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Cloth Face Mask Requirement

May 05, 2020
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As of May 1, 2020, all Mainers are required to wear a cloth face covering when out in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain, per order of Governor Mills. The order identifies public settings as:

  • Indoor spaces that are accessible to the public such as grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies and healthcare facilities
  • Outdoor spaces such as playgrounds, busy parking lots, and other areas such as lines for takeout service where the public typically gathers in a smaller area
  • Public transportation such as a taxi, Uber, Lyft, ride-sharing or similar service
  • Ferry, bus, or train
  • Any semi-enclosed transit stops or waiting areas

Cloth face coverings are not required for children under age 2, a child in a child-care setting, or for anyone who has trouble breathing or related medical conditions, or who is otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance.

Wearing a cloth face mask is mostly to protect other people from getting sick. Physical distancing, covering your nose and mouth when you sneeze, and hand washing are still the primary way to prevent you from being infected with COVID-19.

Recent studies indicate that many individuals have coronavirus but are unaware because they do not experience any symptoms. Wearing a cloth face mask may prevent asymptomatic people from unwittingly spreading the disease.

Cloth face masks are not surgical masks or N-95 respirators. Those items are in short supply and need to be reserved for healthcare workers and other first responders.

You can make a cloth mask from common household materials, even if you don’t sew. For easy-to-follow instructions visit the CDC site, or watch this YouTube video.  Making a mask might even be a fun ‘Do it Yourself’ project for young people with cabin fever.

Some important things to keep in mind:

  • The mask should be machine washable and reusable
  • When removing a mask, do not touch your eyes, nose, and mouth
  • Face coverings should not be placed on young children under age 2

More information about the CDC’s face mask recommendation is available here.


Small businesses make up 99% of the business community in Maine. The #PayItForwardMaine effort, launched by the Portland Chamber of Commerce and community partners, asks individuals, businesses and organizations to continue supporting local businesses and their employees in our new world of closed storefronts and physical distancing. Your favorite local businesses have been there for you through thick and thin. Now it’s time for all of us to come together and return their service and support.

#PayItForwardMaine is encouraging everyone to consider ways to show their support. That can include spending your time and effort or using the hashtag to share posts, photos, and actions.