PARIS, Maine (AP) — The leaders of a town in western Maine say the governor's executive order requiring people to wear masks during the pandemic violates the Americans With Disabilities Act.
Paris Select Board members, all of whom were wearing masks, unanimously passed the resolution Monday night, the Sun Journal reported. It calls for nullification of the governor's mask mandate.
The board is the latest political entity to attack mask mandates in Maine.
Some of the critics have said masks cause problems for people with breathing difficulties or people who are claustrophobic.
The resolution was offered by a group called Beacon For Sovereignty, which said mask mandates violate both the Constitution and the Americans With Disabilities Act. The ADA, adopted in 1990, prohibits discrimination against people with disabilities.
The executive director of Disability Rights Maine, an advocacy group for the disabled, said the organization supports the governor’s mandates and called the resolution "a form of misguided civil disobedience.”
“We know that the vast majority of Maine people with disabilities wear face coverings when in the community because it is safer and it is smart,” Kim Moody said. “And we want others to do the same, because many of us have compromised immune systems or are otherwise in high-risk categories.”
In other pandemic-related news:
One of Maine's largest health networks is looking for volunteers to help with COVID-19 vaccination clinics around the state.
Northern Light Health said Monday it needs volunteers to play a variety of roles, including in clinical and non-clinical positions. The network said it's looking to recruit from service organizations, athletic teams, workplaces and elsewhere.
The organization said volunteers have already donated more than 2,500 hours of service to the vaccination effort. Stacey Coventry, director of volunteer and community development services for Northern Light Eastern Maine Medical Center, said the volunteer work “is a great opportunity for people to make a direct and positive impact on the community during this global pandemic.”
Health authorities in Maine have said the state has had more than 43,000 confirmed cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.
The Maine Center for Disease Control reported reported 17 additional deaths on Wednesday. That's biggest daily number in weeks, but all of the deaths didn't occur over the past 24 hours, officials said.
The latest average positivity rate in Maine is 1.14%. State health departments are calculating positivity rate differently across the country, but for Maine the AP calculates the rate by dividing new cases by test specimens using data from The COVID Tracking Project.
The seven-day rolling average of the positivity rate in Maine did not increase over the past two weeks, going from 3.07% on Feb. 9 to 1.14% on Feb. 23.
The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday the state has been the site of 43,900 positive cases of the virus and 677 deaths since the start of the pandemic.