Portland officials have announced that some businesses closed by the virus will be allowed to reopen Friday in line with the governor’s plan to ease statewide restrictions, despite a local order that is more strict.

Mayor Kate Snyder said she will ask the City Council on Monday to formally repeal the local stay-at-home order to align with the state’s plan for the coming months.

“There’s a lot of interest in lining up with the governor’s guidance and making sure that people in Portland have the same access to opportunities that are being provided in her rollout,” Snyder said in an interview Wednesday.

Portland issued its own version of a stay-at-home order March 24, the same day the governor put her statewide restrictions for businesses in place. But the city was in some ways more strict than the state because Cumberland County has the most coronavirus cases in Maine. For example, Portland’s order put significant limits on construction and real estate that did not apply under the governor’s order.

In the last two weeks, the City Council took steps to align its list of essential business activities with the state’s, eliminating some of those differences. But councilors still voted Monday to extend the local stay-at-home order for another three weeks until May 18.

When Gov. Janet Mills announced Tuesday a phased approach for reopening the state’s economy, the two orders came in conflict again. Golf courses, hair salons and barber shops and other businesses that can reopen Friday under the governor’s plan would still not be allowed to operate in Portland under the city’s current rules.

Snyder said she and other officials were immediately flooded with texts, calls and emails. She communicated with staff and individually with councilors Tuesday to come up with an interim plan.

“I think it’s going to be more and more confusing to have both a local order and a state order that people are looking to for news and guidance,” Snyder said.

So the city put out a news release Wednesday morning announcing that Portland businesses could plan to follow the first stage of the state’s order.

Snyder recalled a similar process earlier this month when local business owners expressed concern and confusion after learning that the city’s order did not allow curbside pickup and delivery for retailers. That provision was not part of the state’s order, and the city announced it would suspend enforcement of the restrictions. Then, at Monday’s meeting, the council formally changed the language to mirror the state’s.

“I felt comfortable that we had a precedent already set,” the mayor said.

But the city’s order still contains some measures that are unique to Portland. Earlier this month, councilors added temporary leash restrictions for dogs to encourage social distancing in public places. On Monday, they voted in favor of a financial incentive for short-term rental owners who convert their units to low-income housing during the pandemic.

Snyder said councilors will need to decide Monday which restrictions they want to preserve even if they repeal the local stay-at-home order.

“What may be OK in a less populated region of the state with fewer cases might not be the appropriate reaction in Portland or the Greater Portland area,” Snyder said.

Few other cities and towns put local restrictions in place on top of those from the state. South Portland City Manager Scott Morelli also announced a stay-at-home order in March, but he said those restrictions generally deferred to the governor’s order already. The city does have leash restrictions and restrictions on visiting elder care facilities that are more strict.

“Ours will remain in place, but as of now I intend to follow her lead as to when things should be lifted,” Morelli wrote in an email.

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