Reopening restaurants in York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin Counties has just been pushed back by Gov. Janet Mills in Maine according to WMTW.com.  The virus community transmission rate is elevated in those three affected counties.  Many restaurants were planning to open on June 1st as part of the state’s planned phase two of the reopening plan but now those restaurants are back to square one.  It came as a shock to restaurant owners in those three counties as they ramped up efforts to reopen according to the new guidelines.

Restaurant owner Dominick Petrillo who owns Petrillo’s in Freeport told WMTW.com “It is just really insulting to have this happen five days before June 1 when we’re all supposed to be open.”  To be clear, dine-in services were to be offered at those locations beginning June 1 but now the state will be allowing outside dining only with precautions. This is a crushing blow to Maine restaurants just as the season is about to start.  Steve Hewins of the non-profit trade group, Hospitality Maine, said his reaction to the news was “Mostly disappointment, some anger.”  Hewins worked with the Governor’s administration on safety guidelines and feels that restaurants can reopen safely.

Mill’s administration pointed to the trends in infection rates in Androscoggin, Cumberland, and York counties as their reason behind the delayed reopening for dine-in services.  There has been a spike in hospitalizations in addition to spikes in positive Coronavirus tests in those areas. Even more frustrating is that restaurants in those three counties have not been given a new reopening date yet.  Restaurants in nearby Penobscot County will be allowed to offer dine-in service on Monday.  Retail businesses will be allowed to open as scheduled in York, Cumberland, Androscoggin and Penobscot counties on Monday.