Edition for Friday, May 1, 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!
Mainebiz reported that Guilford medical device manufacturer Puritan Medical
Products will increase its swab production for COVID-19
testing to nearly 40 million a month with an
expansion into a Pittsfield building owned by Cianbro Corp. Announced
Thursday, the expansion will allow Puritan to make an additional 20 million swabs
a month, 10 million more than the federal government requested in mid-April.
Puritan expects to hire 100 to 130 people in the coming weeks to work in the
possible by $75.5 million in Defense Production Act money included in the
CARES Act, the expansion involves renovating a 144,000-square-foot building in
Pittsfield. Puritan will lease the space from Cianbro. Bath Iron Works is
assisting the effort by building 30 wrapping machines, and an out-of-state
company is providing the parts for the "flocking" assembly.
is the only company in the U.S. that makes the specialty long-handled swabs
needed for COVID-19 testing. Production should be up and running in about
five weeks. The swabs are sold directly to the U.S. Department of Health and Human services
under the Defense Production Act.
Sen. Susan Collins toured the Guilford plant
Thursday, lauding the partnership between Puritan, Cianbro and BIW: "I
am so proud of these Maine businesses for stepping up for meeting the
Poland Spring, Trade Group Launch $100K Relief Fund for
Small Tourism Businesses
Mainebiz reported today that
the Maine Tourism Association and Poland
Spring Water Co. have launched a $100,000 fund that will award small
grants to the state's tourism businesses and employees affected by the
COVID-19 crisis. The Maine Tourism
Relief Fund will provide one-time giants of $500 for individuals and
$1,000 for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. Grant decisions will be
made within roughly one week of application. All of the contributed funding
will go directly to grant recipients, according to the release.
The Maine Department of Labor (DOL) began
accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program at 8:00 a.m. this morning. 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. Additional 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, can be found online.
DECD Answers Employers'
Questions and Seeks Input on Plan to Restart Maine's Economy
Maine employers are invited to
ask questions and offer feedback
on re-starting Maine's 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
Reopened Businesses Met
With Pent-Up Demand Friday
The Portland Press Herald
reported today that customers
flooded some of the first businesses to open their doors to the public
Friday as Mainers rushed to get a long-overdue haircut, groom their dog, or
buy a new car. Today was the first day many public-facing businesses were
allowed to reopen under Gov. Janet Mills' plan to restart the state's
economy. Some health care providers, barber shops, hair salons, pet groomers,
golf courses, auto dealerships and car washes were permitted to serve customers,
as long as they follow social distancing and sanitation protocols provided by
Our View: Maine Summer
Tourist Season Full of Questions
Earlier today, the Portland Press Herald issued an editorial noting that
the state needs to use the coming weeks to figure out how to balance concerns
over public health and the well-being of its biggest industry. While we have
excerpted it below, we recommend that you read
the entire editorial.
"No matter how you look
at it, Maine's summer tourism season is full of uncertainty and peril. In the
coming weeks, elected officials, business owners, workers and visitors will
make decisions on how to proceed, weighing the economic well-being of the
industry, its members and the state as a whole against the need to protect
individual and public health. It's unlike anything the state has faced
before, and as of now there are no clearly safe options. However, there is
still time to find some. The state must use it wisely. Gov. Mills this week
released her phased economic recovery plan, and it reflects the uncertainty
surrounding this summer."
"However, there is more
to consider. Even if Maine can allow visitors to come here and enjoy, with
physical distancing, what the state has to offer, that in no way ensures a
successful tourism season - and the billions of dollars and all the jobs that
come with it. So Maine has to plan for a way to allow visitors, many who will
come from the COVID-19 hot spots of Massachusetts and New York, without
endangering public health. It has to plan for a summer season that allows as
many businesses and workers to do what they do to get by. And it has to plan
for a year in which that's not enough, and Maine loses out on the benefits
that the $6 billion-a-year tourism industry brings it - regardless of what
"Finally, it has to plan for a summer, or fall, in which an outbreak occurs, and all the drastic measures abandoned in the next few months must be put back in place rapidly. The forecast right now for Maine's summer is cloudy. Let's use the next several weeks to bring it some clarity."
Collins, King, Join
Bipartisan Push to Ensure Equal Reimbursement for Audio-Only Telehealth
Susan Collins and Angus King recently joined 35 other senators in a
letter urging the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase reimbursements
for telephone-based, or audio-only, telehealth services to equal other
audio-visual telehealth and in-person visitation reimbursements. Many
Americans do not have access to reliable broadband, making it nearly
impossible to use video-sharing to receive telehealth services during the
coronavirus pandemic. Instead they must turn to telephone-based telehealth
services. However, healthcare professionals who provide these services are
not receiving the same reimbursement for their telephone-based consultations
as they would for visual or in-person consultations.
Responding to the 2020
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
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information
or questions, please contact Mark Ellis by emailing email@example.com or by calling (207)
623-4568, ext. 109.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or
calling (207) 623-4568, ext. 104.
Wednesday, May 6 | Starting at 11:00 a.m.
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
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