Edition for Tuesday, April 14, 2020
To view this Daily Impact online, click here.
Welcome to your Daily
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.
Do you have a
question? ASK THE EXPERTS.
We are here to
help in any way we can!
Governor Mills Extends
State of Civil Emergency As Maine Continues to Combat COVID-19
As the State continues to
respond to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills today
signed a proclamation
extending Maine�s state of civil emergency for another thirty days
through May 15, 2020. The original state of civil emergency was scheduled to
expire tomorrow, April 15, 2020.
A state of civil emergency
places Maine on highest alert and allows Governor Mills to deploy all
available state resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people
and to take every action she reasonably deems necessary to help respond to
and protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. It also eases Maine's
access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts.
"I wish this proclamation was not necessary, but the continued spread of the virus demands a sustained response by the State," said Governor Mills. "There will be difficult days and weeks ahead, but I am confident that Maine people will continue to step up to meet this challenge, just as we have in the past, and together we will get through this. For now, I continue to urge Maine people to do their part and stay apart. This is the best way we will defeat this virus and protect the state we all know and love."
For up-to-date information on Maine's response to COVID-19, please visit Coronavirus.Maine.Gov.
Maine Department of Labor Schedules Remote Public Hearing on Paid Time Off Rules for Wednesday, April 15, Extends Written Comment Period
After months of gathering
comments and input from around the state, the Maine Department of Labor (DOL)
released draft rules recently that will help determine the implementation and
operation of Maine's "Paid Time Off" (PTO) law, passed by the Legislature in
2019. In the press statement released last week, the department intends to
conduct a virtual public hearing on the rules on Wednesday, April 15 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., in accordance with
the current social distancing orders as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The
public comment period has been extended to Wednesday, May 27 until 5:00 p.m.
more about participating in this hearing.
* Submit comments by mail:
Maine Department of Labor, 54 State House Station, Augusta, Maine 04330-0054
To reserve your
advertisement on the Daily Impact, please contact Melody Rousseau
More Than 12,000 Small
Employers in Maine Have Been Approved for $1.98 Billion in Forgivable Paycheck
Protection Program Loans
U.S. Senator Susan Collins
announced today that 12,364 small employers in Maine have been approved for
$1.98 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program loans. Maine small
business owners are praising the program.
"Long Lake Marina will keep
everyone employed because of this relief," said Jim Davenport, Owner, Long
Lake Marina, Naples. "This relief will
keep us going!"
"All of us at Ogunquit Playhouse are extraordinarily happy and relieved to hear that the Small Business Administration has approved our loan application under the Paycheck Protection Program," said Kent Bridges, Managing Director, Ogunquit Playhouse, Ogunquit. "Ogunquit Playhouse is the largest non-profit arts organization in the State of Maine, employing nearly 30 year-round, full-time staff. The COVID-19 pandemic has forced an uncertain future on our 2020 season, as it has with so many arts organizations and small businesses throughout our state and the country. We are so grateful to Senator Collins and everyone who made these funds available to keep our dedicated and hard-working staff employed as we navigate the coming weeks."
"[A]s of [last week], Evergreen Credit Union has funded over $3.5 million in SBA PPP loans to Maine small businesses," said Jason Lindstrom, President/CEO, Evergreen Credit Union, Portland. "The credit union is at the point where we can now start taking non-members from Cumberland and York counties. A huge thank you to Senator Collins for her efforts in getting this program going!"
Scott Vogel, owner of the Front Porch Restaurant in Ogunquit, says the program is already giving him and his employees hope for a brighter tomorrow.
As Maine Workers Seek
Unemployment Insurance Checks, Senator King Pushes to Clarify Guidance
On April 14, U.S. Senator
Angus King (I-Maine) joined a group of 34 Senators in a letter
pressing the Department of Labor to ensure workers Congress intended to
be covered by the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program receive the
benefits they deserve. In the letter, the senators request that DOL
clarify its guidance pertaining to workers who have been diagnosed with
coronavirus without receiving a test, workers with COVID-19 who take time off
of work, workers without child care options in summer months, workers unable
to get to work due to stay-at-home orders, workers with underlying health
conditions like asthma, and self-employed workers like gig workers who are
unable to work due to plummeting demand for their services. Senator King's
letter comes as unemployment claims have skyrocketed all across the country. More
than 76,000 Maine workers have filed for unemployment in the last three weeks;
in contrast, there were 35,000 claims filed in all of 2019.
Senator King strongly
advocated for increased unemployment insurance, citing
it in his letter to Senate appropriators as a key priority that would
provide a lifeline for American workers who lost their job amid the economic
slowdown. The lack of sufficient unemployment insurance was a key factor prompting
him to call
for additional negotiations to improve the CARES Act. Last week, he
joined a group of Senators in outlining
a number of actions the administration should take to help states
disburse the increased unemployment insurance provided by the CARES Act in a
timely and efficient manner that will help workers affected by the ongoing
economic slowdown - including better collaboration with state authorities
charged with distributing these necessary funds.
With Showrooms Shut Down, Maine
Auto Dealers Focus on Service and Remote Sales
The Portland Press Herald
reported on April 14 that auto dealers are working to promote maintenance and
repair service and online sales as they ponder how the pandemic will change
their industry. As Maine's stay-at-home order drags into its third week, Maine's
134 auto dealerships are coping with restrictions mandated by the
coronavirus. Vehicle maintenance is considered an essential service - not
surprising in a largely rural state where most people need a reliable car or
truck to get around. So dealers and repair shops are taking steps in an
effort to assure customers that it's safe to drop off vehicles for
Vehicle sales aren't on the
essential list, however, and showrooms are shuttered. But if a car dies or
isn't worth fixing, it's still possible to buy one. As with much of the
economy, sales have moved online, with arrangements being made for at-home
delivery and outdoor document-signing.
And while the pandemic is
disrupting the auto industry, dealers also say it may present opportunities.
In the short term, customers who are willing and able to buy a vehicle over
the next several months may find some of the best deals in many years. Over
the long term, the fledgling delivery and online strategies keeping dealers
afloat may become routine when commerce finally returns to normal.
OSHA Issues Enforcement
Guidance for Recording Cases of COVID-19
In an April 10 memorandum, the
U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration provided
guidance to Compliance Safety and Health Officers (CSHOs) for enforcing
the requirements of 29 CFR Part 1904 with respect to the recording of
occupational illnesses, specifically cases of Coronavirus Disease 2019
(COVID-19). This memorandum will take effect immediately and remain in effect
until further notice. This guidance is intended to be time-limited to the
current public health crisis. Please frequently check OSHA's webpage for updates. If
you have any questions regarding this policy, please contact Elizabeth
Grossman, Director of the Office of Statistical Analysis, at (202) 693-2225.
Maine Department of Labor
updates FAQs, weekly claims and call system reminders
Maine Department of Labor has
updated its general
Frequently Asked Questions today, adding a few new questions. Please Note: The information in the
FAQ is general guidance based on hypothetical unemployment scenarios. It is
not legal advice on any specific unemployment claim. Individual cases must be
analyzed and decided by a Bureau of Unemployment Compensation (BUC) claims
FILE WEEKLY CLAIMS: Everyone now receiving unemployment
benefits must still file their weekly claims
and, to avoid the high traffic times of Sunday and Monday, do so on or
after Tuesday each week.
USE ALPHA CALL SYSTEM: The MDOL has
implemented an alphabetical call in schedule to help reduce phone line
congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process
claims. Those with last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q
on Tuesday; and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday are left unassigned for
those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.
Wednesday Evening | Congressman
Golden is holding a third small business listening session
This week, Congressman Jared Golden is holding a
third small business listening session this Wednesday with Maine SBA Director Amy Bassett, Maine State Chamber of Commerce President
Dana Connors, and representatives of the state�s credit unions and banks. The congressman wants to hear
from small businesses about their challenges during the coronavirus crisis,
what resources they will need going forward, and help answer their questions
about federal programs. The panel will offer guidance about the programs and
resources available to help small businesses stay afloat during this crisis.
The third listening session will take place at 6:00 p.m.
this Wednesday, April 15. If you would like to participate, please register online at golden.house.gov/live and dial
855-962-1151 when the event starts. In the meantime, check out the Small
Business Resource Guide for more information on the small business loans,
grants, and other federal programs available during these challenging times.
Audio Recaps from Last Week's Tele-Town Halls: Last
week, Maine State Chamber President Dana Connors participated in two of Congressman
Jared Golden's Small Business Listening Sessions. If you would like to hear the
audio recordings from those sessions, please visit the links below:
* Congressman Jared Golden's
Small Business Listening Session from Wednesday,
* Congressman Jared Golden's Small Business Listening
Session from Thursday, April 9
SERIES SPONSORS: Central Maine Power Company
Additional webinars will be forthcoming,
opportunities are available. Questions
can be directed to Angela S. Arno, director of programs and events for the
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or
calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 104.
TOMORROW! Wednesday, April
15 | Starting at 10:00 a.m.
NAVIGATING THE LEGAL AND
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, the Associated General Contractors of Maine,
and the Maine Aggregate Association have come together to offer a
comprehensive webinar for the construction industry on navigating the legal
and financial programs available during the pandemic. This webinar will bring together leading
construction industry legal advisors and representatives from the financial
industry to explain the newly-enacted programs and to answer
industry-specific questions that pertain to the construction industry. If you
are a Maine construction company, you won't want to miss this important
Sponsored by Rudman & Winchell; TD
Bank; and, Albin, Randall and Bennett
April 22 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
THE INTERSECTION OF WORKERS'
COMP AND COVID-19
of the COVID-19 pandemic on employers, their employees, and our state and
national economies has been remarkable. Across the state, businesses large
and small are struggling with how to adjust to this new and dramatically
different paradigm. Like many other groups, the Maine State Chamber has
worked to bring our members and employers all around the state the latest and
most accurate information on changes to our unemployment insurance system,
paid sick leave, paid FMLA leave, the CARES Act, and the accompanying
Paycheck Protection Program and EIDL assistance.
forgotten up to this point is how another important aspect of the cost of
doing business may be impacted by the pandemic - workers' compensation
insurance. Like so many other business factors, there are a significant
number of unknowns surrounding workers' comp going forward, including the
compensability of COVID-19-related claims, claims that may arise while
employees are working remotely from their homes, and how a shrinking statewide
payroll may impact premium rates, and therefore, overall premium costs.
Sponsored by MEMIC, MaineHealth / Synernet, and United Insurance
Wednesday, April 29 | Starting at 11:00
WEBINAR FOR SOLE PROPRIETOR BUSINESSES:
This webinar will focus on the short- and
long-term issues arising from the pandemic for sole proprietors - with
suggested solutions. Topics covered will include a review of up-to-date
federal and state legislative opportunities, tax issues to discuss with your
accountant, insurance liability, health insurance options, credit protection,
and steps for sole proprietors to take with customers. There will also be a
brief review of pertinent estate planning options during the pandemic.
Regiser here | Sponsored by Lambert Coffin
Wed., May 6 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
WE ARE STILL FINALIZING THIS WEBINAR
TOPIC TO BE ANNOUNCED
Wednesday, May 13 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
RECENT STATE AND FEDERAL TAX CHANGES
This webinar will focus on federal tax
changes contained in the CARES Act and changes made at the state level that
provide support for businesses during this pandemic. Additional topics also
include a look at the ever-changing landscape at the federal level for
additional stimulus funds and what those changes might look like.
Register here | Sponsored by Pierce Atwood and WIPFLi,
Tuesday, April 28 | Legislative Strictly Social Virtual
Maine State Chamber of Commerce and the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
invite you to attend our Legislative Strictly Social
Virtual Coffee Hour. We invite you to grab a cup of coffee at
9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, April 28,
and hear from legislators about current issues.
our annual series of statewide receptions is an ideal way for you, the Maine
business leader, to interact with business associates, new and prospective
Maine State Chamber members, and state representatives in a relaxed setting.
This year, due to the COVID-19 situation, we will be hosting this event
online as a coffee hour. We will have a panel of Maine Legislators open the
hour and there will be an opportunity for questions through the Zoom chat
feature. Please join us for this presentation. A participation link will be
sent to you after you have completed registration. Learn more or register here.
Thank You To Our Generous Sponsors!
A special thank you to our sponsors from the Legislative
Strictly Social, which has now become the Legislative Strictly Social Coffee
Hour, due to the need for social distancing during this pandemic. Your continued
support is greatly appreciated!
Waste Systems, Inc.; Central Maine Power Company;
Backyard Farms, LLC; Brookfield Renewable Energy
Client Services LLC; American Chemistry Council; Bank of America; Dead River
Company; Emera Maine; Finance Authority of Maine; Hannaford Supermarkets;
MaineHealth; Merrill's Investigations & Security; Mitchell Tardy Jackson
Government Affairs; PhRMA; Preti Flaherty, LLP; Spectrum Healthcare Partners;
The Sheridan Corporation; Unitil Corp.
Savings Bank; Charter Communications; Cross Insurance; E.A. Scribner
Insurance Agency, Inc.; Elanco; Enterprise Holdings; IDEXX Laboratories, Inc.;
Maine Better Transportation Association; MEMIC; Maine Primary Care
Sponsorship opportunities are
still available for this event.
Questions can be directed to Angela S. Arno, director of
programs and events for the Maine State Chamber of Commerce,
April 16 Webinar | How-To's
for Family Business - COVID-19 Challenges: Legal, Communications & HR
The Institute for Family-Owned
Business will host a webinar on Thursday April 16, from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00
a.m., on how to respond to coronavirus-related challenges in legal, HR and
communication areas. It's free for members, and a donation suggested for
Linda Varrell of Broadreach
Public Relations will address critical communication needs, how communication
should be handled, and how to create a consistent and compliant message.
Peter Lowe and Dan Stockford of Brann & Isaacson will then go over the
new and update laws around the coronavirus. David Ciullo of Career Management
Associates will moderate the presentation and will wrap up with additional HR
information from the front lines.The majority of the webinar will address
specific audience questions. For more information, please contact Brooke
Stewart by calling (207) 281-2414 or by emailing mailto:email@example.com?subject=How-To
Webinar on April 16.
NOTICE: In an ongoing effort to thwart
the activities of online hackers, the Maine State Chamber