Chamber News for June 4, 2020
To view this Daily Impact online, click here.
your COVID-19 Impact newsletter!
As a valued member of
the Maine State Chamber of Commerce, we plan to stay in touch with you
several times each week 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!
press release issued Monday, a group of hotel owners have asked Governor
Janet Mills and her administration to work with them to salvage
what is left of the 2020 tourist season. "Work
With ME" launched on Monday, with supporters
urging Gov. Mills to eliminate the 14-day quarantine and replace it with
responsible solutions to keep residents and visitors to Maine safe. The group
of owners represents properties serving 18 municipalities in 38 hotels with 3,175
employees. Several of the hotels associated with the "Work With ME" group
have been safely operating in Maine since the start of the COVID 19 pandemic.
have been actively trying to convey the extreme harm that the 14-day
quarantine requirement has and will continue to have on our economy from the
moment it was announced by Governor Mills," said Eben Salvatore, Director of
Operations at Bar Harbor Resorts. "We knew immediately it was going to have a
devastating effect on us and our entire state. Unfortunately everyone got to
see just how much trouble we are in over Memorial Day weekend. The few
restaurants that tried to operate in Bar Harbor for the Holiday weekend have
reported losses between 70-95% over last year. The pain is now real. Further
delays are digging a hole for our associates and business that may be
impossible to recover from."
"There is no question that we have the procedures and protocols to take extra measures to keep people safe," said Connie Russell, General Manager at the Samoset Resort in Rockport. "We have implemented very thorough and effective safety protocols designed to keep our employees, customers, and the communities we operate in as safe as possible. The mandate of a 14-day quarantine for every out-of-state visitor is not workable and is helping to destroy Maine's economy. Having a responsible plan allowing for common sense actions to be taken to ensure safety is a very achievable goal, but time is not on our side. We have to act now. We call on Governor Mills to work with us and lift the quarantine immediately."
Maine's hospitality sector had a statewide economic contribution, including
multiplier effects, of an estimated $6.9 billion in output, 79,000 full- and
part-time jobs, and $2.2 billion in labor income, according to a study
released last fall.
"There is a balance between keeping our population healthy and keeping our economy healthy," said Russell. "The tourism industry cares about the people of this state as much as anyone. Our industry consulted National CDC guidelines and prepared plans to safely and responsibly operate our hotels, motels and lodging establishments with safety measures that exceed requirements. We are prepared to protect our guests and our employees and do our part to preserve Maine's economy. We're quickly running out of time. We're asking Governor Mills to immediately end the fourteen-day quarantine and allow us the chance to provide responsible commerce."
TAKE ACTION! "Work with ME" is not looking for financial support, but simply the support of Maine's people. Please visit www.WorkWithMaine.com to review their plan and add your voice to this coalition, and like/follow their Facebook page for updates. As you know, time is of the essence.
In Light of Data Trends,
Mills Administration Accelerates Business Openings in Rural Counties
Department of Economic and Community Development posts
additional COVID-19 Prevention Checklists and continues its work on a
proposed plan for the tourism season
The Mills Administration today
business reopenings under the Governor's rural reopening plan.
Under the update, in 13 counties, tasting rooms and bars may open for outside
service and gyms and fitness centers, nail salons, and tattoo and piercing
parlors may open with added health and safety precautions beginning on
Friday, June 12th. These establishments may reopen everywhere in all counties
except for York, Cumberland, and Androscoggin Counties.
This update accelerates the
reopening of bars and tasting rooms for outside service, as well as the
reopening of tattoo and piercing parlors, all which were originally scheduled
to reopen statewide as part of Stage 3 (July 1). It also allows gyms and
fitness centers as well as nail salons to resume operations in these 13
counties. These updates come in light of low case count trends in these
thirteen counties where the relative small number of cases has largely either
remained steady or decreased. Consistent with past practice, these businesses
must comply with added health and safety precautions in the form of COVID-19
Prevention Checklists as a condition of voluntary reopening.
The developments come as the
Mills Administration also works to provide an alternative to the State's
14-day quarantine that seeks to protect the health and safety of Maine people
and allow tourists to visit Maine safely and support our small businesses.
The Department of Economic and
Community Development also posted statewide Stage 2 COVID-19
Prevention Checklists today for businesses. Additionally, in response to
feedback from businesses and public health experts, the Department has updated
guidance for some businesses that are already open. The checklists, written
in close collaboration with industry leaders and public health experts,
outline health and safety guidance that businesses and activity organizers
must commit to comply with in order to reopen as part of the Administration's
Economy Plan. DECD has also added individual sectors that may safely
operate utilizing existing checklists for clarity purposes. Examples include
photography and film businesses may operate utilizing the "general guidance"
and mini-golf may operate using the "community sports" checklist.
* Driver Education Schools
* Gyms and Fitness Centerso
* Tattoo and Piercing Parlors
* Barbering and Cosmetology Schools
* Inland Fish and Wildlife Outdoor Activities
* Specific Guidance for Charter Boats instead of using
Thank you for doing
Governor's Economic Recovery
Committee | Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Subcommittee Schedule
The Governor's Economic
Recovery Committee (ERC) is engaging economic experts and industry
representatives from across Maine to develop specific policy recommendations
to stabilize the state's economy and build a bridge to future prosperity in
the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. All
meetings of the Committee and the subcommittees are open to the public. The
public is encouraged to comment via this online
portal. Submissions can be targeted by topic area and will be sent to the
relevant subcommittees. In addition, members of the public who wish to
contact Committee staff may email EconomicRecoveryCommittee@maine.gov.
The ERC's Tourism, Hospitality
& Retail subcommittee will be meeting with the following schedule until
Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (June
3 until July 16) | You may register
once for this webinar and attend any of its scheduled occurrences. After
registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information
about joining the webinar.
Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. (June
5 until July 17) | You may register
once for this webinar and attend any of its scheduled occurrences. After
registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about
joining the webinar.
Community COVID-19 Testing
The Mount Desert Islander
reported yesterday that, while the details differ, both the state and a Downeast
task force have drafted
plans to use increased testing for the new coronavirus as a way to move
toward easing restrictions on travel, business and other activities. As peak
visitation season nears, all eyes have been on Governor Janet Mills, whose
executive order requiring that out-of-state visitors quarantine for 14 days
has drawn outcry from the lodging industry.
The state proposal, circulated
for industry feedback this week, is to allow visitors who can prove they've
recently tested negative for COVID-19 to forego the 14-day quarantine.
The Downeast COVID-19 task
force plan, by contrast, focuses on symptomatic testing; contact tracing for
non-residents, which members said is a gap in the current state CDC process;
and paid leave and quarantine for employees who test positive, and those
they've come in contact with.
Thursday, June 4 | The
Bottom Line Podcast
Hewins, president and CEO of Hospitality Maine
Steve Hewins, president and CEO of Hospitality Maine, 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 tourism sector and their proposal for safely reopening that key
part of the state's economy.
To listen to the recording,
please visit The
Bottom Line page on the Maine State Chamber's website.
Webinar on WorkShare:
An Alternative to Layoffs
Tuesday, June 16 | 2:00
p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
The next presentation in our
webinar series explores how employers may be able to avoid layoffs by
choosing the WorkShare alternative. In lieu of a layoff, employers can
temporarily reduce work hours in a particular unit, shift or company from 10%
to 50%. To help offset the loss of hours, the affected workers can receive a
modified weekly unemployment benefit. Join us to learn more about this
program and how it might work for your business. Our presenters for this
webinar are Commissioner Laura Fortman and Deputy Commissioner Kim Smith of
the Maine Department of Labor.
WEBINAR 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.
Broadband Grants to Seven Maine Communities
On Tuesday, June 2, ConnectMaine
Authority announced that its Board has approved
$554,500 in grants to seven communities across Maine for broadband infrastructure
and planning. ConnectMaine is providing infrastructure grants to the
communities of Argyle, Bremen, and Hudson, bringing fiber-optic service to
982 locations in those three communities. The grants are matched by
$1,187,005 from the communities being served and the ISP building out the
ConnectMaine is also providing
$53,250 in grants to Swans Island, Litchfield, East Grand Lake Region, and
Sanford for community broadband planning. These grants are designed to help
engage communities, identifying needs and engage potential broadband service
providers to expand the availability of broadband to their area. These grants
are matched by $63,250 from the communities seeking funding.
Maine's Higher Education
Leaders Propose Principles for Safe Fall Reopening
Higher Education in Maine planning for a safe fall return
to campus and meeting essential scholarship and service functions of the $4.5
billion sector of the state's economy.
Campus leaders commit to partnering with state and public
health leaders on strategies that improve safety and limit the spread of
Covid-19 on campuses and in Maine communities.
This afternoon, Maine's higher
education leaders released a collaborative statement of principles for safely
reopening their campuses this fall that summarizes the $4.5 billion
impact and essential functions of the state's 38 colleges and universities. The
for Reopening Maine's Colleges and Universities in Fall 2020 includes
strategies and practices that can be implemented in partnership with civil
and public health leaders to improve safety on campus and limit the spread of
The framework serves as a
guide for decision-making by institutions and for informing collaboration
with state and public health partners. It includes six guiding principles for
the safe reopening of Maine institutions of higher education as well as
detailed topics and factors for further consideration. The framework commits
Maine's colleges and universities to periodic consultation and collaboration
across the sector and with public partners.
The plan has also been shared
with U.S. Senator Susan Collins in advance of today's U.S. Senate Committee
on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing, Covid-19:
Going Back to College Safely.
Mainers Helping Mainers
and Maine Businesses
For more information
Since the start of the
COVID-19 pandemic, Mainers are coming together in countless ways to support
one another, our communities, Maine employers and their employees. The Maine
State Chamber recently launched a public awareness campaign, This is ME Counting on You,
encouraging all Mainers to do their part to stop the spread of COVID-19.
Maine employers are doing
their part. We are counting on each and every Maine individual to also act
safely and responsibly so Maine reopens successfully, we can all get back to
business, Maine people can get back to work, and Maine's economic recovery
We are excited to report that
the effort's PSA is now
airing on both cable and Maine Public television stations across the state.
We hope you will check the
website's Resources page
for free floor stickers, printable posters with safe practice reminders to
hang in your workplace, and more. Please like and follow the initiative on Facebook, and feel free
to share what your organization and employees are doing related to safety
practices associated with COVID-19 using the hashtag #MECountingOnYou.
The Maine State Chamber is
also proud to partner with the Portland
Regional Chamber on Pay It
Forward Maine, a collaborative community initiative and website
containing an ever-growing library of ideas, tools, and resources for Mainers
to support businesses, organizations, each other, and themselves during this pandemic.
With shifting timelines and
continuously evolving guidelines as Maine begins the re-opening process, many
businesses are still feeling the strain of lost revenue and uncertain
futures. They need our support more than ever.
Be sure to check the Pay It
Forward Maine website, listen to
their radio PSA which you can find on the website, and share social media posts
of your organization and others that are open (and how) with the hashtag
#PayItForwardMaine so that we can all support them.
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.
How to Support the New "Work
from Home" Model
business leaders share "Work-from-Home" strategies, safe workplace return
protocols, and the economic opportunity remote work presents
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce, in
partnership with Educate Maine, hosted
a webinar today focused on maintaining business continuity in the new
work-from-home model and the economic opportunity remote work presents for
Maine. Panelists Matt McGrath, president & CEO of Systems Engineering, and
Laurie Mitchell, assistant vice president of global wellbeing and health
management for Unum, shared what is
working well for their companies to keep employees engaged while working
remotely, strategies for safely returning to the workplace, and the future of
the work-from-home model. Nate Wildes, executive director of Live + Work in Maine,
discussed how Maine can use remote work opportunities as one way to attract
people to live and work in Maine, and how this can benefit Maine's
Megan Diver, senior government relations specialist at the Maine State Chamber, said "The best practices and strategies presenters shared - and their emphasis on the need for agility and resilience - are crucial to the wellbeing of Maine businesses and their employees during the pandemic and are a valuable resource for all employers, whether in a time of crisis or not. We greatly appreciate the insights our presenters shared today."
Special thanks to Unum,
Systems Engineering, Live + Work in Maine, Educate Maine, and to our Webinar Series
Sponsors: Bangor Savings Bank, Central Maine Power Company, and Maine
Department of Economic and Community Development. Please click here to view the
one-hour recording of today's webinar.
Recap | Maine State
Chamber's Regional Breakfast Series, A Virtual Update
On Wednesday morning, June 3,
the Kennebec Valley Chamber of Commerce hosted the Maine State Chamber's
Augusta Area Regional Coffee Hour, the last in our virtual update series. The Chamber's
Advocacy team reviewed the work of the legislative session prior to its
abrupt adjournment in mid-March, and made 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:
Casella Waste Systems, Inc.; Central Maine Power Company; Maine Department of Economic & Community Development; Northeast Delta Dental; Versant Power; VHB
Webinar Recap | 2020 Maine
State Chamber Health Care Forum
On Wednesday, May 27, the
Maine State Chamber hosted its annual Health Care Forum. The webinar provided
attendees with entensive detail, information and insight from our panel of
experts - Denise McDonough, president of Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in
Maine; Kristine Ossenfort, senior government relations director at Anthem
Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine; and, Eric Cioppa, superintendent of the
Maine Bureau of Insurance, one of five agencies within the state's Department
of Professional and Financial Regulation.
The conversation centered on the changing nature of coverage in Maine, both through legislation and through innovation. McDonough discussed the innovation in the marketplace and cost-saving initiatives being undertaken by Anthem. From their unique perspectives on the Maine insurance marketplace, Ossenfort and Cioppa discussed the legislative events of this past session and the policy changes enacted by lawmakers that are likely to impact the individual and small group markets in terms of policies, coverage, and price.
THANK YOU TO OUR SPONSORS:
Program Sponsors: Cross Insurance
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