Edition for Tuesday, May 12, 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!
Closed After Finding COVID-19
Hot Spot, Tyson Plant In Portland Adds Testing, Reopens
According to an article in Mainebiz today, Tyson
Foods is rolling out new testing capabilities and health care options at
its Portland poultry plant after last week finding 51 cases of COVID-19
there. The St. John Street processing facility was closed for several days
beginning May 2 while 403 employees and contractors were tested. Of the 51
who tested positive, 31 people didn't show any symptoms and otherwise would
not have been identified, the company said in a news release. The plant
reopened with limited production late last week once the testing was
completed. Employees testing positive were put on paid leave, and may return
to work only when they have met the criteria established by both the CDC and
Tyson, the company said in a news release. Employees will now have access to
daily clinical symptom screenings, nurse practitioners and enhanced education
and support for personal health goals or concerns, the company said.
Attendance Rebounds at Bath
Iron Works Amid Coronavirus Outbreak
The Bangor Daily News reported today that attendance
has rebounded at Bath Iron Works after many workers took weeks off to
protect their families from the new coronavirus. A shipyard spokesperson told
The Times Record that attendance at the shipyard had been 25 percent to 30
percent below normal, but on Monday it returned to "pre-COVID levels," a
reference to COVID-19, the illness caused by the coronavirus. The
spokesperson, David Hench, told the newspaper that "numerous changes" have
been made to reduce the likelihood of the virus spreading at the shipyard,
including workplace distancing, maintaining an "aggressive" cleaning schedule
and providing face coverings, among other steps.
The Bath shipyard, which the
U.S. Navy considers "critical infrastructure," has remained open since March
12, when the first case of the coronavirus was confirmed in Maine. The
shipyard, which is owned by parent company General Dynamics, employs 6,800
people from all of Maine's counties. Only two cases of the coronavirus have
been confirmed among workers from the shipyard, according to The Times
Record. Both of those workers have recovered and returned to work.
Harvard Pilgrim Foundation
Awards $900,000 In COVID-19 Relief Grants To Maine Nonprofits
The Portland Press Herald reported today that more than 60 Maine
nonprofits have received nearly $900,000 in grants for COVID-19 relief
efforts from The
Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation, according to insurer Harvard
Pilgrim Health Care. In its initial round of funding starting in mid-March,
the foundation awarded grants of $150,000 to Good Shepherd Food Bank, $60,000
to United Way of Eastern Maine, $25,000 to United Way of Greater Portland and
$10,000 to Boys & Girls Clubs of Portland, it said. Last week, the
foundation announced a $60,000 grant to Cooking for Community and the YMCA of
Southern Maine to coordinate with local restaurants to prepare and deliver
1,000 weekly meals to older adults and immigrant families in need in
Portland, Biddeford, Freeport and New Gloucester, it said.
Launches Campaign to Remind Maine People to Explore Their Health Coverage
Options in the Face of COVID-19
The Maine Department of Health
and Human Services (DHHS) today launched a statewide campaign to promote awareness
of affordable health insurance options, particularly for people whose
employment or income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. DHHS is
launching a special outreach campaign to remind Maine people about CoverME.gov, a resource for finding
affordable health insurance options, in response to the changing economic
circumstances caused by the pandemic. Maine residents who have recently lost
a job or income may also lose their health insurance provided through their
employer or now be struggling to afford their monthly insurance premium. Many
of these individuals may qualify for a free or low-cost plan through
MaineCare (Maine Medicaid) or the federal marketplace.
The statewide campaign will
include digital, social media, and television advertisements, with ads
beginning this week and continuing through June. Maine DHHS is also
collaborating with the Maine Department of Labor to inform those applying for
unemployment insurance that they may be eligible for affordable health
insurance options. Maine people can learn more at CoverME.gov or call
Consumers for Affordable Health Care at 1-800-965-7476 for free, local help.
The Mills Administration has
taken additional steps to bolster the health care workforce, expand
telehealth services, and spearhead recent legislation to improve private
health insurance for Maine people and small businesses.
University of Maine System
Sending $8.9 Million In Emergency Aid To Students
According to a recent press
release, more than 20,000 students have begun receiving payments - some as
large as $675 - through an expedited planning and distribution process
developed by Maine's public universities to distribute emergency relief
provided under the federal CARES Act.
The CARES Act enacted in late
March with the full support of Maine's Congressional Delegation provided the
University of Maine System a total of $8.6
million to distribute to students for expenses related to the disruption
of campus operations due to COVID-19. Universities within the System
supplemented that amount with hundreds of thousands of dollars in additional
CARES funds intended for institutional usage.
With a recognition that all
students had been impacted by the global pandemic, the universities decided
to divide 85 percent of the federal funds among all eligible students. In
total, $7.5 million will be distributed directly to students via direct deposit
or mailed check starting this week with award amounts ranging from $100 to
$675, depending on the university and the number of credit hours in which the
recipient is enrolled. Across the System, 20,598 are expected to receive
relief. Some UMS students including
those from other countries are ineligible to receive any CARES funds per
An additional $1.4 million in
CARES funds is available to UMS students by application to eligible students
who self-identify with further need as a result of the transition in late
March from in-person to remote instruction.
Maine State Chamber Presents Free Wednesday Webinar Series
SERIES SPONSORS: Bangor Savings Bank,
Central Maine Power Company,
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.
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,
Mentors Helping Maine Small
Businesses Pivot to Survive
The Portland Press Herald reported today that, for a small business
a mentor can be invaluable. That's in normal times. When a pandemic has
upended the world, a mentor can become more than a business adviser.
Amanda O'Brien, owner of the
East Bayside tasting room of Eighteen Twenty Wines, turned to a mentor, Sarah
Guerrette, as she transformed the operation of her Eighteen Twenty Wines in
response to the coronavirus pandemic. Guerette leads the Women's Business
Center at Coastal Enterprises Inc. (CEI). In a typical year, CEI conducts
about 1,100 coaching or advisory sessions with small-business owners. In the
past two months alone, there have been more than 2,000 sessions. In March and
April, O'Brien had a 7 percent sales increase over the same stretch last
Another avenue of support for
entrepreneurs is the Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE), which also
provides free and confidential business mentoring. Nate Barr of Zootility had
been checking in with SCORE mentor Nancy Strojny every four to six weeks. The
Portland manufacturing company's new product, Careful Key, is a mostly
copper, antimicrobial gadget that could fit on a key chain and be used in
lieu of fingers or hands on high-touch surfaces such as keypads, elevator
buttons and door handles. Zootility is one of many Maine businesses that have
changed their operations with help from mentors to remain viable.
How The Coronavirus
Pandemic May Reshape Office Life For Good
The Associated Press reported from London, England, today that office
jobs are never going to be the same. When workers around the world
eventually return to their desks, they'll find many changes due to the
pandemic. For a start, fewer people will go back to their offices as the
coronavirus crisis makes working from home more accepted, health concerns
linger, and companies weigh up rent savings and productivity benefits. For
the rest, changes will begin with the commute as workers arrive in staggered
shifts to avoid rush hour crowds. Staff might take turns working alternate
days in the office to reduce crowding. Floor markings or digital sensors
could remind people to stand apart and cubicles might even make a comeback.
12 Promising Workforce
Trends Triggered by the COVID-19 Crisis
A recent blog from Smart
Workforce Strategies notes that what will get us through this major
economic downturn is focusing on innovative solutions at every level - on
what's working and what we can actually do - not lamenting the many things
lost to the COVID-19 crisis and the global recession we now face. The blog
offers a dozen "promising things" the author's recent research suggests will
come out of this crisis. Focusing on good things and what we can do is much
more productive right now.
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.
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
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