PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Maine's governor says owners and operators of businesses and indoor spaces in the state must now deny entry to people who refuse to wear a mask.

Gov. Janet Mills issued an executive order Friday to enforce the new rules. She says the order simplifies the mask rules in the state. Previous rules required people to wear masks indoors, and allowed owners and operators to deny entry to patrons who refused.

Mills says the stricter standard is needed because of the growth of the virus in Maine.

Public health authorities in the state also reported on Friday that the state exceeded 15,000 cases of the virus since the start of the pandemic.

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