Edition for Thursday, April 2, 2020
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Welcome to 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 have created a diverse and
comprehensive collection of web-based resources to help you take care of yourself and your family, your employees, your business, and your community. If there is anything you need, please reach out.
We are here to help in any way we can!
Maine State Chamber comments on unemployment, updates to CARES Act and the Paycheck Protection Program
Forgivable loans can help employers maintain and restore
workforce, re-hire laid-off workers
announced today indicate nearly 24,000 Mainers filed for unemployment the
week ending Saturday. Funds allocated in the Paycheck Protection Program of
the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed
last week can help employers maintain their workforce and re-hire laid-off
employees. Beginning Friday, April 3, small businesses can apply for 100%
federally guaranteed emergency loans that will be forgiven if borrowers
maintain their payrolls during the COVID-19 pandemic or restore their
payrolls afterward. Loans can be up to 2.5 times the borrower's average
monthly payroll costs, not to exceed $10 million.
Small businesses and
sole proprietors can begin applying for Paycheck Protection Program loans on
April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply
beginning on April 10. Businesses can apply through any existing U.S Small
Business Administration (SBA) 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution,
federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is
While the program is
open until June 30, 2020, the government is advising borrowers to apply as soon as possible. An updated guide and checklist for businesses
interested in applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan can be found on
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce's website.
Additional updates to
the Maine State Chamber website include a guide to the Small Business
Administration's long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL), and a guide to
a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are
closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a
result of COVID-19. Detailed COVID-19 information and resources for employers
and employees are regularly updated at www.mainechamber.org/covid19.html.
Updated Resources from the Maine State Chamber of Commerce
The information regarding
the federal package and its implementation evolves very quickly. To make sure
you have the most current information possible, we have updated these documents
on our website. In addition to the items below, you can also access a list of approved Maine lenders and PPP application forms.
Important Notes from the
U.S. Small Business Administration
OF FRAUD WHEN APPLYING FOR ASSISTANCE: Scammers are using the Small Business
Administration's (SBA) name to con small businesses and individuals during
the COVID-19 crisis through phone calls, emails, text messages and letters. Please
* If you are contacted by someone claiming to be from the
SBA, suspect fraud.
* Emails from SBA or other legitimate government agencies
will always end in .gov.
* There is no cost to apply for a COVID-19 Economic Injury
Disaster Loan and SBA will never ask you to provide a credit card.
* Do not release any private information (social security
number, date of birth, etc.) or banking information in response to an
unsolicited caller, letter, email, or text.
* If you are in the process of applying for an SBA loan and
receive email correspondence asking for personal information, ensure that the
referenced application number is consistent with your application number.
* An SBA logo on an email or webpage does not guarantee the
information is accurate or from the SBA.
* Check for spelling and grammatical errors in an email and
be wary of clicking on any links or attachments.
* For help with applying for an Economic Injury Disaster
Loan, call 800-659-2955 or email email@example.com.
You can also use a text telephone (TTY) by calling 1-800-877-8339.
* For inquiries regarding support for small businesses,
send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
* Visit the Small
Business Cybersecurity site to learn more about small Business
Cybersecurity tips, common threats, training, and best practices.
* Visit the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's Cyber
Infrastructure site for small business resources.
* Trust your instincts! If something seems too good to be
true, then it probably is too good to be true.
TO THE ECONOMIC INJURY DISASTER LOAN APPLICATION PROCESS: Several changes have
been made to simplify and streamline the process of applying for Economic
Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) through the SBA. If you have already submitted
your application, you will be contacted with instructions to finalize the
* Start the process HERE.
* You will be asked to fill in some basic information about
your business and the business owners.
* On the last screen, if you opt in to the $10,000 request
for emergency funds, you will need to supply your bank account and routing
* You will see a summary of all your information that you
can review prior to submitting your application.
* You will not be asked to upload any documentation at
submittal; however, you may be asked for supporting information at a later
* If you submitted
your application prior to March 27, you will need to re-visit the website HERE to submit the $10,000
request for emergency funds.
PROTECTION PROGRAM: The Paycheck
Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small
businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain
other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations,
Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business
Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent
contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Under
* Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10
million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25%
of that amount.
* Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
* If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the
portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of
payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination.
EQUIPMENT SUPPLY COORDINATION: Maine MEP is working with Maine Medical Center, Northern
Light Health, The University of Maine and Manufacturers Association of Maine
to coordinate manufacturing of the medical equipment our hospitals will need
to combat COVID-19 in Maine. Please contact
MaineMEP if you have the ability to help in any aspect of the manufacture
of the following items: Improvised "Aerosol
Box;" Face shields;
Ventilators; Hand sanitizer, particularly looking for capability to mix
and bottle; and, Mask sewing, particularly
looking for organizations with the capability to sew thin material.
Maine Health Supply has asked that manufacturers of any of
the following items please reach out:
masks, ear-loop procedure masks & N95s; infrared thermometers; Powered
Air Purifying Respirator (PAPR); nitrile gloves, especially long cuff; tall
boot covers (paper/gauze type product); shoe covers (paper/gauze type
product); PDI (purple top) germicidal disposable wipes (active ingredients-
n-Alkyl dimethyl ethylbenzyl ammonium chloride and n-Alkyl dimethyl benzoyl
ammonium chloride); sterilized alcohol; and, disposable gowns. Anticipated
possible future needs to include Tyvek suits and charcoal mask filters.
creates fiscal mess for states - and the pain continues
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues, states around the
country are beginning to grapple with the huge fiscal impacts the pandemic
will continue to have on state revenues going forward. Maine State Chamber
staff was on a conference call today with the Council on State Taxation
(COST). While most states have suspended or delayed legislative sessions,
some have adjourned. Most state legislatures will have to reconvene to deal
with issues left unfinished.
Inevitably, state legislatures across the country will also
have to deal with budget shortfalls surrounding the decreasing revenues
related to sales taxes and income taxes seriously impacted by the economic
downturn. Already, states around the country are reporting huge financial
losses that are only going to get worse the longer this virus has a hold on
Nationally, spending has been decreased by significant percentages in the various industries: the airline industry down 102%; lodging is down 121%; restaurants down 56%; gas sales down 46%; sales of clothing 65%; and, online sales of electronics down 37%. Interestingly enough, home improvement products sales are only down by 9%, given the fact people who remain home are doing improvements. It was noted that online sales are doing well. If you have any questions, please contact Linda Caprara.
What Every Employer Needs to Know During
As employers have been wrestling with
the financial impact of the COVID-related shut-down of major sectors of the
Maine and U.S. economies, there has been an avalanche of remedial legislation
at both the state and federal level directed at easing the impact on
employers and employees alike.
However, when legislation is enacted this quickly, it's inevitable
that it will create many questions.
This webinar will get you up to speed on
the latest guidance and understanding concerning the emergency paid sick
leave, expanded Family Medical Leave, and payroll tax credit provisions of
the Families First Coronavirus Response Act.
We'll do the same for the enhancements to unemployment benefits under
the CARES Act and Maine's Emergency Unemployment Act.
Join Katy Rand of Pierce Atwood and
Peter Gore of the Maine State Chamber as they help you understand what you
need to know to make critical decisions for your workforce and your business.
register in advance for this meeting, please click here. After
registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information
about joining the meeting. If you have
questions you'd like to make sure we answer, please click here to submit them.
Did You Miss The Bottom Line This Morning?
Listen in anytime from our archives!
Sen. Angus King (I-ME) was
our guest on The Bottom Line
podcast today. King joined The Bottom
Line co-hosts Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and
John Williams of Williams Broadcasting to discuss the latest developments and
challenges businesses are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and programs
available to businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic through
the federal rescue package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security
(CARES) Act. Listen to it in our archives.
Anthem Blue Cross and Blue
Shield in Maine and ConvenientMD Partner to Open Drive-Thru COVID-19 Testing
Site in South Portland
On Wed., April 1, ConvenientMD
and Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in
Maine announced they are partnering
to open a COVID-19 testing site at Anthem's office on Gannett Drive in
South Portland. Both companies also announced the opening of a test site in
Portsmouth, N.H. yesterday.
Before visiting the testing site, patients will first be
evaluated at home by a ConvenientMD provider using telehealth capabilities.
After evaluation, the provider will determine eligibility for testing and
refer the patient to the high-volume COVID-19 test site. Anyone in Maine can
visit this testing site, and if under 18, a legal guardian must be present at
the time of the virtual urgent care service.
"Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield is committed to working with our provider partners in Maine to keep our communities safe during this health crisis. That's why we're glad to work with ConvenientMD to increase patient access to testing in the Greater Portland area as identifying those patients who are COVID-19 positive will ultimately help to prevent the spread of this virus" said Denise McDonough, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. "From expanding access to telehealth to increasing access to testing, we will continue to support efforts to help Mainers access the care they need during this crisis."
Virtual Urgent Care services and COVID-19 screening and
testing when indicated are available at this time from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00
p.m., seven days a week. To be evaluated for COVID-19, call (207) 358-7400. ConvenientMD
is a leading provider of urgent care and walk-in medical services in New
Hampshire, Maine, and Massachusetts. Anthem has been providing health
benefits in Maine for more than 80 years.
UMaine, Distillers and
Brewers Pump Out Hand Sanitizer For Hospitals
With hand sanitizer in short supply, the University of
Maine has partnered with the state's craft distillers and brewers to make
more. They produce the germ-killing distilling ethanol and UMaine then adds
glycerol, hydrogen peroxide and distilled water. More than 300
gallons of sanitizer have now been distributed to medical centers in the
state, including to hospitals in Bangor, Lewiston, Machias and the County, as
well as tribal health centers.
Friday, April 3 | National
Small Business Town Hall Series Events hosted by Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of
On Fri., March 27, in partnership with the U.S. Chamber of
Commerce, Inc. held a virtual
National Small Business Town Hall to help answer questions relating to
the stimul. During that session, editor-at-large Kimberly Weisul and Neil
Bradley, the U.S. Chamber's executive vice president and chief policy officer,
discussed exactly what the bill could mean to small businesses: where it
provides opportunities, where it creates headaches, and the strategies that
will best enable founders to benefit.
Since then, the federal government has acted, and $350
billion in loans are now available to help small businesses impacted by the
coronavirus. Businesses now are
challenged to understand the lending process, and then act to take advantage
of this emergency aid. This Friday,
April 3 at noon ET, Inc. and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will team up
once again for a virtual National Small Business Town Hall to help small
businesses navigate the process of accessing the new loans available to
Hosts Weisul Bradley will discuss the latest guidance from
the federal government on the CARES Act, as well as the path to recovery for
the economy as a whole. A panel of business experts will be on hand to answer
your questions on how businesses can tap into these new resources, share
different ways to incorporate these loans into a broader business plan, and
offer counsel on how and when entrepreneurs can begin to think about
recovery. For more information about this event, please email COEvents@uschamber.com.
Friday, April 10 | U.S.
Department of Labor hosts National Online Dialogue
As everyone works to implement the Families First Coronavirus
Response Act (FFCRA), they may encounter unique questions that are not yet
addressed in the U.S. DOL's guidance
or in the temporary rule released recently, please consider submitting your questions to the
national online dialogue.
The U.S. Department of Labor is hosting a national online
dialogue, now extended until close of
business on April 10, to provide employers and employees with an
innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the department develops
compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the
implementation of the FFCRA. The ideas and comments gathered from this
dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as
well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in
understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA.
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Notice: In an ongoing effort to thwart
the activities of online hackers, the Maine State Chamber