Schools and businesses closed, Halloween celebrations canceled as manhunt continues
Wednesday evening's mass shooting and ongoing manhunt has forced schools, municipal offices and businesses around Maine to close Thursday.
All Bureau of Motor Vehicle branches across Maine are closed, as are court offices in Lewiston and Auburn.
All government offices in Lewiston and Auburn will also be closed Friday.
Many school districts beyond Lewiston, Lisbon and Bowdoin have decided to close Thursday as well, including those in Portland, Augusta and Waterville.
Lewiston public schools will stay closed Friday. Auburn Schools Superintendent Connie Brown announced Thursday that the district would remain closed on Friday, and schools will open on a two-hour delay on Monday, Oct. 30 so that staff can prepare for "conversations with our students and how best we can support them during this difficult time."
Shanna Cox, president of the LA Chamber of Commerce, said businesses of all sizes in Lewiston are closed while a shelter in place order remains in effect.
"There's a lot of businesses that are small and operate on a margin, and losing days of work and sales is impactful, but it's not nearly as impactful as the impact that we're seeing to our employers, to our friends, to our family, to our clients, to our customers," she said.
Patrick Woodcock, president of the Maine Chamber of Commerce, said it's unclear exactly how many businesses have closed across the state.
"There's no template for this. I think everybody is trying to be accommodating for their workers, respect to the situation in Maine, and every Maine business's heart is torn through what occurred in Lewiston and Auburn," he said.
Cox said some food purveyors in the area may be opening quietly and coordinating with emergency management officers so that they can feed first responders. And she said that blood drives, vigils and philanthropic events are being planned, but for a time when it's safe to convene.
Hannaford has closed stores in Auburn, both Brunswick locations, Gray, Lewiston, Mechanic Falls, Topsham, Turner and Yarmouth until further notice. LL Bean has closed its flagship store in Freeport, along with its corporate headquarters, fulfillment center and manufacturing facilities in Brunswick and Lewiston.
Bangor Savings Bank has closed its branches in Lewiston, Auburn and Brunswick Thursday. All other branches are either closed or operating on a drive-up basis only, depending on their location.
Bath Iron Works has announced that employees under shelter in place orders should not report to their shifts on Thursday, and that the time will be excused.
Organizers have canceled a number of Halloween events scheduled for the weekend.
“The Black Cat Ball” and “Thriller” workshop are canceled in Lewiston.
Fall festivals, trunk or treats, and Halloween dinner dances are canceled in East Wilton, Farmington and Jay and Livermore.
Norway and Rumford have canceled their Halloween festivals.
In Portland, “The Great Pumpkin Ball” is cancelled as is the Children's Museum and Theater “After Dark 21+” party.
Farmington's trunk or treat will take place Nov. 3 and Livermore's has been rescheduled for Nov. 4.