Ten Bucks Theater Company returns with a socially distant Shakespeare production that will be performed outdoors July 15. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

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Gov. Janet Mills’ administration has eased the state’s 50-person limit on gatherings for outdoor spectator events, allowing up to 200 people to attend events such as athletic competitions and concerts with certain stipulations.

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The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development updated its guidelines for outdoor spectator events on Friday.

Now, sporting events, concerts and theatrical performances may permit up to 200 people to attend as long as they’re seated in separate areas with no more than 50 people each.

Previously, the state capped all outdoor and indoor gatherings at 50 people. That 50-person limit still applies to all indoor gatherings and spectator events.

Under the new rules, each 50-person area must allow for six feet of space between household groups, and each 50-person area must be 14 feet away from the other 50-person areas, with physical barriers erected between each area. Each area must have access to separate restrooms and concession facilities to prevent intermingling, and each area must have its own entrance and exit, or staggered entrance and exit times.

Organizers of some Maine events have already adapted to the new rules. Ten Bucks Theatre Company will add 25 tickets for each night of its four performances of “The Taming of the Shrew” at Fort Knox State Historic Site in Prospect this weekend. Ten Bucks board member Julie Lisnet said the theater troupe and outdoor venue can accommodate up to 75 people and abide by the state regulations.

The change to the state’s guidelines comes amid increasing evidence that the risk of transmitting the coronavirus outdoors is substantially lower than it is indoors, said Nirav Shah, director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.