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(The Center Square) – Gov. Janet Mills is ending Maine's state of emergency this month, citing a decline of COVID-19 infections and rising num…

(The Center Square) -- Gov. Bill Lee has signed executive orders extending the COVID-19 related state of emergency through the end of February. 

The state of emergency will remain in effect through Feb. 27 -- two weeks shy of a year since the virus-related emergency status was first declared on March 12. 

Under the executive orders signed by Lee on Tuesday afternoon, county mayors will continue to be allowed to implement and enforce mask mandates in their counties to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

The National Guard will continue to be authorized to work in hospitals.

Restaurants may continue to serve alcohol to go. 

The orders extend permissions allowing public meetings to be conducted remotely, and extends permissions for remote notarization of documents.

Tennessee continues to be a coronavirus hotspot, remaining second in the nation for average daily cases per 100,000 in the last seven days, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

“There are things that every person can do to protect our health, to protect our hospital capacity to allow for beds for when people get sick they can be treated in Tennessee,” Lee told reporters on Monday, asking Tennesseans to wear masks and not to gather outside their immediate family over Christmas.