Governor Janet Mills has extended the 9 p.m. curfew to certain businesses until January 3rd, 2021.

The curfew applies to indoor and outdoor amusement venues, movie theaters, performing arts venues, casinos, and any business that provides seated food and drink. The aim is to discourage lengthy gatherings during the holidays, in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. On Friday, the Maine CDC reported the 7-day testing positivity rate was up to 4.87%.

"It is too early to know the impact of the Thanksgiving holiday on the spread of COVID-19 in Maine," Mills said in a media release, "but with hundreds of people getting sick across the state, and many more dying and so many receiving critical care in our overburdened hospitals, we cannot afford to let down our guard."

She says the curfew allows businesses to remain open during the majority of their business hours, provided they are complying with basic public health and safety measures. The extension to January 3rd is intended to discourage New Year's Eve gatherings, where alcohol and a lack of social distancing are a concern.

Dr. Nirav Shah, Director of the Maine CDC added his support for the curfew, during a recent press briefing.

"Delaying shared celebrations or adapting holiday traditions in ways that allow us to spread good cheer without spreading the virus can help ease stress on Maine's health care system and potentially save lives."

While the in-person services at these businesses must end at 9 pm, curbside pickup and delivery services are still permitted during later hours. These early closing times are also being practiced in other states, like Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Vermont, and New York.

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