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No bars opening in Maine; holiday caution urged

November 2, 2020 GMT

PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Dejected voters looking to cry in their beers over Election Day’s results will have to do so at home.

Monday was scheduled to be the day Maine bars reopened, but they did not because of a surge in coronavirus cases. Democratic Gov. Janet Mills postponed the reopening of bars and tasting rooms indefinitely.

Maine is coping with a spike in COVID-19 cases that has affected most of the country. The state had more than 100 cases in a single day for the first time last week.

The continued closure of bars is a hit to the economy of a state that loves its beer. Portland has the most craft breweries relative to the size of its population of any American city, according to a 2019 story in Food & Wine magazine.

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Other new restrictions in the state take effect on Wednesday. They include a reduction in indoor capacity from 100 to 50 and stricter rules on interstate travelers.

In other news in Maine related to the pandemic:

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NEW CASES

An additional 84 coronavirus cases have been reported in the state, the Maine CDC said Monday.

That brings the total reported coronavirus cases in Maine to 6,799. The number of deaths also increased by one to 148.

Dr. Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, said the state’s positivity rate percentage for the virus was above 1% for the first time since July.

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RENTAL RELIEF

MaineHousing officials said Monday they are reopening the COVID-19 Rental Relief Program for renters who can’t afford to pay because of the pandemic. The program could also extend to December, officials said.

Applicants can apply for up to $1,000 per month toward rental payments.

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HOLIDAY WORRIES

Mills urged caution about the possibility of spreading the virus during holiday gatherings in the coming weeks. She asked residents to get creative about how to spend time with families in ways that will reduce the chance of transmission.

“All gatherings pose a risk of transmitting this virus. I don’t want COVID-19 to be the uninvited guest at the party,” Mills said.