The Mills administration has delayed the openings of nail salons and fitness centers in Maine, citing studies that show COVID-19 could be more easily transmitted in these settings.

Both nail salons and fitness centers had been scheduled to open on June 1, in the second phase of the state's plan to reopen the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, on Tuesday, the Mills administration said it is delaying the start date.

"We ... believe that it is appropriate to delay the reopening of gyms and nail salons, both of which appear to present a greater risk of transmission of the virus based on emerging science and the experiences of other states," Gov. Janet Mills said in a statement. "It is important that the plan remain flexible and that we take steps to update it when necessary in order to both protect public health and support our economy.”

Gyms and fitness centers are currently allowed to conduct outside classes of less than 10 participants and one-on-one instruction inside.

However, gyms will not be able to reopen to the public on June 1, as originally planned. That's because new studies suggest the risks of contracting the virus are increased in gyms where there are typically "large numbers of people in relatively small spaces with moist, warm atmospheres coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise."

It explaining the decision to delay the opening of nail salons, state officials cited the state of California, which has identified the establishments as a source of COVID-19 community transmission. Preliminary evidence suggests that the close, face-to-face contact between clients and professionals could increase risk of transmission.

Officials expect to announce new reopening dates for gyms and nail salons in early June.

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