NFIB Maine State Director Reacts to Gov. Mills Stricter Mask Mandate

Date: December 15, 2020

Governor Janet Mills issued an Executive Order on Friday, December 11 requiring face coverings in all indoor public spaces. According to a news release from the Governor’s Office, owners and operators of all indoor public spaces – regardless of the type of entity or size – must not allow those who refuse to wear a face covering to enter or remain in their venue. Previous Executive Orders had required enforcement in some but not all public settings.

According to the Governor’s new order, “In the event of non-compliance with enforcement, the State has the option of taking action against a facility’s operating license, and violations of Executive Orders are a Class E crime, punishable by up to 180 days imprisonment and $1,000 fine. Those who are made aware of the face covering requirement and insist on entering an establishment can be removed and charged with trespassing by law enforcement.”

NFIB’s Maine State Director David Clough issued the following statement reacting to the order:

“The latest Executive Order puts thousands of small businesses and their employees on the front lines of the battle against surging coronavirus cases. We expect most customers already accept the idea of face coverings but owners of small stores and their employees will be at risk of bodily harm if a noncompliant customer gets irate and out of control. 

“What may work at the largest stores in Maine, with big staffs, perhaps security people in a more populated areas, may prove very difficult to enforce at small stores, which have a handful of employees and nobody trained in conflict de-escalation. 

“An approach that is not flexible based on the size or location of a business may become the latest nightmare in a very difficult year for small businesses.”



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