Edition for Thursday, April 30, 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!
the April 30 press briefing, Maine
Department of Labor (DOL) Commissioner Laura Fortman joined Maine CDC Director
Dr. Nirav Shah to provide further information and instruction regarding the application
of unemployment benefits through the Pandemic
Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program, as well as last week's claims data for unemployment
week, approximately 7,400 new individuals filed for unemployment benefits, the
lowest number of initial claims in the past six weeks, but still at a historically-high
level. In total, nearly 73,000 people filed their weekly certification, and
the Department paid out $59.7 million in unemployment benefits for the week
ending April 25. The largest number of claims in the six weeks were in food
services and lodging, healthcare and social assistance, retail trade,
manufacturing, and entertainment and recreation sectors.
The Maine DOL will begin accepting
applications for the PUA program at 8:00 a.m. on Friday, May 1. People whose claim does not require
further review should begin receiving benefits with seven days of filing. PUA
is a new federal program which expands eligibility for unemployment benefits
to certain categories of workers not typically able to receive unemployment
in the past, such as those who are self-employed and who do not have enough
earnings to be eligible for state unemployment.
release contains information for claimants as they prepare to file through the PUA's
streamlined online application form, and also
outlined the DOL's alphabetical call-in schedule, which has been designed to
help reduce phone line congestion.
Central Maine Healthcare Offers Screening Trainings for
Businesses to Safely Reopen
reported this afternoon that Central Maine Healthcare
(CMH), a Lewiston-based health care system, has developed a process to screen
for COVID-19 symptoms at its hospital and other sites. As the process was
being developed, CMH received questions from the community about how that
process might work at other organizations. CMH also found that, as the state
sets guidelines for bringing people back to work and opening physical
locations, the screening it has developed using CDC guidelines is a good
model for businesses in general.
morning, CMH's Return to Work Screening program
conducted its first onsite screening training for a business. The program
guides the business on how to set up a screening area, the steps for
screening, equipment needed, and guidelines for handling employees who screen
positive for COVID-19 symptoms.
Governor Mills Extends
Maine's Stay-At-Home Order
Following her announcement on Tuesday
that she would extend Maine's stay-at-home order, Governor Janet Mills issued
Safer at Home" Executive Order on Wed., April 29. The new
order continues to have Maine people stay at home with the same
established exceptions for permitted activities, such as occasional grocery
shopping or exercising. However, it now also allows Maine people to visit
businesses or participate in activities deemed safe to open under Stage
1 of the reopening plan presented Tuesday afternoon. These include barber
shops and hair salons, auto dealerships and drive-in stay-in-your-vehicle
religious services that follow COVID-19
Prevention Checklists. The Order is effective immediately and extends
through May 31, 2020, subject to change.
DECD Answers Employers' Questions
and Seeks Input on Plan to Restart Maine's Economy
Maine employers are invited to
ask questions and offer their feedback
on re-starting our economy. Questions can be sent to the
Business Answers program on weekdays between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 5:00
p.m. by calling 1-800-872-3838 in Maine or 1-800-541-5872 from outside of
Maine. Due to increased call volume, please allow 2-3 business days for a
Maine State Chamber President Dana Connors Participates in Wednesday's
Tele-Town Hall Meeting Hosted by Congressman Jared Golden
Connors participated in a Tele-Town Hall meeting Wednesday evening hosted by
Congressman Jared Golden. Since the Coronavirus pandemic began, Maine's
second congressional district representative to the U.S. House has hosted
several tele-town halls for constituents. At the Congressman's invitation,
the Maine State Chamber has participated in four focusing on the challenges
business are facing due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resources available
to help employers stay afloat through the crisis. Altogether, more than 6,000
constituents have participated in the four events the Chamber has joined.
In each tele-town hall, Congressman Golden and Connors have
shared information, updates and answered questions from participants
regarding resources for small businesses, including the Paycheck Protection
Program, EIDL, and changes to unemployment insurance to help people impacted
by the pandemic. Congressman Golden has also set up a Small Business Response
Team that constituents can reach by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Maine State Chamber thanks Congressman
Golden for continuing to host these important events to help provide
businesses across Maine with accurate and current information on COVID-19
resources so they can access the critical aid they need during the pandemic. Please
here to listen to a
recording of Wednesday evening's Tele-Town Hall.
More than 18,000 Maine
Small Employers Approved for Paycheck Protection Program Loans
On Wed., April 29, U.S.
Senator Susan Collins announced
that $2.3 billion in forgivable Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans
have been approved for a total of 18,247 small employers in Maine. On Monday,
April 27, the U.S. Small Business Administration resumed accepting PPP
applications now that legislation Senator Collins negotiated to increase
funding for PPP by $310 billion has been signed into law. In the two days since the program
restarted, an additional 1,548 Maine small employers, and a number of
self-employed individuals, were approved for $60.5 million in forgivable
loans. The average loan was approximately $39,000, with an estimated average
business size of fewer than four employees. Additionally, the U.S. Treasury
released a new rule on Monday that will provide greater
flexibility to seasonal businesses applying for forgivable PPP loans.
King Calls for
Forward-Looking Funding to Support Public Health Departments, Boost Public
"If the United States fails to once again invest in a well-rounded enterprise data collection system, our nation will be set up for yet another deadly epidemic or pandemic."
With the coronavirus pandemic
revealing dire deficiencies in the public health system after decades of
insufficient investment, U.S. Senator Angus King earlier this week joined a
group of nine U.S. Senators calling for increased
funding for a CDC data modernization initiative. In a letter
dated April 28 to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and
Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), the Senators stressed the need for
this additional funding in upcoming coronavirus relief legislation to ensure
public health departments have the necessary secure technology and skilled
workforce in place to prepare for and respond to public health crises.
Use the Maine State Chamber's blog and Daily
Impact to tell your story!
Numerous Maine companies stepping up or pivoting nimbly, as
Maine people resourcefully address the challenges of this pandemic. Share
your perspective and experience with us and with the rest of the business
community. How are you facing and overcoming the challenges posed by this
pandemic? What are you and your employees doing in this dramatically
different economy? Tell us about the innovations your company or employees
are making or ways you have adapted your company to meet your customers'
Each blog entry should
be 300 to 500 words. Join us in creating a written history of the business
community's resilience and innovation during this extraordinary time. Please submit your entries to email@example.com. For more information
or questions, please contact Mark Ellis by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (207)
623-4568, ext. 109.
Thursday, April 30 | The
Bottom Line Podcast
Dannel Malloy of the University of Maine System
Dannel Malloy of the University of Maine System was
this week's special guest on The Bottom Line podcast. He 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 Maine's public universities, the delivery of
education in Maine, and the path forward for Maine's higher education
To listen to the recording, please
Bottom Line page on the Maine State Chamber's website.
Responding to the 2020 Census
The 2020 Census is
happening now. The 2020 Census asks a few simple questions about you and
everyone who was living with you on April 1, 2020. The 2020 Census is more
than a population count. It's an opportunity to shape your community's
future. Census results have an impact on planning and funding for health
clinics and highways, fire departments and disaster response, education
programs such as Head Start and college tuition assistance, and so much more.
You can complete your questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail. Take a
moment to view this quick 30-second
Bangor Savings Bank, Central Maine Power Company,
Additional webinars will be forthcoming,
opportunities are available. Registration
or general questions can be directed to Angela 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, May 6 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
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;
Christopher Guith, senior vice president of the U.S. Chamber's Global Energy
Institute; and, Anthony W. Buxton, Esq., a partner at PretiFlaherty.
Sponsored by PretiFlaherty
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,
Maine State Chamber Webinar Series | Recordings and Recaps
UNSUBSCRIBE, CLICK HERE.
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