Maine Gov. Janet MillsJanet MillsHochul makes New York the 31st state to have had a female governor Bipartisan governors press Biden administration on Canadian border restrictions Maine shifting recycling costs to companies MORE (D) and Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker (R) issued a stricter mask mandates this week as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the nation.
Mills issued her order on Thursday, requiring Mainers to wear masks in public spaces at all times, regardless of distance from others.
Previously, under the governor’s executive order, people were not required to wear masks in public if they could stay at least six feet away from others.
Under the order, which took effect the same day it was issued, masks are required within indoor spaces “accessible to the public” including restaurants, grocery stores and houses of worship, and in outdoor spaces, like playgrounds, sidewalks and parking lots, regardless of distance from others.
“We have recorded yet another day of record-high case numbers. This deadly and dangerous virus is spreading all across our state,” Mills said in a statement.
“Protect your family. Protect a health care worker. Protect the elderly. Wear your face covering. Save lives. It is that simple,” she said.
Baker issued a similar order earlier this week, requiring people “wear face coverings in all public places, even where they are able to maintain 6 feet of distance from others” and “whether indoors or outdoors.”
Most states or localities that require masks be worn in public with exceptions for instances when people are able to stay distanced outside, where the virus is much less likely to spread.
Cases have been lower in the northeast throughout the summer, but are now increasing with the rest of the country.
Maine is averaging 99 new cases per day, a 227 percent increase from the average two weeks ago, according to The New York Times tracker.
Massachusetts is averaging nearly 1,300 new cases per day, an increase of 76 percent from two weeks ago.
Over the past week, the U.S. has confirmed record-high averages of 92,000 new COVID-19 cases per day.
Experts have warned the U.S. will see a new surge in cases in the fall and winter, as the colder winter forces people to spend more time indoors, where the virus spreads more easily.