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Maine orchard that hosted Trump event says it's concerned over lack of masks, social distancing

Maine orchard that hosted Trump event says it's concerned over lack of masks, social distancing
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The Maine orchard where President TrumpDonald TrumpLil Wayne gets 11th hour Trump pardon Trump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Trump expected to pardon Bannon: reports MORE made an unplanned campaign stop over the weekend said it regrets the event grew so large, with many in attendance not wearing masks or practicing social distancing. 

"We share the concerns of many over the size of the gathering, lack of social distancing and mask wearing during the event. We were told this would be a small, unpublicized, surprise, private, photo op which gave us no cause for alarm," Treworgy Family Orchards in Levant, Maine, said in a statement issued Tuesday. "Given that information, we accepted the visit, just as we would for any President. We were sworn to secrecy and told that to prevent crowds we could not tell anyone and avoid answering questions from the media."

Once the venue agreed to host the event, owners said the property was "essentially handed over to Secret Service and White House staff for security sweeps and staging the visit," adding they only expected the president to "show up unannounced, surprise the few people who happened to be here, and leave with some nice photos of him holding a pumpkin."

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Instead, thousands of people were in attendance at the Sunday event, many cramming together to get a picture of Trump and some not wearing face coverings. 

At one point, Trump autographed a pumpkin for one supporter and joked "it'll be on eBay tonight.” 

Trump's stop in Maine comes amid a sweeping push across the country the campaign is making in the final 10 days of the 2020 general election. Trump held rallies in Michigan, Wisconsin and Nebraska on Tuesday, urging voters to give him four more years in the White House and warning against the threats he says Democratic nominee Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump grants clemency to more than 100 people, including Bannon Scalise bringing Donna Brazile as guest to Biden inauguration Sidney Powell withdraws 'kraken' lawsuit in Georgia MORE's policies pose to the nation. 

Public health experts in several cities have warned that Trump rallies could serve as potential super-spreader events in communities and states experiencing second and third waves of coronavirus infection. 

Trump has downplayed the effectiveness of mask-wearing and during his first debate against Biden earlier this fall mocked the former vice president for wearing "the biggest mask you've ever seen."

Local media in Maine have reported a spike in cases there in recent days. 

"We are concerned about COVID-19's spread locally and globally, and we are proud that Maine has been a leader on limiting the spread as much as possible," the orchard said. "Our mask policy will remain intact for the rest of this season, and - while we hope COVID-19 will be at a point where we won't need a mask policy next year - we will continue to implement policies and protocols as advised by state officials in order to keep our customers, employees, and families safe."