To our readers,

The COVID-19 pandemic is a once-in-a-century type story, ... Click here to continue

Requirement for downtown, all indoor public spaces

Rockland face covering order unenforceable

By Stephen Betts | Jul 07, 2020
Photo by: Stephen Betts The Rockland City Council voted Monday evening, July 6 to require face coverings being worn while downtown and for all indoor public spaces.

Rockland — The order approved unanimously Monday evening by the Rockland City Council to require all people wear a face covering when downtown or in any indoor public space is not enforceable.

City Manager Tom Luttrell acknowledged that there was no penalty for the order approved at the July 6 meeting. He said if the governor issues an executive order mandating the same, then the city police department can enforce that state law.

Under the city's charter, a law — known in Rockland as an ordinance — must go through a specific process that includes a preliminary reading and vote, a formal public hearing and final reading. The ordinance then would take effect in 30 days from the final approval.

That process was not followed, instead the Council approved an order, which simply takes one vote.

Luttrell said Tuesday he has been told that Gov. Janet Mills is expected to issue an order mandating the wearing of face coverings, perhaps this week.

Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Nirav Shah repeated Monday, July 6, that the science behind the need for wearing masks when around other people — including outdoors when you are in close proximity to people — is strong. He also said it shows care for others.

At the Monday evening meeting, Councilor Valli Geiger said it was important to require the face coverings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Councilor Ben Dorr voiced concern that the requirement would criminalize actions of people who see the mask requirement as a political issue.

"This has become really politicized. Just fining them and making them criminals doesn't make the community safer," Dorr said.

Geiger said she could not disagree more. She said even in conservative states, governors are realizing the need for face coverings as the virus gets out of control.

Dorr suggested that the city police department offer face coverings to people who violate the requirement. Geiger said she could support that action so that officers can offer face coverings and if the people refuse, then police can issue tickets to violators.

Luttrell said police emphasize education before enforcement and the city has face coverings that can be given out to people without them.

The downtown zone is Main Street from Pleasant Street to Rankin Street. Supporters on the Council said that it is more difficult to have adequate physical distancing on Main Street where there are more people walking than in other areas of the city.

The Council also required that face coverings be worn in indoor public spaces throughout Rockland. That would include stores but not offices where the public does not have access.

Councilor Ed Glaser said the best results in the world in controlling the spread of the virus is where masks are required in all public spaces.

The city plans to erect signs informing people of the mandate.

If you appreciated reading this news story and want to support local journalism, consider subscribing today.
Call (207) 594-4401 or join online at
Donate directly to keeping quality journalism alive at
Comments (15)
Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 08, 2020 11:57

You folks b-----ing about masks: Is this what you want!!   
"the Sunshine State has emerged as a coronavirus epicenter. Nearly 1 out of every 100 residents is infected with the virus, hospital intensive care units are full or filling up, and big-name visitors who chose Florida for their first post-isolation events are now mired in questions and controversies about safety."

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jul 08, 2020 11:32

It is pretty simple, really.  All you have to do is look at the states that opened their beaches, bars, restaurants, etc.  Those states are now paying the price.  How did this happen?  If you do not know, than you need to go to the CDC website and freshen up on how this virus spreads.  By now, everyone should just consider wearing a mask normal.  I am not pointing fingers but face it, out of staters coming into Maine are not being tested for the virus, many can have it and not know it and go to the beaches, no face mask.  That, to me, means a disaster.  NY is one of the states that has spiked in cases these past couple of days, yet they continue to visit our state, no mask worn.  I am not fearful of the virus spreading here in Maine, I know it will.  All it takes is one mask.  To hell with politics and rights!  This is our lives here!  As I said earlier in my post, wearing a mask should be normal by now for the health and well being of EVERYONE in this state!

Posted by: ananur forma | Jul 08, 2020 10:53

got this this morning via email from our city  clerk, Stuart, then phoned him to clarify if this includes places like Shaw's,  Hannaford's and Ocean State Job Lot. He said, YES!" today is July 8 2020. Then I phoned them (the mentioned stores) and now sending them all a print out of this. They all said same thing that their.... "Headquarters decides."

There was an error in the language of the Order sent out this morning…Please disregard the previous email and replace with the following:


ORDER Requiring the Wearing of Masks or Face Coverings.

*Language  correction sent out July 7, 2020.


THAT in accordance with Executive Orders issued by Governor Janet Mills and guidelines from


the Maine CDC, all entities/businesses that have received council authorization to use public space for


their business shall require all owners, employees, clients, customers and guests to wear a mask or


other face covering while conducting business on such public space until such time as the Civil State of


Emergency has been lifted.  All pedestrians in the Downtown Zone must wear face covering while in


public spaces because social distancing cannot be maintained.  All individuals in the City of Rockland


shall wear face covering while in any indoor space accessible to the public, unless eating or drinking, or


otherwise exempted under the Governor’s Executive Order #49.



Sorry for the confusion.



*I just spoke on the phone with Stuart and asked if  this is just for downtown

and he said, “NO, this is for all of Rockland.” signed Ananur


Stuart H. Sylvester

Rockland City Clerk

270 Pleasant Street

Rockland, Maine  04841

(207) 594-0304 Office

(207) 594-9481 Fax


Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 08, 2020 07:59

Well let's just add this to the LONG list of business the City council has NO business being in.  Once again the Rockland Council of liberals finds ways to delve into areas they have no need to be in.  Please stop trying to micro-manage this town, just help to provide a vision for the city.  You are NOT doctors, bankers, or even financial professionals, just common citizens trying to help.  So Thanks, but NO thanks.  You are there to provide guidance, not to tell us all what we should or should not be doing.  Go do a ribbon cutting or something more useful and much less harmful.

Posted by: fred brown | Jul 07, 2020 14:15

Maybe unenforceable; but I saw a sign yesterday that says "Mask It or Casket it".

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 07, 2020 13:44

Post by Nancy Fitzgerald

This is not a political issue. It's not a Democrat or Republican thing. Respected scientists and doctors worldwide all say the same thing. Masks save lives. Protect yourself and protect others. It's pretty simple so stop with the excuses. Just wear the mask.

Nancy Fitzgerald

Posted by: Harry Fitzgerald | Jul 07, 2020 12:53

Post by Nancy Fitzgerald

This is not a political issue. It's not a Democrat or Republican thing. Respected scientists and doctors worldwide all say the same thing. Masks save lives. Protect yourself and protect others. It's pretty simple so stop with the excuses. Just wear the mask.

Nancy Fitzgerald

Posted by: Angela Waldron | Jul 07, 2020 11:34

Wow, that really takes the cake, trying to get visitors to Rockland and then telling them they have to wear a mask downtown or they'll be in trouble. Who is going to enforce, a citizen mob? What is this, Russia?

Posted by: Merton Sawyer | Jul 07, 2020 07:53

I happen to want to be informed so I look at the news and try to stay abreast of what is happening. I do think there are a lot of people who do not pay attention. I actually am one of the few who have never had an account on Facebook and never will I was seriously just wondering if the 'Council enacts a law', how will people really know? Maybe a mailer would work, along with the mainstream media, social media, and signs large enough to easily read posted around town in key spots. Anyway, just kind of thinking out loud I guess.

Posted by: Stephen K Carroll | Jul 07, 2020 07:47

Reading the comments it becomes clear public sentiment agrees wearing masks at this time is a positive step towards public health.  So i'm with you on this  You begin to loose me when the extreme left leaning council increasingly wanders into territory they have no business being in.  They are now micro-managing this City into banking (offering loans to business) real estate and law enforcement.  My praise goes out to councilor Dorr for at least questioning the wisdom of such a move, although you did vote in favor of the measure.  As I said to Nate Davis on WRFR's Metro show two weeks ago,  "you can not legislate responsibility"  There are and will always be two groups of people, those that act responsibility and those that don't.  You will never change their actions.  Let's focus on City business (there's plenty to worry about) and let's leave the doctoring and banking to those more qualified.

Posted by: Valerie Wass | Jul 07, 2020 06:39

I see this becoming a protest subject

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 07, 2020 06:00

A hundred miles to the north Canada did it. Wonder how?


Posted by: Merton Sawyer | Jul 06, 2020 21:44

What's the fine? How is everyone going to be told? And are there going to be warnings issued first?

Posted by: Tanja Barbour | Jul 06, 2020 20:53

No more eat in restaurants?

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jul 06, 2020 19:36

Congratulations for having the courage to stand up and do what is right before it became a problem.  The council has set a good example for the rest of us.  Does this mean we will see a more visible presence of the police on the street?

If you wish to comment, please login.