Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday she will extend the state's stay-at-home order through May 31. She also announced a month-by-month, four-stage plan to reopen the state's economy starting May 1.

Mills announced she will sign the "Stay Safer at Home" order by Thursday. The order will continue to have Maine people stay at home through May 31 "with limited exceptions for already permitted activities, such as grocery shopping or exercising." However, the order also will allow Maine people to visit businesses or participate in activities that are deemed safe to open under the first stage of the reopening plan.

“I am proud of the work Maine people have done to mitigate the spread of the virus and to flatten the curve, but our work is far from over,” Mills said. “While this plan presents a path forward for gradually and safely restarting our economy, it should not lure Maine people into thinking that this pandemic is almost over or that things will be back to normal soon. The hard truth is that they are not; that they likely will not be for a long time; and that, with this plan, we are inventing a new normal – a different way of doing business, shopping, traveling, and enjoying the Maine outdoors in ways that keep us all safe.”

The first stage of the plan, which starts Friday, does mandate that people wear cloth face coverings in public. It will continue the ban on public gatherings with more than 10 people and the 14-day requirement visitors to the state self-quarantine.

The first stage will, however, allow the reopening of several business sectors, including auto dealers, drive-in theaters, barber shops, hair salons and per grooming facilities and other businesses so long as certain precautions are met. The first stage of the plan also allows the reopening of state public areas, except for certain coastal parks.

The second stage of the plan, set to start June 1, will continue envisions the reopening of restaurants and other public places such as retail store, again, so long as certain safety instructions are met

The third stage of the plan, which would cover July and August, allows for the reopening of bars, hotels and campgrounds.

The final stage of the plan, which has no determined start date, would lift restrictions and allowing all businesses and activities to resume with appropriate safety precautions.

The first "Stay Healthy at Home" directive was originally issued on March 31 and set to expire on April 30. It requires people living in Maine to stay home at all times "unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, like obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes."

Two rallies were held in Augusta in the past week asking Mills to reopen the state's economy and allow residents to go back to work. But, at the time, Mills and the Maine CDC agreed it is too soon to relax those regulations.

As of Tuesday, April 28, there have been 1,040 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, with 585 people recovered. Fifty-one Mainers have died, according to the Maine CDC.

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