Edition for Friday, May 8, 2020
To view this Daily Impact online, click here.
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!
A Message From Dana
Maine State Chamber of Commerce welcomes Governor Mills' announcement today
that she is opening 12 counties for certain businesses earlier than her
original reopening plan outlined. This is a step in the right direction for
Maine's economy, especially small businesses in regions of the state that are
not experiencing Coronavirus outbreaks or community transmissions.
"We appreciate the Mills Administration's recognition that there are regional differences when it comes to COVID-19, and easing restrictions to speed-up reopening where we can is critical to Maine's economic recovery. Expanding Maine's Coronavirus testing capacity, made possible by the State's partnership with IDEXX announced yesterday, is also encouraging. We expect that will help guide where Maine can continue to ramp up reopening safely, in some cases ahead of the original reopening timeline."
"It is important all Mainers know that public health is the top priority for employers across the state. These employers are taking significant steps and implementing necessary protocols to make sure they can get back to business responsibly, and Maine people can get back to work safely, as soon as possible."
Governor Mills Introduces
Rural Reopening Plan
Governor Janet Mills today announced
a rural reopening plan aimed at reopening certain additional businesses
in rural Maine over the course of the next two weeks with added health and safety
measures. The plan comes after Governor Mills stated last week that her
Administration was considering opportunities for regional variation as part
of its Restarting
Maine's Economy plan. It also follows the announcement of a partnership
with IDEXX Laboratories that will more than triple the State's testing
Under the plan, retail stores
and restaurants will be permitted to open to in-store and some dine-in
service, respectively - with enhanced safety precautions - in counties where
community transmission is not present. Those counties are Aroostook,
Piscataquis, Washington, Hancock, Somerset, Franklin, Oxford, Kennebec,
Waldo, Knox, Lincoln, and Sagadahoc.
Retail stores in these
counties are permitted to open on Monday, May 11, 2020 with added health and
safety precautions. These include but are not limited to: restricting the
number of customers in a store at one time, enhanced cleaning practices, and
touch-free transactions whenever possible.
Restaurants in these same
counties are permitted to open on Monday, May 18, 2020 with added health and
safety precautions, including physically distancing customers, ensuring
employees follow enhanced hygiene and sanitation practices, and controlling
customer flow through reservations whenever possible. The May 11 and May 18
timelines align with the opening of the same businesses in New Hampshire.
Additionally, remote campsites
as well as sporting camps, which provide access to wilderness activities such
as canoeing, hiking, hunting or fishing, are also permitted to open with
public health safeguards in these same counties only on Monday, May 18th to
Maine residents or those who have completed the 14 day quarantine.
In announcing these changes,
the Administration today also released the health and safety guidance that
rural retail stores and restaurants must follow. This guidance comes in the
form of the COVID-19
Prevention Checklists, which have been created by the Department of
Economic and Community Development in close collaboration with industry and
public health experts. Sporting camps guidance is expected next week.
David Barber: Tyson Is
Committed To Ensuring Worker Health And Safety
The following opinion editorial by David Barber, a business development
specialist at Tyson Foods in Portland, was published in today's
Bangor Daily News. We have excerpted it below, but encourage you to read
it in its entirety online.
"With the onset of COVID-19, the nation has been sailing in uncharted waters. Since Barber Foods is a food processing facility, the plant environment has always followed strict sanitary procedures. The frequency increased as awareness of community transmission possibilities of COVID-19 grew."
"To keep our essential team members safe, Tyson has instituted new measures that go beyond our longstanding sanitation processes and are aimed at keeping our team members healthy and safe. Team member temperatures are checked daily and protective facial coverings are required. Plants have been modified for social distancing, including workstation dividers and barriers in break rooms. Sanitation has been increased for frequently touched surfaces, such as doors and tables. Increased hand washing frequency has been encouraged. We also encourage team members to follow CDC guidelines at home as well as at work."
"We also realize that our employees are essential workers during this global health pandemic and deserve recognition. Tyson is sending $120 million in "thank you bonuses" for 116,000 U.S. frontline workers and truckers. These first $500 individual bonuses will be paid in early May and the second in July. People are doing the extraordinary and the company is rewarding that effort."
In Case You Missed It...
Maine State Chamber President Dana
Connors discussed Maine's response to the Coronavirus and reopening plans
with WGAN Morning News host Matt Gagnon this morning. Connors focused on
encouraging reopening as quickly and safely as possible so Maine can back to
business, while recognizing the tremendous challenge and responsibility we
all have when it comes to safety precautions and protocols. To listen to the
interview, please click here.
Don't Miss "Maine Calling"
on Monday, May 11
Tune in on Monday,
May 11, as Maine State Chamber President Dana Connors and DECD
Commissioner Heather Johnson join Maine Calling host Jennifer Rooks from 1:00
p.m. to 2:00 p.m. (rebroadcast at 7:00 p.m. that evening).
Every weekday, the Maine
Calling program digs into topics and issues with listeners across the state
in a statewide conversation. While the coronavirus crisis is at its height, host
Jennifer Rooks will lead conversations about how the spread of COVID-19 is
affecting people throughout our region. Upcoming topics will include: answers
to medical questions; how businesses are impacted by the crisis; childcare
issues; how to deal with anxiety and uncertainty; what Maine towns are doing
to cope; how faith leaders are addressing this emergency; what Maine's
Congressional delegation is doing to help; and how colleges, professors and
students are reacting to changes caused by the pandemic.
Updates from the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce
Earlier this week, the U.S.
Chamber and MetLife released the monthly Small
Business Coronavirus Impact Poll - which surveys how small businesses
nationwide are adapting their operations in the wake of the COVID-19
Among other key insights, the
most recent poll - taken on April 21, 2020 - finds that to mitigate the financial
impact of the pandemic:
* 27% of small businesses have
shortened their hours.
* 26% of small businesses have
asked customers for support or started a crowdfunding campaign.
* 19% of small businesses have
adjusted employee salaries or hours.
* 19% of small businesses have
applied for a working capital loan, an almost five-fold increase since last
State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance:
From personal protective equipment (PPE) requirements to employee screening, the U.S. Chamber created the new interactive State-by-State Business Reopening Guidance map - equipped with current stay-at-home orders, timelines, state profiles, and more critical information - to help you track the differences and stay in-the-know on the latest guidance for America's employers.
Check Out These Resources
From The U.S. Chamber:
Commissioner Beal Calls On
USDA To Allow State-Inspected Meat To Cross State Lines During COVID-19 Pandemic
On Thursday, Maine Department
of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF) Commissioner Amanda Beal
called on the United States Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection
Program (USDA-FSIS) to temporarily
lift restrictions preventing state-inspected meat from being sold or
donated across state lines. Temporarily waiving USDA-FSIS place of sale
restrictions allows more processing and market opportunities for Maine food
producers and consumers during this unprecedented crisis. USDA processing
facilities in Maine are under immense pressure to meet demand and are
reportedly booked out over a year in some locations.
meat to temporarily cross state lines will greatly support regional market
expansion opportunities, smooth out bottlenecks in the local food chain,
reduce the need to cull healthy livestock and poultry, and support our
food-insecure during this extremely difficult time," wrote Commissioner
Beal. Half of state processing facilitates are already operating under the
federal Cooperative Interstate Shipment (CIS) program, and DACF is confident
that state-inspected facilities can maintain appropriate oversight as this
waiver is considered.
Mainespark Awards Four
$5,000 Grants For Programs Improving Postsecondary Success For
MaineSpark has awarded
four $5,000 grants, totaling $20,000, to innovative initiatives promoting
postsecondary success for underrepresented student populations. MaineSpark
received a total of 11 grant applications and through a competitive review
process, awarded grants to Oxford Hills Community Education Exchange, Project
Launch, Rural Aspirations and the University of Maine at Machias. The grants
were made possible with support from the MELMAC Education Foundation and
"We are excited about the innovative programs the MaineSpark grant awardees are initiating to help connect students" aspirations with making postsecondary education a reality for them," said Wendy Ault, executive director of the MELMAC Education Foundation. "These programs will help underrepresented students successfully transition to higher education and increase college completion rates, helping Maine communities, employers and our state's economy thrive."
"MaineSpark's grant recipients are developing exactly the kinds of sustainable programs Maine needs to help underrepresented students achieve their highest potential and be a part of powering Maine's economy," said Jason Judd, Ed.D., executive director of Educate Maine. "We are confident these programs will enable more young Mainers to succeed in postsecondary education and in the workplace."
Help the Maine State Chamber
of Commerce Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week
Maine Public, the Maine
Department of Education, and Educate Maine have joined forces to create
original, educational programming for grade school students in Grades 3 to 5.
Dedicated teachers from across Maine have developed original video lessons,
pulling content from their own lesson plans and sources to provide
exceptional learning opportunities for Maine students.
The Learning Space airs every
weekday on Maine Public Television through mid-June. Completed episodes will
be available online.
To recognize the efforts and
talents of the participating teachers and educators, a stipend is being
offered for lessons that are broadcasted. At this point, this element of the
project remains unfunded. If you or business would like to sponsor a teacher
please reach out to Megan
Diver at the Maine State Chamber or Cory
Morrissey at Maine Public.
More about The Learning Space:
This series features teachers from across Maine sharing original video
lessons specifically designed for this project. With over 183,000 Maine
students currently at home and 30,000 or more students without access to
online learning opportunities due to broadband access issues, The Learning
Space is designed to help fill the void by providing exceptional educational
programming via television. Maine Public Television is available for free
over-the-air across Maine and can also be accessed via cable, the internet,
and over satellite systems.
The Learning Space is
broadcast on Maine Public Television at 12:30 p.m. each weekday starting on
Monday, April 27. As more episodes of The Learning Space are developed, the
broadcast schedule will expand to run from Noon to 1:00 p.m. Episodes of The
Learning Space will be archived for later viewing on numerous platforms
online including on mainepublic.org. The Learning Space will air through the
spring to mid-June. Go to mainepublic.org for more information on The
Premieres to Uncover the Facts Surrounding the New England Clean Energy
In a recent press release the
New England Clean Energy Connect (NECEC) announced that it is the focus of a new
online series of short stories that takes a deep dive into the science
and facts behind the Clean Energy Corridor and the Mainers who support it.
The documentary-style series called "Clearing the Air" is hosted by Thorn
Dickinson, President & CEO of NECEC Transmission LLC. Thorn has travelled
thousands of miles around Maine in the past few years, talking to Mainers
about why this project is so important. The series follows Dickinson on his
travels around the state, chronicling those conversations. From Starks to
Lewiston and points in between, Thorn has had memorable conversations with so
many Mainers. The series will be aired on YouTube,
Instagram and Instagram TV.
Use the Maine State Chamber's blog and Daily
Impact to tell your story!
Numerous Maine companies are 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.
Maine State Chamber Presents Free Wednesday Webinar Series
SERIES SPONSORS: Bangor Savings Bank,
Central Maine Power Company,
Additional webinars will be
forthcoming, and sponsorship
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.
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,
A Virtual Update
Maine State Chamber of Commerce, together with local and regional chambers of
commerce, invites you to our Regional Breakfast Meetings, held virtually on
Zoom. As a local business leader, your valuable insight is instrumental to
this open dialogue about issues that affect your business, your community and
your state. We need your expertise and input to make recommendations and to
identify opportunities for moving Maine's economic future in a positive
attending one of our annual statewide breakfast series meetings 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 from 9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. - so
grab a cup of coffee and join the conversation from the relaxation of your
Monday, May 18
Tuesday, May 19
Thursday, May 21
with the Bangor Region
Chamber of Commerce
Thursday, May 28
SAVE THE DATE!
2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Reform
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
of event details will be available shortly. The 2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Forum will
focus on the changing nature of coverage in Maine; both through legislation
and through innovation. The program
will be virtual, and roughly an hour in length. We will begin with a presentation by
leadership at Anthem of Maine focusing on innovation in the marketplace. After that, there will be a panel
discussion, that includes healthcare public policy experts and the
Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa, to discuss the events of this past
session, and the policy changes that were enacted by lawmakers that are
likely to impact the individual and small group markets, both in terms of
policies, coverage and price.
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NOTICE: In an ongoing effort to thwart
the activities of online hackers, the Maine State Chamber