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Maine’s economic reopening changed again on Wednesday, when Gov. Janet Mills postponed restaurant reopenings scheduled for June 1 in three counties and her administration released crucial guidelines for industries tracking toward opening back up.
Given all of the recent changes, the Bangor Daily News asked you to provide questions about the reopening. We will continue to answer them on a rolling basis as we report on them and more come in. If you have a question, you can ask it here.
When will nail salons open? — Heidi, Tenants Harbor
Nail salons won’t open until an unspecified date in June. They initially were scheduled to open June 1, but on May 21 the governor delayed the reopening of both nail salons and gyms, saying they “appear to present a greater risk of transmission of the virus based on emerging science and the experiences of other states.”
Things will also be different, according to updated guidelines for nail salons on the state’s checklist website. Expect to make an appointment ahead of time and either wait outside in your car or stay six feet away from anyone waiting for their appointment. Owners are required to remove snacks, beverages and magazines from the reception area.
Each new nail service will also require replacement with new or clean articles for each client, including cloth towels, finger bowls, spatulas and anything else that comes into direct contact with the nail or skin or skin products from multi-use containers.
I really miss getting to spend time writing, reading and journaling in coffee shops. When will Dunkin’, Tim Hortons and other coffee shops get to open their indoor dining area? — Anita, Hampden
It may be a while before the casual atmosphere of coffee shops returns. Restaurants and eateries will be able to offer limited indoor seating with social distancing and other health precautions on June 1 in Penobscot and 12 other, mostly rural, counties. Mills delayed indoor seating in Cumberland, Androscoggin and York counties because their positive virus cases and hospitalizations remain high.
Expect to see more eateries expanding outside areas, because inside they must maintain six-foot personal distancing. Customers are expected to wear face coverings when entering and walking inside small spaces where it is difficult to keep mandated distances. However, they do not need to wear face coverings at the table.
When businesses and restaurants start to reopen, what are the protocols and expectations of them to report and close for 14-day quarantine if an employee or patron tests positive for COVID-19? How will the public be notified? — Tiffany, Old Town
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services requires a person who tests positive for the virus and persons close to them who might have been exposed to self-quarantine for 14 days and watch for symptoms.
Nirav Shah, the director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention, has been reporting the locations of all new outbreaks of the virus at daily news conferences. The governor’s mandates require restaurants to keep a log of the name and phone number of one person from each table who eats there for contact tracing should there be an outbreak.
Many businesses have notified the public voluntarily of positive cases, including Salvage BBQ & Smokehouse, a popular Portland restaurant, which closed for two weeks after one employee tested positive. The restaurant, which had only been serving takeout, is testing its entire staff for coronavirus and it is paying them for the time they need to self-quarantine.
When will the state reopen the Bureau of Motor Vehicles? I have a child graduating high school who needs to take his driver’s license exam so he can work and go to college.
The BMV plans to reopen 12 of its 13 branches and its central office in Augusta by appointment only on June 1, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office said on May 28. The offices will process certain transactions such as registration renewals, but will not yet handle REAL IDs, excise tax collections or non-essential changes such as a new photo.
Those who want to take written or road tests will need to be patient. Motor vehicle exams will also resume on June 1, but the priority is for commercial driver’s license applicants.
Driver’s license applicants who want to take the written driving exam to get a driving permit can access the application and other information online. Those who want to schedule a road test should send in a driving hours log if applicable and their request postcard or a letter with their name, date of birth and address, requesting to be scheduled.