Gov. Janet Mills on Wednesday issued an executive order requiring the wearing of face coverings in public regardless of the ability to maintain physical distance.

The order was issued on the day Maine recorded its highest single-day total of 183 coronavirus cases.

"We have recorded yet another day of record high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state," said Mills. "Protect your family. Protect a health care worker. Protect the elderly. Wear your face covering. Save lives. It is that simple."

The order takes effect immediately.

The latest order strengthens a previous order that required face coverings in public settings if physical distance was difficult to maintain.

The new order requires all indoor public settings in Maine to display "plainly visible" signs notifying entrants they must wear a face covering.

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In an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, Mills in recent days has reduced the indoor gathering limit from 100 people to 50 people. Recent orders also have postponed the reopening of bars and tasting rooms. Additionally, Mills has removed three states -- New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut -- from the state's travel exemption.

Health officials strongly advise Mainers to wear face coverings, maintain physical distancing, and avoid large gatherings to help contain the virus.

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