Customers share a laugh in April 2019 during the weekly trivia night at Mainely Brews Restaurant & Brewhouse at 1 Post Office Square in downtown Waterville. Gov. Janet Mills has announced she is ending Maine’s 9 p.m. business curfew Monday. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

Gov. Janet Mills announced Thursday she will end the 9 p.m. curfew that has been in place since November for certain Maine businesses, including restaurants and tasting rooms.

Citing improving coronavirus testing and caseload metrics, Mills said effective Monday, businesses across the state will no longer have to honor the curfew.

“We are hoping more people will come out, but it’s hard to say,” said Luke Duplessis, owner of Mainely Brews Restaurant & Brewhouse at 1 Post Office Square in downtown Waterville. “It’s tough right now.”

The 9 p.m. business curfew began Nov. 20 and was extended Dec. 30, 2020. Businesses subject to the curfew could continue pickup, curbside and delivery service after 9 p.m.  

Duplessis said Mainely Brews will extend its hours as soon as allowed, but he will not stay open as late as he did before the pandemic. He said business tends to slow in winter, so he will close at 10 p.m. during the week and 11 p.m. on weekends. 

Casey Hynes, general manager of Cushnoc Brewing Co. in Augusta said he will “play it by ear” because late-night crowds are not his major clientele. He said the restaurant at 243 Water St. is open until 9 p.m. every day, and the door will remain open, if business warrants it.   

“I’m encouraged that we feel like this is a safe move, especially for the restaurant industry,” Hynes said. 

Sotirios Gudis, owner of OPA at 139 Main St. in downtown Waterville, said he expected to maintain his current schedule, closing at 9 p.m. He said he would consider a change as time moves forward. 

“We’re going to do everything we can do to make sure everyone’s safe, and that’s our number-one priority,” Gudis said. 

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