coverings still required under the new capacity limits?
Yes. Physical distancing and face-covering requirements will remain in effect, per guidance in the COVID-19 Prevention Checklists.
Q. With the continued requirement for six-foot distancing, won’t some businesses still not have enough capacity to get to 100% capacity?
Yes. Moving Maine Forward is about easing upper limits on capacity in tandem with maintaining minimum public health protocols. Social distancing will remain a key part of Maine’s protocols in order to keep people safe until the end of the pandemic.
Q. Does this face covering requirement apply in restaurants?
Yes. To reduce the risk of COVID-19 to other patrons and restaurant employees, patrons are required to wear face coverings whenever they are not seated at the table or eating or drinking.
Q. What are the gathering limits?
- Now: The capacity limit for indoor gatherings is 50 percent, and outdoor gatherings is 75 percent.
- Effective May 24: All capacity limits for indoor gatherings and outdoor gatherings are lifted.
Physical distancing requirements for outdoor settings are eliminated.
Physical distancing requirements for indoor settings are also eliminated, except in settings where people congregate for eating, drinking and therefore must remove face coverings. Example are indoor restaurants, bars, school cafeterias, break rooms, etc.
Face-covering requirements remain in effect, per COVID-19 Prevention Checklists.
Note: Businesses with more capacity under the current limits -- 50 people for indoor gatherings, 100 people for outdoor gatherings, or 5 people per 1,000 square feet -- are permitted to maintain that standard until May 24.
Q. Will these capacity limits change?
Maine has issued a plan for the spring and summer to offer businesses, communities, and individuals an ability to make plans. This is possible due to evidence on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccines as well as the increasing pace of vaccination. It is not our intent to change the capacity limits or other policies. However, should Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) determines hospital capacity is at risk or if a new variant strain poses a significant risk to public health in Maine, capacity limits may be lowered.
Q. What if this change decreases my capacity?
Those businesses that have more capacity under the current policy (50 people for indoor gatherings; 100 people for outdoor gatherings; or 5 people per 1,000 square feet) are permitted to maintain that standard until May 24.
Q. Where do I find my checklists?
Find your checklist and detailed information on what you will need to do in order to safely re-open your business.
Q. What are Maine’s policies for visitors traveling from out-of-state or Maine residents travelling to other states? (Updated 03/5/21)
Maine’s COVID-19 travel policy automatically exempts all states.
If one or more states see a spike in cases of highly contagious COVID-19 variants, Maine will apply its test or quarantine requirement to travelers to and from that state.
Federal requirements related to international travel remain in effect.
For more, please visit these FAQs for Travel and Visitors.
Q. What are Maine’s policies for international travelers coming to Maine?
In line with U.S. CDC guidelines, all people who arrive in Maine within 7 days of entering the U.S. must quarantine for 7 days from arrival in the U.S. AND get a COVID-19 molecular or antigen test 3-5 days after arrival in the U.S. Even if the COVID-19 test is negative, individuals must complete the 7-day quarantine after travel. If the test is positive,individuals must isolate (PDF). Individuals arriving from international travel who do not get a COVID-19 test should quarantine for 10 days after arrival in the U.S. Individuals who arrive in Maine more than 7 days after arrival in the U.S. should follow guidelines for domestic travelers arriving in Maine from non-exempt states.
Q. Is there an application process for an exemption? Is there an office or person who can grant an exemption?
No. The Governor’s executive order does not create a process for individuals to seek and receive an exemption to this policy.
Q. What happens if a person does not follow the test or quarantine policy?
The requirement for travelers in certain circumstances to quarantine or receive a negative test result for COVID-19 is in Executive Order 57 FY 19/20 (PDF). Pursuant to 37-B M.R.S. §786(1), an individual who fails to comply with an order by law enforcement to comply with an Executive Order may be charged with a Class E crime that includes punishment of up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, and the payment of civil damages to the State for its costs associated with testing, investigating, contact tracing, and otherwise determining the extent of COVID-19 transmission.
Q. Where can I find guidance on buying or selling a home?
Please refer to these guidelines (PDF).
Q. Is everyone required to wear a face covering?
All individuals must wear masks in indoor settings. Masks are not required outside.
Q. If we are operating our restaurants in tents outdoors, can we close the sides?
The free airflow of outdoor spaces lowers the transmission risk of COVID-19, which is primarily transmitted through the air. Closing a tent removes that benefit. For that reason, businesses that use tents for their customers need to keep the sides up to maintain airflow, even if there is inclement weather.