COVID-19: Maine Governor Janet Mills Issues Order Closing Non-Essential Businesses’ Public Facing Functions

Also ordered closed are non-essential businesses that cannot accommodate physical distancing for more than 10 employees

On Tuesday, March 24, 2020, Governor Janet Mills announced additional measures to combat the spread of COVID-19, including an Executive Order to close non-essential businesses and operations that are public facing or businesses that require more than ten workers to convene in a space where physical distancing is not possible.

Non-Essential Business and Operations

Effective Wednesday, March 25, 2020 at 12:01 AM, all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine must close their physical locations that are public facing or that require more than ten workers to convene in a space where social distancing is not possible.  Public facing businesses are those that allow customer, vendor, or other in-person contact.  Non-essential business include, but are not limited to, the following: shopping malls, casinos, gyms, barber shops, hair salons, and treatment facilities.

However, non-essential businesses may continue to operate provided they (1) do not allow customer, vendor, or other visitor in-person contact; (2) do not require more than ten workers to convene in space where social distancing is not possible; and (3) are facilitated to the maximum extent possible by employees working remotely.  These activities include but are not limited to: taking orders by phone or email and preparing delivery orders, preserving the physical condition of the business, and processing payroll and employee benefits.

The Executive Order remains in effect until Wednesday, April 8, 2020 at 12:00 AM. 

Essential Business and Operations

All essential businesses and operations are excluded from the Order and shall continue their activities, provided they adhere to guidance on social distancing.  

In addition to the businesses and operations identified by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the second page of the Executive order elaborates on businesses considered essential in Maine, including, for example:

  • Food processing and agriculture; fishing and aquaculture; industrial manufacturing; construction and maintenance of essential infrastructure; trash collection and transfer stations; grocery and household goods; forest products; pharmacy health care, and other medical; long-term care facilities; banks and credit unions; truck delivery and distribution of goods; public transportation; legal, business, professional, environmental permitting and insurance services; and all utilities.

For more listing, please review the entire list on the second page of the order and refer to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s guidance on essential critical infrastructure workforce that can be found in an attachment to the Executive Order.  If you believe you are an essential business, but have not been deemed so, you may petition for such designation by writing to

To the maximum extent practicable, Governor Mills urges even essential businesses to allow employees to work remotely and otherwise follow specified social distancing requirements.

Social Distancing

All businesses included in the order must implement and actively enforce social distancing requirements.

If you have questions or concerns about how this Executive Order affects your business, please contact firm partner Ann Robinson.


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