A new executive order from Governor Janet Mills mandates that publicly-accessible businesses force customers to wear masks before entering - and that a businesses could be prosecuted or a criminal trespass charge used for those who refuse.
The mandate obligates owners and operators of indoor facilities open to the public to force visitors to comply. The mandate does not apply to children under two years of age, those who have difficulty breathing or can’t put on a mask unassisted, and those with a ‘developmental issue’ that is complicated or irritated by a face covering - though it is unclear who that would encompass.
However, the threat of a criminal charge for non-compliance can come from not abiding by the executive order for the business who refuses to enforce the mask mandate, or criminal trespass for the customer who refuses to wear one.
An accompanying statement from the governor’s office said: “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.”
The order follows the continued spike in Covid-19 cases in Maine, which hit 426 new cases on Monday.