Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order (PDF) today providing greater flexibility in gathering limits for houses of worship in Maine. Under the Governor’s order, houses of worship may now accommodate five people per 1,000 square feet of space, or up to 50 people, whichever is greater.
Previously, the number of people who could gather in houses of worship was limited to 50. The five people per 1,000 square feet gathering is the same limit that applies to retail space. Critical public health measures, such as requirements to wear face coverings and maintain at least six feet of distance, remain in effect for all venues including houses of worship.
This change comes amid improved public health metrics. It reflects the Administration’s continued commitment to honoring Maine peoples’ Constitutional right to worship.
The COVID-19 Checklist for Religious Gatherings has been updated to reflect this change.
Additionally, the Administration has updated the COVID-19 Checklists for Performing Arts Venues and for Seated Food and Drink Service to allow for expanded singing opportunities in certain circumstances with public health protocols, such as mask wearing and physical distancing. The Maine Department of Education has updated its Choral Guidance to allow for indoor singing, with masking and physical distancing. The protocols across these three updates are consistent. The updates are effective immediately.
The Governor, along with the Department of Economic and Community Development and the Department of Health and Human Services and the Maine CDC, is beginning to examine options to prepare for the spring and summer tourism seasons, in order to protect public health, promote economic activity, and reflect progress in vaccinations.