This week, I announced the end of the State of Civil Emergency for Maine which I first declared back on March 15, 2020.
It is time.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.
Well it’s not that we’ve cured a disease. Or that we’ve banned the virus completely or removed this pandemic forever from our lives, or that there aren’t still people getting sick and being hospitalized (especially those not vaccinated); And it’s not that we’ve thrown caution to the wind. Or that everything now is exactly as it was sixteen months ago.
A state of civil emergency is no longer necessary. It is over. And it is time.
Like other states, my Administration declared a State of Civil Emergency at the first sign of the pandemic back in March 2020, quickly rallying all resources we might find to protect Maine people from this dangerous virus.
In the nearly sixteen months that have followed, we have implemented public health and safety measures, dialing them up and then scaling them down when circumstances and science demanded it.
The adjustments we made to meet the challenges of a new and changing virus would not have been possible without the commitment of Maine people.
We asked you to stay home, we asked you to wear masks, to watch your distance, to avoid large gatherings. And you did.
We sought the full cooperation of the people of Maine. And we got it. You took this seriously, as well you should.
Because of the steps you took to protect yourselves, your loved ones, your communities, your fellow Mainers, we have maintained among the lowest rates of COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths – and the highest rate of vaccinations – in the country.
We’re now bragging that we’re the safest state in the nation.
As CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah put it the other day, “If you want to walk fast, then walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together.” Well, we walked together, patiently, courageously. Dr. Shah concluded, “We faced the worst that nature had to offer and responded with the best that humanity could imagine.”
So the collective efforts of a people and their government have worked, but we have also learned that we cannot take our health or our progress for granted.
The pandemic is not over yet -- especially for those who remain unvaccinated. Nearly all of those hospitalized in Maine and suffering with COVID-19 are not fully vaccinated.
I want to be clear -- the end of the State of Civil Emergency is not the end of the pandemic. My Administration and medical providers all over the state are encouraging everyone to get their shot -- it is the best way to protect our health and to protect the health of loved ones and our communities.
We still have some work to do -- some challenges that we have to tackle together, like building back a strong economy where all Maine people can succeed; like addressing the sharp increase in drug overdose deaths during the pandemic; and like getting all kids back in the classroom this fall. We can and we will do this together, just as we persevered thus far.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for all you have done to keep yourselves, your loved ones, and your fellow Mainers safe.
This weekend we all celebrate Independence Day, joining friends, neighbors and family for parades, music and fireworks.
Celebrating our precious freedoms after the long, difficult year we’ve had will be most welcome and most enjoyable. I wish you all a very happy and healthy holiday.
As always, it is my honor to serve as Governor of this great state.
This is Governor Janet Mills and thank you for listening.