Edition for Thursday, April 23, 2020
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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.
Do you have a question? ASK THE EXPERTS.
We are here to
help in any way we can!
BREAKING NEWS | Governor
Mills Outlines Vision for a Gradual, Safe Reopening of Maine's Economy
Science, public health, and collaboration will drive
Maine's phased-in approach to reopening the economy when the time is right
Governor Janet Mills today outlined
her vision for a gradual and safe reopening of Maine's economy amid the
novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Mills emphasized four principles that
will guide the State's decision-making process and invited Maine people to offer their ideas through a new portal
launched by the Maine DECD. Maine's reopening will be driven by public health
considerations and guided by the following four principles: Protecting Public Health; Maintaining Health Care Readiness; Building Reliable and Accessible Testing;
and, Prioritizing Public-Private
Collaboration. The Governor's "Stay Healthy At Home Order" remains in
effect through April 30, 2020.
The Administration's approach
will utilize criteria and measures currently under development by the Maine
CDC leading to a phased reopening of the economy. The Maine CDC's planning
will develop measures to detect a resurgence in the virus triggering a reimplementation
The Maine DECD will solicit
from representatives of industries and various sectors of Maine's economy
their ideas on how they can develop practical, reasonable, evidence-informed
protocols to safely resume operations or activities once the public health
benchmarks are met. Employers are
encouraged to determine specific modifications that prioritize safety and
security as well as consult with public health experts to confirm that
such modifications will be effective to mitigate the spread of the
coronavirus - it may be something as simple as closing break rooms, providing
flexible working hours, and installing plexiglass shields, or as complex as
adjusting a business' sales process to ensure employee and customer safety.
Maine unemployment claims
surpass 100,000 since pandemic began
According to the Portland
Press Herald, more
than 100,000 Mainers have filed initial unemployment claims during the
past five weeks as the state and nation experience historic levels of
joblessness. More than 11,500 Mainers filed initial unemployment claims last
week, the lowest weekly total since mid-March. Roughly one in seven Maine
workers has filed an initial unemployment claim since the start of the
pandemic, a total of 101,060 - about 14 percent of the state's workforce. The
food service, hospitality, recreation and entertainment industries have been
hit particularly hard, with more than a quarter of workers in those
industries out of a job.
Additionally, the Maine
Department of Labor is developing software to allow newly eligible workers to
file claims, but the timeline for implementation of the expansion is unknown.
Nearly $11 million in
federal funds to support essential workers and child care providers in
response to COVID-19
On Wednesday, April 22, Governor Janet Mills and Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew announced that nearly $11 million in federal funds will support access to child care for Maine's essential workers, including health care professionals and first responders, and offer relief for child care providers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more should visit the Child Care Subsidy section of the Office of Child and Family Services' COVID-19 response page.
To Make Workplaces Safer
During Coronavirus, King Co-sponsors Bill to Increase Infectious Disease
On April 23, U.S. Senator
Angus King joined a group of his Senate colleagues to introduce legislation
to protect U.S. workers from coronavirus in response to widespread
reports of unsafe workplaces leading to preventable illnesses and deaths, urging
Senate leadership to implement workplace protections in future coronavirus
legislation. The COVID-19 Every Worker Protection Act would require the
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue an Emergency
Temporary Standard that establishes a legal obligation for all workplaces to
implement comprehensive infectious disease exposure control plans to keep
workers safe during the coronavirus pandemic.
Every Worker Protection Act directs OSHA to issue an Emergency Temporary
Standard within seven days that sets requirements for how workplaces must
safeguard workers against the spread of the coronavirus. The legislation
expands on a previous proposal by requiring OSHA to issue a standard covering
all U.S. workers, including workers in health care facilities, warehouses, grocery
stories, and food processing plants.
Thursday, April 23 | The
Bottom Line Podcast
Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith
Maine Department of Labor Deputy Commissioner Kimberly Smith was today's special guest on The Bottom Line podcast. Smith joined The Bottom Line co-hosts Dana Connors
of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John Williams of Williams
Broadcasting to discuss the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on employers and
employment in Maine, with a focus on unemployment insurance.
To listen to the recording, please
visit The Bottom
Line page on the Maine State Chamber's website.
Emergency grants created
for Maine farmers, food producers affected by COVID-19
According to today's Mainebiz article, emergency grants are available for farmers and food producers whose businesses have been hurt by COVID-19 restrictions. Maine Farmland Trust and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association have created the Maine Farm Emergency Grant program, which is awarding grants of up to $2,000 from a $70,000 pool. The grants will provide support as well as help farmers and food producers adapt their businesses to be responsive to changing markets. The grants can be used for a variety of unexpected costs or challenges, such as a loss in sales or outlets, delayed production or hiring because of market disruptions, as well as additional costs related to acquiring supplies, personal protective equipment or ramping up production with additional labor or supplies. Those interested in supporting the effort, or in applying for a grant, can find information at mainefarmlandtrust.org and mofga.org.
The 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
Normally, 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 with Sen. Eloise Vitelli, Sen. Jeff
Timberlake, Rep. Ryan Fecteau, and, Rep. Trey Stewart. Our panel of
legislators will 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.
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!
SERIES SPONSORS: Casella Waste Systems,
Inc.; Central Maine Power Company; Maine Department of Economic &
Community Development; Northeast Delta Dental; VHB
PREMIER SPONSOR: AT&T
SPONSORS: Altria 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.
SPONSORS: Bangor 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 Association
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, by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or
calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 104.
SERIES SPONSORS: Bangor Savings Bank,
Central Maine Power Company
webinars will be forthcoming, and sponsorship 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 email@example.com or calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 104.
Wednesday, April 29 | Starting at 11:00
WEBINAR FOR SOLE PROPRIETOR
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.
here | Sponsored by Lambert
May 6 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
CHALLENGES FOR MANUFACTURING,
This webinar will focus on challenges for
manufacturing due to the impacts of Covid-19 on international trade and
energy. Guest speakers are John Murphy, senior vice president for international
policy at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Christopher Guith, senior vice president
of the U.S. Chamber's Global Energy Institute.
Wednesday, May 13 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
RECENT STATE AND FEDERAL TAX
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.
here | Sponsored by
Pierce Atwood and WIPFLi, LLP
NAVIGATING THE LEGAL AND FINANCIAL ISSUES
Presented on Wednesday, April 15 | Listen to the recording here
Maine State Chamber thanks our April 15 webinar presenters and sponsors:
Rudman & Winchell; TD Bank; and, Albin, Randall and Bennett.
THE INTERSECTION OF WORKERS'
COMP AND COVID-19
on Wednesday, April 22 | Listen
to the recording here
The Maine State Chamber thanks our April
22 webinar presenters and sponsors: MEMIC, MaineHealth / Synernet, Preti
Flaherty, and United Insurance
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