Edition for Wednesday, April 8, 2020
To view this Daily Impact online, click here.
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!
DOE Commissioner Pender
Makin Issues Updated Recommendations and Guidance for Remainder of 2019-2020
According to the Maine
DOE website, U.S. CDC guidance recommends an 8 to 20 week timeframe for
avoiding large group/in-person instruction once there is evidence of
community transmission of COVID-19. Therefore, the Maine DOE has recommended,
with the support of Governor Janet Mills, that school districts across Maine begin
to plan to replace classroom/group instruction with remote/distance
learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Governor Mills Issues
Executive Order to Expand Access to Health Care During COVID-19
On April 7, Governor Janet
Mills signed an Executive Order to further expand
access to health care for Maine people in the face of COVID-19. The Order
takes additional steps to bolster the health care workforce, expand
telehealth services, and temporarily alleviate certain licensing
requirements, building upon the Governor's March 20 Executive Order.
"As the demands on our health care system grow, it is critical that we ensure Maine people have access to the health care services they need in the face of COVID-19," said Governor Mills. "This Executive Order allows nonresidents and retired Maine health care providers, such as respiratory therapists, to serve Maine people during the pandemic."
"This action also ensures that Mainers can access a broader range of health care services via telehealth, minimizing in-person visits to comply with physical distancing guidelines," said Department of Professional and Financial Regulation Commissioner Anne Head. Commissioner Head also noted that, the COVID-19 situation has made it difficult for licensees to complete some of the steps necessary for licensure, including continuing education. For compassionate and practical reasons, the order waives continuing education requirements for license renewals through March 20, 2021.
* All health care providers
licensed by the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation (OPOR),
such as psychologists, social workers, and physical therapists to provide
their services via telehealth; have their license expiration dates extended
until 30 days following the end of the declared state of emergency, if the
license was scheduled for renewal during the state of emergency; and, not
have to complete continuing education requirements for license renewals that
occur through March 20, 2021.
* In addition, certain health
care providers licensed by OPOR, such as respiratory care therapists and
pharmacists may receive a temporary license to provide health care in person
or through telehealth, with no application fee, if currently licensed in
another state; and, reactivate their Maine license immediately, with no
application fee, if retired within the last three years.
The Governor's March 20
Executive Order applied only to licensed physicians, nurses and physician
assistants. For more details including a complete description of the OPOR
licensees covered under this order, please refer to the Executive
REMINDER: FAME, SBA, and Maine Lenders Offer COVID-19
Relief Loan Programs
Authority of Maine (FAME) has partnered with the U.S. Small
Business Administration (SBA) and local Maine lenders to offer special, limited-time loans and loan
insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by
COVID-19. As it has in the past, FAME is partnering with the U.S.
Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide interim loan funding
since, following approval from the SBA, additional documentation from the
borrower may be required prior to full disbursement of the SBA loan. To allow
access to those funds immediately, FAME will provide an interim loan to be
paid-off with the SBA loan funds. Governor Janet Mills recently announced
that the SBA has approved Maine's application for loans to help eligible
businesses impacted by COVID-19. SBA's Economic Injury Disaster Loans will
offer up to $2 million in assistance for a small business. These loans can
provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the
temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.️ To learn more about
the process for accessing this lending, please visit the SBA website.
FAME COVID-19 business response programs are outlined
in greater detail at FAME's website and
in general below:
for the above programs will be limited. FAME anticipates setting aside up to
$10 million of its reserves for the loan insurance program and up to $5
million for the direct loan program. FAME estimates that the above programs
could help to provide $15 million in economic support for approximately 300
small to mid-sized businesses in the state. FAME will make every effort to
work with borrowers on special accommodations for their loans, especially
during this challenging time.
us Tomorrow for a Tele-Town Hall With Congressman Jared Golden
This week, Congressman Jared Golden is holding two
listening sessions by phone for Maine small businesses. The congressman
wants to hear from small businesses about their challenges during the
coronavirus crisis and what resources they will need going forward.
SBA Administrator Amy Bassett,
Maine Chamber of Commerce President
Dana Connors, and representatives of the state's credit unions and banks
will be joining Congressman Golden to answer questions and offer guidance
about the programs and resources available to help small businesses stay
afloat during this crisis.
The listening sessions will take place at 6:30 p.m. this and Thursday, April 9. If you would like to
participate, please register online at golden.house.gov/live and
call 855-962-1151 when the event starts. In the meantime, take a look at our Small
Business Resource Page for more information on the small business
loans, grants, and other federal programs available during these challenging
Megan Diver: We All Deserve
To Be Counted
The Times Record recently published
this opinion letter from Megan Diver, Senior Government Affairs Specialist
for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce:
On behalf of the Maine State
Chamber of Commerce, Maine's business community appreciated Maine Children's
Alliance board member Michael Cormier's recent column encouraging all Mainers
to complete the U.S. Census. Every one of us needs to be counted to accurately
determine the amount of funding Maine receives each year from the federal
government for a variety of critical state investments that contribute to a
U.S. Census data helps
determine where $1.5 trillion in federal resources are distributed every
year. One critical investment area the Census determines federal funding for
is education. This includes cradle-to-career funding to support high-quality
preschool programs, child-care, children's health insurance, nutrition, high
school workforce development and more.The education programs federal funding
supports benefit Maine kids, families, communities across Maine and Maine's
economy. The programs help Maine's youngest learners develop the cognitive
and social-emotional skills they need to get a strong start in school. They
help keep kids healthy. They help prepare kids for post-secondary education,
whether that is college or another credential of value. Altogether, they help
kids reach their fullest potential and ultimately power Maine businesses and
Maine's economy by strengthening Maine's workforce.
These are uncertain times with
the COVID-19 global pandemic impacting every one of us. The U.S. Census
Bureau has extended or delayed some operations, but they are still moving
forward to complete the census this year, as required by the U.S.
Thankfully, it is easier than
ever to get counted. In light of social distancing and stay-at-home
precautions now in place, we can complete the short questionnaire online, by
phone or by mail. It takes just a few minutes to do. And it is so important
that as many Maine households as possible make the effort.
We all deserve to be counted,
we need to be counted, and Maine's kids, families, communities and our
economy are counting on each of us to complete the U.S. Census. Each has a
part in making sure Maine receives our fair share of federal funding for
important needs right here in our state.
Cianbro-Irby, NCI and
Sargent Electric Awarded $300 Million in Contracts to Build and Upgrade
Transmission and Provide Land Clearing for the New England Clean Energy
Project will create more than 1,600 direct jobs annually
during construction with preference for Maine workers
The New England Clean Energy Connect
(NECEC) today announced it has awarded
more than $300 million in contracts to Maine-based Cianbro in a joint
venture with Irby Construction, Sargent Electric, and Northern Clearing, Inc.
(NCI) to build and upgrade transmission and provide land clearing for the
project. Sargent Electric and NCI have
significant employee presence in Maine and are IBEW Local 104
contractors. The companies will
subcontract work to other Maine-based suppliers, contractors and consultants
with preference for hiring Maine workers when possible.
Cianbro, Maine's largest general contractor, in a joint venture with transmission construction company Irby Construction, will construct the new, high voltage DC transmission line that will run 145 miles from the Canadian border to a substation in Lewiston, Maine. Sargent Electric will perform transmission line upgrades required for the project, specifically on a segment from Wiscasset to Windsor and others in the Lewiston-Auburn area. NCI will provide all clearing and access road improvement work.
"This is a significant
contract for our company and our state. We are eager to put Maine people to
work on this important project that brings both clean energy and economic
benefits to the State," said Andi Vigue, President and CEO at Cianbro.
Cianbro-Irby teamed up
similarly to construct the $1.4 billion Maine Power Reliability Project which
was completed in 2015 on time and under budget. As part of this contract, they expect to
hire 260 employees.
To date, the NECEC has
received permits from a number of State agencies and additional permits
required to begin construction are expected in the second quarter of 2020.
Construction is expected to be completed in 2022.
Governor Mills Signs
Executive Order Allowing Remote Notarizations
To reduce in-person contact
and promote physical distancing in response to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills
signed an Executive
Order allowing remote notarization. The Order, which takes effect
immediately, temporarily suspends the provisions of Maine law that require
the physical presence of a notary or witness with certain exceptions. The
Order will allow Maine people, especially those who are elderly or have
underlying health conditions, to conduct important business that requires
sworn statements or affidavits with minimal in-person interaction.
notarizations will allow Maine people to conduct important business while
minimizing in-person interactions, thereby protecting their health," said
Under the Governor's Executive
Order, the provisions of Maine Law that require the physical presence of a
notary or witness are temporarily suspended with the exceptions of
solemnizing marriages; administering oaths to circulators of state or local direct
initiative or referendum petitions and nomination petitions of candidates for
electoral office; and absentee ballots in state and local elections.
The Order also establishes parameters to conduct remote notarization services in order to safeguard the integrity of transactions and the important personal interests served by them. For example, the notary and signatory must be located physically within the State of Maine and complete the act of notarization or witnessing via two-way audio and video communication to allow for direct interaction in real time. Specific standards are built into the Order in an effort to continue access to services through remote means while still protecting the reliability of the acknowledgement.
Pay It Forward Maine Grows
The Portland Regional Chamber
and its initial partners - the Maine Department of Economic & Community
Development, the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, and the Retail Association
of Maine - set out to create a website containing an ever-growing library of
ideas, tools, and resources for Mainers to come together during this
pandemic, to lift each other up, to pay it forward for Maine.
In just three weeks since its launching,
and Pay It Forward Maine has grown to include 75
community partners, been featured on multiple media outlets and websites
- including Governor Mills' "Maine Helps"
resource page - and has been shared via hundreds of inspirational social
posts showing what we all know to be true - we are stronger together!
There is no doubt that the road ahead is long, but we plan on continuing to add useful materials to the Pay It Forward Maine website for as long as it takes to get us all back on our feet again. Because that's what Mainers do! If your business has continued to serve the community despite the challenges, let us know! Please also reach out to the Portland Regional Chamber directly to not only share how Pay It Forward Maine has positively affected YOUR business but with any ideas or suggestions you have - this is a collaborative movement and your input allows us to grow in ways that positively benefit the community.
We Want to Hear From You!
In this extraordinary time, we are looking for ways to creatively communicate. For now, face-to-face, in-person meetings have been put on hold. Instead, we are seeing and meeting with each other virtually or over the phone. However, the most powerful way for us to communicate - the written word - remains always available. And we want you to share your words with us and with the rest of the business community.
Starting next week, we are offering blog space in our Daily Impact for our members to
tell their story.
We want to hear from you - what challenges you face
and how you've overcome them. What you and your employees are thinking and
doing in this dramatically different world in which we continue to operate.
Tell us about what innovations your company or employees might be doing. How
you may have retooled or adapted your company to meet your customers' needs.
Basically, we want to hear about what you are doing, how you are doing it,
and what it has meant to your business and your employees in the current
COVID-19 environment in your own plain-spoken words.
Each blog entry should
be 300 to 500 words. We truly hope you consider this offer to join us in
create a written history of the business community's resilience and
innovation during this extraordinary timeframe in our country and in our
Amy K. Bassett, district director of SBA's Maine district
office, is this week's special guest on The Bottom Line podcast broadcasting live at 10:00 a.m. on
Thursday, April 9, 2020. She will join 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 accessing the programs available to
businesses and individuals during the COVID-19 pandemic through the federal
rescue package, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES)
U.S. Chamber Hosts Third
Virtual National Small Business Town Hall
As the economic pause caused by
coronavirus endures, businesses are racing to understand and access the $350
billion in loans provided by the CARES Act to help impacted small
businesses. Emergency loans are newly
available to sole proprietors, and new guidance accompanies this relief. Estimates indicate the total amount of aid
isn't enough to address current needs, and Congress is considering extending
more funds to small businesses.
This Friday, April 10 at noon ET, Inc. and
the U.S. Chamber of Commerce will team up for a third virtual National Small Business
Town Hall to help small business
owners and sole proprietors alike navigate the programs that are available to
them. Inc. Editor-At-Large Kimberly
Weisul will moderate a discussion with the U.S. Chamber's Executive Vice
President and Chief Policy Officer Neil Bradley to lay out the new guidance
for sole proprietors, address the steps all impacted businesses should take
to tap into available resources, and discuss the potential for more aid in
A panel of business experts will join them
to questions from business owners of all sizes, and to offer counsel to
anyone attempting to access the loans the CARES Act provides. Please note
that space is limited and advance registration is
required. Can't make it live? The recorded event will be available afterward
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