Frequently Asked Questions
March 5, 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. With the continued requirement for six-foot distancing, won’t some businesses still not have enough capacity to get to 75% 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. Are business owners and people who operate indoor public spaces required to enforce the face covering orders?
Yes, Executive Order 19 FY 20/21 requires that owners and operators of all indoor public settings – regardless of the type of public setting or size – deny entry to those who refuse to wear a face covering. Large retail businesses as well as, municipal buildings, and certain other types of organizations, have already been responsible for implementing measures to ensure customers wear face coverings. Owners and operators of all indoor public settings in Maine must post plainly visible signs notifying entrants of the requirement to wear cloth face coverings. Those who are made aware of the face covering requirement and are offered a reasonable accommodation, yet nevertheless insist on entering an establishment, may be refused service and/or charged with trespassing.
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?
For indoor gatherings, the percentage of capacity will increase to 50 percent starting March 26 and 75 percent starting May 24.
For outdoor gatherings, the percentage of capacity will increase to 75 percent starting March 26 and 100 percent starting 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)
Generally, visitors to or from other states must get a recent negative COVID-19 test (further defined below) or maintain compliance with a 10-day quarantine (PDF) upon arrival in Maine.
As of March 5, 2021, exemptions from testing or quarantine are available for:
Residents of New Hampshire, Vermont, Connecticut, Rhode Island or Massachusetts
Individuals that have had COVID-19 or are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. A person is considered “fully vaccinated” after at least 14 days following completion of the COVID-19 vaccination series.”
People who are not residents of Maine, or residents of exempted states, be asked to sign a Certificate of Compliance if they seek lodging in Maine.
This certificate indicates either that they have received a recent negative COVID-19 test result, that they will quarantine in Maine for 10 days (or the full duration of their stay if fewer than 10 days),that they have already completed their quarantine in Maine, or that they are exempt due to being fully vaccinated or having had COVID-19.
This compliance form must be provided to check-in at all Maine lodging, including but not limited to campgrounds, seasonal rentals, overnight camps, and other commercial lodging, such as Airbnb. Visitors may be asked to furnish proof of the negative COVID-19 test result or vaccine upon request.
For more details, please visit these FAQs for Travel and Visitors.
Q. Will Maine consider lifting the state exemptions?
Yes. Under the Moving Maine Forward plan, Maine will shift its COVID-19 travel policy by May 1, 2021 to automatically exempt all states, unless a state is otherwise determined by the Maine CDC as being high risk. 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. The Maine CDC will publicly announce any such states when they are identified.
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. I live out of state, but I keep my boat in Maine. Can I access it?
As the State has implemented its quarantine measures to protect public health, DECD has tried to ensure that people who live outside of Maine have access to their personal property in Maine. As such, the Department worked with municipalities to establish a process that allows non-Maine residents access to and use of their property, but these individuals are prohibited from engaging with others while here. The Department believes that upholds the intent of the quarantine, which is to limit interaction, while also allowing people access to their property.
Q. Is everyone required to wear a face covering?
Yes, all individuals must wear cloth face covering in public settings. For more details, please consult this face coverings FAQ.
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.