your daily Impact newsletter!
As a valued member of the Maine State Chamber of
Commerce, we plan to stay in touch with you every afternoon, through emails
like this one and on Facebook and Twitter, until the pandemic passes. We intend to
provide you with the latest state and federal information, as well as
highlighting the creativity and innovation that is occuring here in Maine
during this unpredictable and rapidly changing time. To assist you in
navigating the uncertainties ahead, we've created a diverse and comprehensive
collection of web-based resources to help you take care of yourself
and your family, your
business, and your
community. If there is anything
you need, please reach out.
We're here to help in any way we can!
"The Maine State Chamber of Commerce greatly appreciates the work Maine's federal delegation, U.S. Congress and the White House have done to craft the bipartisan, $2 trillion Families First Coronavirus Response Act stimulus package," said Dana Connors, president of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. "The COVID-19 pandemic is impacting businesses in every sector, of every size and economies at every level. The rescue package passed today is critical to first helping ensure Maine's hospitals have the resources they need to care for our fellow Mainers. It also will help ensure that Maine businesses, employees, families, and our state and local economies endure the pandemic so Maine can get back to business as usual when this crisis passes."
Maine Records First Death
of Individual Who Tested Positive for COVID-19
On Friday, March 27, the Maine Center for Disease Control
and Prevention (Maine CDC) reported
the first death of an individual who had tested positive for the disease
caused by the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). The individual was a man in
his 80s from Cumberland County. Due to privacy laws, Maine CDC is limited in
releasing further details.
"This is a sad day for the State of Maine. I know I join countless people in extending my condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones during this difficult time," said Governor Janet Mills. "Our state is a family. And while we mourn the loss of a member of our Maine family today, I find strength and solace in knowing that we will support one another and that, together, we will get through this."
In response to this news, Maine State Chamber of Commerce President Dana Connors shared this sentiment: "The Governor's words speak for all of us, as today Maine grieves the loss of a Maine man to this terrible virus. The chamber family extends our sincere condolences to his loved ones."
The Maine CDC currently has recorded 168 positive tests, of
which 30 are hospitalized and 24 have recovered and been released from
isolation. Today's press conference indicated that positive cases have not
been reported in any new counties. In the past 24-36 hours, Maine CDC has
received more reagents and our state lab's total capacity to provide tests is
at approximately 3,000 patients.
While Maine received its second shipment of personal
protective equipment (PPE) last week, the supply remains insufficient. Maine
will need the federal government to release further supplies from national
stockpile. Having adequate supplies of PPEs is critical in protecting our
front line health workers. In addition, the state currently has 86 available
ICU beds out of 164 and 247 available ventilators out of approximately 308.
Governor Mills Launches
New Online Resource Outlining Ways Mainers Can Help Mainers During COVID-19
On Friday, March 27, in
response to the extraordinary generosity of Maine people, businesses, and
organizations looking to help during these challenging times, Governor Janet
a new online resource to outline ways in which Maine people can
support efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
"The kindness and generosity of Maine people during this challenging time is nothing short of inspiring. I want to thank all of you for stepping up with innovative solutions to ensure your neighbors and fellow citizens have what they need," said Governor Mills. "This resource will help those looking to lend a hand and encourage more Maine people to target their skills, resources, and time in the most effective and safe ways to do the most good for our state."
resource, which will be updated regularly, outlines four
predominate ways Maine people can address immediate needs: 1) financial
assistance; 2) health care and medical assistance; 3) small business
assistance; and 4) connections with family, friends, and neighbors.
Select Coastal State Parks
Closed Due to Overcrowding
Bureau of Parks and
Lands announces steps to help slow the spread of coronavirus
On Thursday, March 26, the Maine
Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry's Bureau of Parks and
Lands (BPL) announced that, with the support of Governor Janet Mills, it is
proactive measures to protect the health and safety of Maine people from the
threat of COVID-19. Effective Friday, March 27 at 12:01 am, the following
Midcoast and Southern Maine coastal State Parks and beaches are closed until
April 8: Reid State Park, Popham Beach State Park, Fort Popham, Fort Baldwin,
Kettle Cove State Park, Two Lights State Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Scarborough
Beach State Park, Ferry Beach State Park, and Mackworth Island.
The BPL is calling on visitors
to be mindful of crowding and to seek alternate close-to-home spots to get
outside, including back yards and neighborhoods, land trust trails, wildlife
management areas, and public lands. The department will work closely with
local, county, and state public safety officials as it modifies park operations.
Other measures taken to date by the BPL include canceling all park events and
closing all playgrounds and public restrooms. Additional steps under
consideration for this weekend involve restricting vehicular traffic and
parking at some parks to reduce the concentration of visitors.
The BPL has set up a webpage
with a list of park
closures and descriptions of curtailed services.
During the closures, BPL staff will continue patrolling parks and will work
with local and state law enforcement to enforce all coronavirus guidelines
and park regulations.
Maine Chamber Staff
working with National Association of Manufacturers to Prepare For Passage of CARES
While the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security
(CARES) Act has passed Congress
and is awaiting President Trump's signature, companies are urged to visit the
SBA website early to prepare for programs that will be available.
The Maine Chamber staff was on
several conference calls today with the National
Association of Manufacturers to learn about these proposed programs and
the impacts this pandemic has had on small and medium sized manufacturers. The
proposed federal CARES Act, which is awaiting the President's approval,
contains several programs for small- and medium-sized businesses to access to
obtain a direct cash infusion to be able to continue operations and maintain
their workforce during this pandemic.
Companies that are seeking
financial assistance from the federal government are being urged to go to the
Small Business Administration
website early to find out what information they will need to compile in
order to apply for programs like the proposed paycheck protection plan (Keeping
American Workers Paid and Employed Act), sponsored by Maine's Senator Susan
Collins. The CARES Act contains $349 billion in funding for this program. It
is available to companies that have 500 or less employees. Small businesses
can apply for up to $10 million in loans. The amount for which each company qualifies
is based on their payroll amount. The purpose is to cover payroll costs, paid
leave, interest payments, mortgage payments, etc.
If companies use the loans for
these purposes then they are potentially
forgiven. Loan forgiveness can be decreased depending on if the company
decreases its payroll or cuts salaries by more than 25%. Also of note is that
apparently there are provisions in the CARES Act which prohibit so called
"double dipping" with respect to multiple programs, so companies will need to
examine all available programs to make sure they are applying for the ones that
will ultimately help them the most.
DISCLAIMER: Since Congress just passed the CARES Act, this will start the 15-day
clock for the SBA to write regulations implementing the statute. SBA is expected to move as quickly as
possible, so the new regs could be out in a week or so. All companies should
keep checking the website and are urged ultimately to consult with legal
counsel before applying for any assistance under this program or any other
Building Connections While
Since it's Friday, we thought we'd share a few light and
innovative stories about connecting during social distancing...
Missing your weekly karaoke? To
inspire others to sing songs on video while practicing social distancing,
Mainer Joe Meyers created the "Quarantine Karaoke"
Facebook page after he recording his own video inside the basement of his
home. The page has now seen over 325,000 followers in just over a week. From
covers, to originals, to sing-a-longs, Meyers says his page allows others to
come together in a time when smiles are hard to come by.
Feeling lost without happy hour? In this current situation, many folks are instituting a virtual happy hour to stay connected during this seclusion. You can easily set one up yourself with your friends on Facebook, Google Chat, or even Zoom this weekend. Or check to see if there are some organized in your community - like the one at Flight Deck Brewing in Brunswick (Friday afternoons at 4:30 p.m. for the first 100 people on their Zoom party). So grab your beverage at home and get ready to meet new people at happy hour, virtually!
Updates and Resources:
* Overnight, the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce updated its detailed
12-page summary of what is included in the federal stimulus package.
* The U.S. Small Business Administration is
experiencing significant traffic to their Disaster Loan website. To serve
more business owners, they have revised their application process.
* The Maine CDC has
Self Checker among its arsenal of resources. Reported illnesses have
ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death for confirmed coronavirus
disease 2019 (COVID-19) cases.
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