Orono Connects

If your business is scheduled to re-open on or after May 1,2020:

If you are identified by the CDC as an Essential Business and/or you have been identified by the governors order as a Stage 1 re-opening business, you are required to commit to complying with the General Guidelines and/or the checklists for your industry (if identified) before re-opening your business. 

You can access the checklists, guidelines and certifications through DECD at https://www.maine.gov/decd/covid-19-prevention-checklists. If you need help with this process or other issues your business is experiencing during this COVID-19 response, please contact the Town of Orono’s Community Development Office at 207-889-6909 or dmilan@orono.org.


The Governor’s Executive Order enacts the following: Stay Healthy at Home Directive

Governor Mills’ “Stay Healthy at Home” Executive Order requires that Maine people remain at home unless to leave for an essential job or an essential activity. 

Essential jobs are defined under Governor Mills’ March 24 Executive Order outlining essential businesses and operations. The Governor’s Executive Order today updates the March 24 Executive Order to adopt into effect the most recent Guidance on Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce from the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

Essential personal activities include the following with relation to an individual, their family, household members, pets, or livestock:

  • Obtaining necessary supplies for household consumption or use, such as groceries, and supplies and equipment needed to work from home, laundry, and products needed to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home or residence.
  • Obtaining medication or medical supplies and seeking medical or behavioral health or emergency services.
  • Providing care, including transportation, of oneself, a family member, friend, pet or livestock in another household or location for essential health and safety activities and to obtain necessary supplies and services. 
  • Traveling to and from an educational institution for purposes of receiving meals or instructional materials for distance learning.
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running, or biking, but, only in compliance with the social gathering restriction in Executive Order 14 and all applicable social distancing guidance published by the U.S. and Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
  • Travel required by a law enforcement officer or court order; and
  • Traveling to and from a federal, State, or local government building for a necessary purpose.

Travel Restrictions

The Order prohibits the use of public transportation unless for an essential reason or job that cannot be done from home and limits the number of people traveling in private vehicles to persons within the immediate household unless transporting for essential personal activities.

Termination of In-Person Instruction at Schools

Public and private schools and higher education institutions statewide have terminated in-classroom instruction in accordance with the Governor’s March 15 recommendation. The Governor today ordered that all such schools shall continue to cease classroom or other in-person instruction until at least May 1, 2020, or until further Order.

Restricting Number of People in Essential Stores

Governor Mills’ Executive Order restricts the number of people allowed at essential businesses at any one time, mandates that they conduct as much business as possible by curbside order and pick up or delivery to limit in-person contact, and enforce physical distancing in and around their facilities by prominently posting signs at public entrances and on the floor to notify customers to stay six-feet apart. It also requires that they disinfect the handles of every cart and basket between uses, minimize customer handling of unpurchased merchandise and offer separate operating hours for Maine people over the age of 60 and those with underlying medical conditions.

Under the Executive order, essential stores with retail spaces of:

  • Less than 7,500 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 5. Examples of such stores include gas stations and convenience and specialty food stores.
  • More than 7,500 and less than 25,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 15. Examples of such stores include stand-alone pharmacies and certain hardware stores.
  • More than 25,000 and less than 50,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 50.  Examples of such stores include mid-sized and locally owned grocery stores. 
  • More than 50,000 and less than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 75.  Examples of such stores include chain grocery stores.
  • More than 75,000 square feet limit the number of customers in the store at one time to 100 and install protective shields between customers and checkout clerks as soon as practicable. Examples of such stores include Lowe’s, Wal-Mart, Target and Home Depot.

Retailers must enforce these limits and a six-foot separation between any customers waiting in lines. Any essential business which violates this Order will be subject to further on-site restrictions or closure until those violations are addressed. These new requirements adjust and mandate prior recommendations from the Governor regarding essential businesses and operations.


The Order preempts any local ordinance or emergency order of the same subject matter that is less restrictive than or otherwise inconsistent with this Order.


This Order shall be enforced by law enforcement as necessary and violations are a class E crime subject to up to six months in jail and a $1000 fine. In addition, compliance with Section IV of this Order may also be enforced by government officials who regulate licenses, permits or any other authorization to operate a business or occupy a building. It is the Governor’s hope that compliance will be voluntary, and that formal enforcement will not be necessary. 

Read the full Executive Order.


Can Restaurants Adapt to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)?Photo by Edward Franklin on Unsplash

Though the State of Maine has not followed the lead of many other states in closing its restaurants, breweries and bars; for many "business as usual" has already been affected, and they will soon feel the effects of customers who are practicing necessary social distancing.

According to Confucius: “When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.” 

When customers refrain from coming into your business due to circumstances beyond your control, you need to find other ways to engage them. Though the circumstances are less than desirable, this is still an opportunity for innovation! If you want to keep customers investing in your venue even while social distancing, you might: 

  • Create a new online presence with a take-out menu, if you don’t have one already. Add language to let customers know that you understand their concerns during this troubling time and reassure them that you have created a safe way for them to use your services. Consider creating a “family meal” menu.  
  • Add curb-side pickup to that revamped Take-out menu, so folks can still make you their go-to stop on the way home for dinner. 
  • Create gift cards if you haven’t already, and advocate for folks to support their favorite restaurant by paying now and enjoying the visit later. 
  • Offer merchandise for sale with your company’s logo on it, or something that is themed to your business, as a way for loyal customers to support you. Dig out any boxes of old t-shirts from past promotions, of check out sites like 4imprint that offer bulk prices on a variety of customizable merchandise for purchase. 
  • Invest in your customers in return by starting a rewards program that offers discounts, free sides, etc., to loyal customers who accrue enough points.
  • Consider using services like GrubHub, DoorDash, EatStreet, ToastTab, and others to deliver to your customers. Many of these programs allow people to pay online for their meal as well, reducing the need for direct contact with your delivery drivers. 
  • Can your restaurant develop a “meal kit” that will allow customers to finish creating the meal at home?
  • Simply reducing hours of operation can help with reducing labor costs. Though we encourage businesses to maintain staff when permissible as you will need those loyal employees when the threat is over, there needs to be a business to come back to. 

During this period of crisis, Orono Connects will serve as a link to the online presence of any of Orono’s restaurants that want to get the word out about their new (or old) practices. As well as listing the participating businesses here on the Support Orono’s Restaurants page, we will also be sharing that page over social media, doing our best to encourage Orono’s hungry diners to support their local venues during this temporary period of social distancing.

How Do You Add Your Restaurant’s Information to the Page?

If you would like to add your business’ information to the Support Orono’s Restaurants page, you can contact us at 207-889-6909, email Director of Community Development Dave Milan at dmilan@orono.org, or fill out our online survey form.


Oronoconnects.com is a media used by the Town of Orono’s Office of Community Development to highlight the benefits of our partnership with Black Bear Sports Properties in a marketing program for participating businesses in Orono. These businesses receive a complete package of affordable marketing opportunities at UMaine sporting events made possible because of the group marketing collaboration. 

In addition, the Office of Community Development is using Oronoconnects.com to connect with residents and visitors alike to provide timely information on activities, events, and other exciting opportunities. We want to connect you with everything Orono has to offer!