Edition for Thursday, May 21, 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!
Governor Mills Announces
New Major Federal Funding Will Be Used To Expand Lab and Testing Capacity
The $52.7 million grant, previously announced by Maine's
Congressional Delegation, has been received and will help expand State and
rural hospital lab capacity and testing sites across Maine in the coming
weeks and months
Governor Janet Mills announced
today that the State of Maine has now received $52.7
million in Federal grant funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC) to bolster epidemiological and laboratory
capacity to respond to infectious diseases, particularly COVID-19. The State
will use this funding to enhance its ability to prevent, detect, and mitigate
the spread of COVID-19 in Maine by expanding lab capacity and testing sites
across Maine in the coming weeks and months.
Governor Mills outlined the
State's three primary goals for the $52.7 million investment, including:
* Expanding the State's Lab
* Bolstering Rural Hospital
Lab Capacity; and,
* Establishing Drive-Through Testing
The Department of Health and
Human Services (DHHS) and the Maine CDC are in the initial planning stages
and will unveil more detailed plans in the coming weeks. This funding builds
on the Mills Administration's partnership with IDEXX to expand testing in
Maine and allowing for the elimination of the testing prioritization system
so that health care providers can recommend testing for anyone they suspect
of having COVID-19. As announced earlier this week, clinicians may now order
tests for symptomatic people and people without symptoms who may be at risk
for transmitting COVID-19 to others.
Eight New Checklists
Available For Businesses Reopening June 1
Yesterday, the state
Department of Economic and Community Development introduced eight new
checklists designed to help some of the Maine businesses allowed to
resume operations June 1. The checklists provide health and safety guidance
that businesses and activities must commit to in order to reopen, according
to the state. New lists are available for day camps, overnight camps, community
buildings, large gatherings, non-professional sports, tanning, construction, and
motorcycle education. Guidance for religious gatherings is still under
development and is expected to be posted Friday.
Reopening Checklist Help
Offered By HospitalityMaine, EMCC
Mainebiz reported today that HospitalityMaine
and Eastern Maine Community College are rolling out a course this week that
will help restaurant owners and their employees master
the four-page checklist necessary for reopening. A similar free course
will soon be available for hotels and inns. Employee training was the one
thing missing on the lengthy checklist put together by the state Department
of Economic and Community Development. Once restaurant staff have
completed the course, the restaurant gets a certificate that it can display
online and on-site.
A big factor in reopening is
customer confidence. This course will help customers feel that precautions
are being taken seriously. The restaurant industry is already health-focused,
according to HospitalityMaine, with a variety of regulations and processes
under the ServSafe program of the U.S. National Restaurant Association.
"The checklist is already what a lot of restaurants are doing for best
SBA Releases Guidance on
the Forgiveness Math
On Friday, May 15, the Small
Business Administration published a new form entitled Loan
Forgiveness Application Instructions for Borrowers which, at long last,
provides a great deal of guidance on how to calculate loan forgiveness. In
the absence of official guidance, advisors to small businesses filled the
void with speculations about how best to protect a recipient's claim to
alert outlines what has changed since our previous articles on the
Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness math based on the new
instructions. If you have any questions, please contact attorney Greg Fryer or
a member of Verrill's
COVID-19 Response Team.
Reopening: It's Back To Business,
But Not Business As Usual
As countries around the world loosen their coronavirus
restrictions, it's becoming clear that without a vaccine, the disruptions
could be long-lasting.
Yesterday, the Associated
Press reported from New York that "This is what 'normal' will look like
for the foreseeable future." With contributions from reporters around
the globe, the article offered insight from both national
and global perspectives.
As the U.S. and other
countries loosen their coronavirus restrictions, it's back to business, but
not business as usual. In fact, it is becoming all too clear that without a
vaccine against the scourge, the disruptions could be long-lasting and the
economy won't be bouncing right back.
Some of new rules for dining
out echo reopening guidelines released by the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention. They are intended for child care centers, schools, day camps,
mass transit systems, restaurants, bars and other businesses and
Amid the wave of reopenings,
many Americans remain wary, according to a new survey from The Associated
Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The poll says 83 percent of
Americans are at least somewhat concerned that lifting restrictions in their
area will lead to additional infections.
About 5 million people worldwide
have been confirmed infected, and over 325,000 deaths have been recorded,
including over 93,000 in the U.S. and around 165,000 in Europe, according to
a tally kept by Johns Hopkins University, based on government data. Experts
believe the true toll is significantly higher. With the virus far from
vanquished, the reopenings could prove to be a stop-and-start,
Ford temporarily halted
production at two of its assembly plants Tuesday and Wednesday in Chicago and
Dearborn, Michigan, after three autoworkers tested positive for the virus. Work
was stopped to sanitize equipment and isolate those who were in contact with
the infected employees. Detroit's Big Three automakers restarted their U.S.
factories on Monday after a two-month shutdown.
Education, too, is facing
radical changes. Cambridge became the first university in Britain to cancel
all face-to-face lectures for the upcoming school year, saying they will be
held virtually and streamed online until the summer of 2021. Other
institutions have taken different tacks. The University of Notre Dame in
Indiana will bring students back to campus but redesigned its calendar to
start the semester early in August and end before Thanksgiving.
In South Korea, hundreds of
thousands of high school seniors had their temperatures checked and used hand
sanitizer as they returned Wednesday, many for the first time since late last
year. Students and teachers were required to wear masks, and some schools
installed plastic partitions around desks. France is limiting spaces in its
primary schools, giving priority to the children of essential workers and
those in need. Some younger students even go on alternating days, while high
schools remain closed.
People's gratitude at being
able to shop or eat out again is mingling with worries about job security. British
aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce announced plans to cut 9,000 workers as it
grapples with the collapse in air travel. In general, those jobs come with
good pay and benefits, and losing them is a sharp blow to local communities.
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
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.
David Barber, business
development specialist at Tyson Foods, was this week's
special guest on The Bottom
Line podcast. Mr. Barber joined The Bottom Line co-hosts Dana Connors of
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce and John Williams of Williams
Broadcasting to discuss the company's response to a COVID outbreak among
workers in Tyson's Barber Foods plant in Portland. The company's commitment
to their employees and their swift action, aided by Maine CDC, has set the
standard for how to manage a workplace outbreak.
To learn more, listen to the full
episode in the archived shows section of the
Maine State Chamber's website.
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, so fill your cup and join the
conversation from the comfort of your home.
YOU TO OUR SERIES SPONSORS:
Systems, Inc.; Central Maine Power Company; Maine Department of Economic
& Community Development; Northeast Delta Dental; Versant Power; VHB
Thursday, May 28
from 9:00 to 10:00 a.m.
Wednesday, June 3 from 9:00
to 10:00 a.m.
session is a program of
Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce
morning, in conjunction with the Bangor Region Chamber of Commerce, the Maine
State Chamber hosted our Bangor Area
Regional Breakfast, the third in our virtual update series. The Chamber's
Advocacy team reviewed the work of the session, prior to its abrupt
adjournment in mid-March, as well as making a few predictions about a
possible special session, the coming election season, and even how the 2021
session might look given the pandemic.
Thank you to our Series Sponsors listed
above and to the following sponsors of this morning's Coffee Hour: our Premier
Sponsor, Eaton Peabody; our Presenting Sponsors, Bangor Savings Bank, Emera
Maine, and Northern Light Health; and our Official Sponsors, MEMIC, Poland
Spring Water Company, and Sargent Corporation.
2020 Maine State Chamber Health Care Forum
Wednesday, May 27 | 10:00 to 11:15 a.m.
YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
Premier Sponsor: Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Sheild
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 Denise
McDonough, President of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine. Her presentation will focus on innovation
in the marketplace, and cost saving initiatives being undertaken by
Anthem. After that, there will be a
panel discussion that includes Kristine Ossenfort, Senior Government
Relations Director at Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, and the
Maine Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa, to discuss the legislative
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. Join us for what promises to
be an interesting and informative session.
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