Mayoral Proclamation, signed February 23, 2022 - Ending State of Civil Emergency

Press Release - South Portland Ends Face Covering Mandate for All Public Buildings (February 23, 2022)

 

South Portland Ends Face Covering Mandate for All Public Buildings

The mask requirement had been in effect since January 24th 

 

SOUTH PORTLAND, ME – The indoor mask mandate in the City of South Portland will expire today (Wednesday, February 23). Six of seven City Councilors indicated their preference for the mandate to expire when the matter was discussed at a workshop last night. As such, on Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Deqa Dhalac issued a mayoral proclamation ending the civil state of emergency in South Portland. By extension, the mask mandate regulation promulgated by the City Manager in late January was automatically repealed.

 

South Portland enacted the mask mandate almost one month ago, on January 24, after a majority of City Councilors requested that the City Manager issue such a regulation under certain emergency powers available to him following the declaration of a state of civil emergency in the City. This declaration was made due to the rise in COVID transmission driven by the omicron variant and significant hospitalization numbers. The City’s Code of Ordinances allows the City Manager to issue certain regulations when the City is in a state of emergency.  The emergency was first declared by the Mayor and then continued by the City Council. This process allowed the mask mandate to go into effect much quicker than if the Council used the traditional ordinance amendment process, which would have taken several weeks.

 

While the mask requirement has been lifted, the City strongly recommends masking indoors regardless of vaccination status.

 

On a related note, the City Manager has also rescinded the mask mandate for municipal buildings and facilities, effective Thursday, February 24. Masks are strongly encouraged, however, and will be provided to those staff and/or visitors who request one.

 

For more information, please contact City Manager Scott Morelli at 207-767-7606 or smorelli@southportland.org.

 

 

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The following has expired as of February 23, 2022.

Mayoral Proclamation, signed January 21, 2022
ORDER #134-21/22 extending State of Civil Emergency, passed by City Council on January 25, 2022

 

The City of South Portland recently issued a face covering mandate for all public buildings. This web page is intended to provide additional information about the mandate, resources, and information as to how to report compliance complaints.

 

WHAT IS THE INDOOR FACE COVERING/MASK MANDATE?Capture.JPG

At the January 18, 2022 City Council meeting, the City Council provided direction to the City Manager to issue an emergency face covering/mask mandate in South Portland. People (ages 2+) must wear face coverings/masks when inside public places in South Portland as of Monday, January 24. Businesses must post "masks required" or “face coverings required” signs that are visible to the public as of January 26. This mandate will remain in effect until rescinded by the City Manager or the emergency proclamation is terminated by the Mayor. The City Manager will suspend the mandate if the seven-day average of new cases for Cumberland County drops to the U.S. CDC’s “moderate” transmission level for a period of 10 consecutive days.  If the CDC updates its guidance as to when masks should be worn, the City Manager may opt to use these new metrics instead.

Click here for a copy of the City Manager’s Face Covering Mandate.

 

WHAT DOES THE MANDATE SAY?

The mask mandate requires all people entering public buildings in South Portland to wear coverings over their noses and mouths. A public building is any building or portion of a building that’s regularly accessible to the general public. Face coverings must be worn when using or operating public transportation, including buses, trains, taxis, ride shares, vehicles for hire and any other ride services.

There are exceptions for people with medical or disabling conditions that are complicated or irritated by a face covering and anyone who is having difficulty breathing or is incapacitated. The mandate does not apply to private homes or residential units, nor does it apply to public schools (which fall under the jurisdiction of the School Board and are already requiring masks indoors and on school buses). Unlike similar mandates in Portland and Brunswick, South Portland’s mandate does apply to churches and other places of worship.

 

WHAT IS A PUBLIC BUILDING AS DEFINED BY THE MANDATE?

The definition of “public building” includes “any building or portion of a building within the City of South Portland that is accessible to the general public, including, without limitation, restaurants, grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, health care facilities, social clubs, auditoriums, theaters, arenas, concert halls, meeting halls, gymnasiums, indoor rinks, fitness centers, houses of worship, transportation centers, indoor parking garages, hotels, motels, and other places of public accommodation. It also includes portions of government buildings and private buildings that are typically accessible to the public, including lobbies, waiting areas, elevators, service desks, and related hallways.” For example, if there is a mechanic shop with a garage area that is not regularly accessible to the public, then that portion of the building or establishment would not constitute a “public building” subject to the mask requirement. However, any customer area would be. This same example would apply to a grocery stockroom or office space where members of the public are not present.

 

DOES THE MANDATE APPLY TO GYMS AND RESTAURANTS?

The mandate does apply to gyms and restaurants. The mandate allows restaurant customers to temporarily remove their masks “to participate in the primary purpose of the business, such as eating or drinking”. However, such removal must take place at an isolated location, such as a table or booth, and people must put their masks back on as soon as that activity is complete or if they move away from their isolated location.

 

CAN BUSINESSES REQUIRE BOTH MASKS AND VACCINES?

Yes, businesses can require both. In fact, a multi-pronged approach involving both masks and vaccination is ideal. The City’s mandate, however, only relates to masks.

 

IF I AM VACCINATED, DO I NEED TO WEAR A MASK?

Please note that vaccinated individuals are not exempt from the requirement that masks be worn in public buildings. Under the mandate, masks must be worn by everyone regardless of vaccination status.

 

WHAT ARE THE POSTING/SIGNAGE REQUIREMENTS FOR BUSINESSES?

Each public building and each separate business or separate premise within that building must post signage at the entrance and at other appropriate locations stating that persons entering are required to wear face coverings by order of the City of South Portland. (Other locations can be alternative entrances such as back doors or at transaction locations such as registers.

Click here to download a digital version of the City’s template poster for your business.

 

WILL THE CITY BE PROVIDING MASK SUPPLIES TO BUSINESSES?

Yes, we are working on supplying masks to businesses so they can have them for any members of the public who show up without one.  Businesses can pick up masks at 496 Ocean Street (Planning & Development Office/Hamlin Gym) on Thursday, January 27 between 8:30am-12:30pm. 

  

HOW WILL THE MASK MANDATE BE ENFORCED?

Businesses are the first line of defense in ensuring compliance as the regulation requires people entering business establishments to wear a mask and contains a requirement that businesses display “masks required” or “face coverings required” signs by January 26, 2022. People can submit compliance complaints via the City of South Portland iWorq online reporting tool or by calling the City Manager’s Office at 207-767-7606.

The City Manager, Local Health Officer, Health Inspector and/or their designees are authorized to enforce this mandate.