The following is a transcript of a radio address presented by Governor Janet Mills:
Many of us read the appalling saga of our friend Dennis Bailey’s struggle to stay alive while fighting COVID-19 recently. For his sake and for the sake of all of us we’ve been praying for an effective vaccine that’ll let us all get back to work, back to school, and back to business.
Hello, this is Governor Janet Mills.
While we got news recently that one vaccine candidate is showing some promise in early trials, the fact is, even when a vaccine is approved, it’ll be many months before it is fully distributed and administered. In the meantime, this deadly virus remains among us and threatens our families, our communities, our health care system and our economy.
We can’t let down our guard now. There is no fairy tale ending to this nightmare yet — and we all have to do our part to stay safe.
The simplest thing we can do is the most effective tool we’ve had for months: wearing a face covering.
COVID-19 as you know is an airborne virus that spreads among people who are in close contact with one another, through respiratory droplets expelled when a person coughs, sneezes, sings, talks, or even breathes.
Wearing a face covering is one of the most significant, effective, and easiest ways to reduce the spread of COVID-19.
In light of the significant increase in cases and in hospitalizations and positivity rates in our state, I signed an Executive Order last week requiring Maine people to wear a face covering in public settings, including indoor settings.
Previously, we required face coverings when physical distancing was “difficult to maintain” – well, that was confusing. Now, we have a bright line that says if you are in a public setting, wear a face covering.
Of course, if you’re hiking alone on the Appalachian Trail or hunting in the woods, you don’t need to wear a face covering if there’s no one else around — that’s just common sense — but, if you are asking yourself the question whether you should wear a face covering, the answer is likely yes. Go ahead and do it, what’s the harm.
We wear face coverings to protect ourselves. We wear them to protect people we don’t even know — the people we meet on the street; the folks who work in the corner restaurant, the store or the packing plant; the nurses, doctors and CNAs who care for the sick and put themselves at risk; the combat veteran who deserves to live the remainder of their heroic life with health and happiness, not to be left to die from a painful contagion alone and separated from family and friends.
We can stem the tide of this virus, we can save lives, keep our economy moving, and keep schools and businesses open, but it takes a team effort.
All of us worked together last spring and summer and fall and ensured that we could leave our homes safely and get back to something of what life used to be like. This winter, let’s stay vigilant, let’s stay smart.
Wear a face covering indoors and outdoors. Use hand sanitizer. Stay six feet apart. Wash your hands frequently. Stay home if you feel sick. Avoid travel.
This is Governor Janet Mills. Thank you for listening.
Keep the faith and please stay safe.