Governor Janet Mills announced during Thursday's Maine CDC COVID-19 briefing, that her administration would be allocating $5 million of Federal COVID-19 relief funds to continue to help Mainers who are struggling to pay their rent.

Based on the Maine courts opening again next week for filings and an apparent federal reduction in the $600 per week unemployment assistance, Governor Mills allocated the funds to continue the Maine Housing Authority's COVID-19 rental assistance program.

The previous $500 per month assistance will be doubled to $1000 per month for up to 3 months. Payments are made directly to landlords with the expectation that they will not evict these tenants.

A new executive order was issued to continue housing protections for renters.

The latest numbers released Thursday by the Maine CDC, show that the cumulative number of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases in Maine is now at 3,888, an increase of 22 since Wednesday. 3,477 of those cases are confirmed while 411 are deemed probable.

There was one new death reported of an individual with COVID-19, bringing the total number to 122. 386 patients have had to be hospitalized at some point. 11 are currently hospitalized with 8 in critical care and 3 patients on ventilators.

3,345 people diagnosed with COVID-19 have recovered, an increase of 9 since Wednesday. The total number of diagnosed active cases of COVID-19 is 409, an increase of 11 since Wednesday. The cumulative number of COVID-19 negative tests is 167,689 with a cumulative positivity rate of 2.76%.

Governor Mills issued an executive order on July 8 requiring large retail stores, lodging, restaurants, outdoor bars and tasting rooms in coastal counties and Maine's largest cities to enforce the state's face covering requirement.

The counties where businesses are be required to enforce the face covering requirement are those that are expected to have an influx of people in the next few months: Hancock, Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, Sagadahoc, Cumberland and York as well as the more populated inland cities Bangor/Brewer and Lewiston/Auburn.

The face covering enforcement requirement will be added to the certification checklist that businesses must agree to when opening.

The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development has released a list of businesses they may now open as part of stage 3 of the Mills Administration's Restarting Maine’s Economy plan.

The following businesses may now reopen as long as they commit to complying with requirements of State COVID-19 prevention checklists.

  • Bars and Tasting Rooms remain open for outdoor service only until further notice
  • Outdoor recreation
  • Overnight Summer Camps
  • Entertainment
  • Indoor Amusement
  • Movie Theaters
  • Outdoor Amusement
  • Performing Arts Venues
  • Casinos

For movie theaters, guidance calls for limiting seating to allow for at least six feet of physical distance between non-household members. The suggested way to do this is by leaving empty seats between household groups and limiting seating to every other row.

You can view the full list of businesses and read the guidelines for each on The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development's website.

If the Maine CDC detects any resurgence of the virus, the state will slow down the stages and reinstate restrictions.

If you have symptoms of the coronavirus, including a runny nose, sore throat, dry cough, fever and in severe cases, difficulty breathing, the Maine CDC says you should call your doctor before going in so that they can prepare for your arrival. The Maine CDC continues to update with new information daily. Keep checking on our mobile app or website to get the latest.