Edition for Monday, June 8, 2020
To view this edition of Impact online,
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!
The Maine State Chamber of Commerce's Commitment to
Equality, Equity, and Opportunity for All
Maine State Chamber of Commerce is saddened by recent events in our country
involving racial injustice. The Maine State Chamber opposes any form of
injustice or discrimination in no uncertain terms. Our commitment to equality
and equity for all is unwavering.
national discussion about racial justice and equity is important and more
relevant than ever in Maine due to our state's increasingly diverse
population. The Maine State Chamber welcomes this diversity and all new
Mainers, including the thousands of immigrants and refugees who now call
Maine home. They are an important part of our communities and economy. They
and all Maine minority groups have our support now more than ever.
Maine State Chamber also supports those who are exercising their right to
demonstrate peacefully. Their voices need to be heard. We encourage
demonstrators to stay safe and protect each other, as well as Maine
businesses, who are navigating the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis and
working to reopen.
We hope that out of this traumatic time comes a renewed dedication in Maine and the country to abolish any form of inequality, injustice, or discrimination toward any person or group. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere."
Maine State Chamber is committed to doing our part to ensure the tragic
events and significance of this time are not overlooked, and that Maine's
business community strengthens its commitment to equality, equity, and
opportunity for all.
Wold, Board Chair
Mills Administration Announces Expansion of COVID-19
Plan furthers IDEXX partnership to
quadruple testing capacity in July, advances swab-and-send site development,
and makes testing available to more Maine people, including out-of-state
Mills Administration announced today that it will quadruple COVID-19 testing
capacity at the State lab, develop testing sites throughout Maine, and allow
more people in Maine with an elevated risk of exposure to get tested for the
virus. The expanded testing capacity will come online in July.
to a press release, the plan announced today will bolster
capacity further through the following steps:
* Creating a New Mobile Laboratory: DHHS
and IDEXX are expanding their existing partnership to expand the State's laboratory capacity
through a new mobile laboratory to be stationed at the State's Health and
Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) in Augusta. As a result of this new
capacity, starting in July, the State lab will be able to process an
additional 25,000 tests a week, quadrupling current capacity. This added
capacity is made possible through purchasing at least 350,000 additional test
kits, bringing on IDEXX personnel, and the new mobile lab, which will serve
as an extension of HETL. The initiative is supported by federal funding. DHHS
expects to finalize a contract with IDEXX in the coming week.
* Creating "Swab and Send" Sites:
DHHS will utilize this added capacity by developing 20 "swab and
send" locations across Maine to ensure that 90 percent of residents can
get tested within 30 minutes of their home. These 20 sites will complement
the roughly 40 current testing sites available to the public. This week, DHHS
will formally invite applications for federal grant funding to support the establishment of these
specimen collection sites and testing of their samples at HETL. This greater
access to safe and accessible testing will also extend to tourists, seasonal
workers, and other visitors to Maine.
* Making Testing Available to More People
in Maine: Today, DHHS is issuing a standing order allowing most people in
Maine with elevated risk to get a COVID-19 test without the need for a
separate order from a health care provider. This means individuals can seek
testing even if they don't have a primary care provider or a written order
from a clinician if they face a higher risk of exposure, with or without
experiencing symptoms. This could include: health care workers and first
responders, seasonal and migrant farm workers, people experiencing
homelessness, visitors from other states with a higher prevalence of the
virus, and employees of congregate living facilities such as nursing homes,
lodging establishments, grocery stores and other businesses who have direct,
daily contact with the public.
Administration also unveiled an alternative to the State's 14-day quarantine
requirement for people entering Maine. Keep Maine Healthy rests on three
cornerstones: 1) having visitors certify that they have received a recent
negative COVID-19 test to stay in lodging establishments, such as hotels, as
an alternative to quarantine; 2) increasing symptom checks at places where
visitors tend to go; and 3) supporting community promotion of COVID-19
prevention best practices and public health education. A new standing order and significantly expanded testing also aims to support
employees of Maine's tourism industry by ensuring they have access to
Thank you for doing
Help Those in Need at
Wednesday's "Distance Saves Lives" Portland Blood Drive
We are pleased to share that
our colleagues at the Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce are joining the
American Red Cross, MaineHealth, and several area businesses to support the "Distance
Saves Lives" blood drive from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. this Wednesday,
June 10 in Portland. Amidst the coronavirus epidemic, Maine communities are
facing a critical need for blood donations - an unprecedented number of blood
drive cancellations have resulted in 300,000 fewer blood donations.
Appointments are required. To schedule yours, click here, then select the red 'See
Times" button and submit the appointment time you would like to schedule. To
learn more about the "Distance Saves Lives" Blood Drive - and the
extra precautions blood drive staff will be taking, click
Thursday, June 11 | The
Bottom Line Podcast
Belyea, Chief Workforce Development Officer
Dan Belyea, chief
workforce development officer for the Maine Community College System, will be
this week's special guest on The Bottom Line podcast. He joins The Bottom Line co-hosts Dana Connors of the Maine State Chamber
of Commerce and John Williams of Williams Broadcasting to discuss the HospitalityMaine Covid19 Restaurant
a micro-credential certification created in conjunction with Eastern Maine
Community College and designed to support the State of Maine's Prevention Checklist
for Restaurants. The course provides fundamental information needed to help
keep employees safe and empower them to mentor and inform guests
so they also follow the best practices.
Commission Postpones Commemorative Events To 2021
Delay builds excitement for events when "The 2-0-7 Turns 2-0-1"
Due to uncertainty and safety
concerns surrounding public gatherings during the current COVID-19 pandemic
situation, the Maine
Bicentennial Commission is postponing its commemoration to 2021.
All Maine Bicentennial Commission signature events and programs originally
scheduled for the bicentennial year of 2020 are now postponed to 2021.
Tentative dates, pending any pandemic restrictions in place at that time, are
* Maine Statehood Day Ceremony: Sunday, March 14, 2021, Augusta
* State of Maine Bicentennial Parade Presented by Poland Spring:
Saturday, May 15, 2021, Cities of Lewiston and Auburn
* Sailing Ships events: Summer 2021 (various dates), ports along
the Maine coast
* Maine200 Innovation Expo Presented by Central Maine Power:
Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, Portland
* Maine200 Time Capsule sealing ceremony, Fall 2021, Location TBD
Meanwhile, the commission is
reviewing applications for the final round of the Maine Bicentennial
Community Grant Program and will soon announce the recipients. The commission
has awarded a total of $574,545 in grants
through this program so far, allowing communities and organizations across
the State to plan events and programs that recognize Maine's bicentennial.
The commission has extended the period for grant recipients to realize their
plans through 2021, as part of the postponed commemoration.
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
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.
Covid-19 Disruption of
Summer Employment and Internships Prompts Free Resilience Badge Offer for
University of Maine System Students
Demonstrated proficiencies are the future of candidate
assessment and social-media engaged professional networking. The free 21st century skill Resilience
Badge provides incoming and existing students an opportunity to start
building an industry-recognized set of proficiencies
University of Maine System is
offering existing and incoming students a chance to improve
their resiliency skills and earn an industry-recognized digital
badge of proficiency that employers use to assess candidate skill sets. Initiated by the Career Services offices at
Maine's public universities, the free offer to earn a 21st
century skill Resilience Badge comes in response to lost
student employment and internship opportunities resulting from Covid-19.
Participating students will
have an opportunity to learn and practice a 21st century skill valued by
employers, demonstrate proficiency through a workplace challenge, and claim
and share their badge on resumes and Linkedin profiles. The University of Maine System was selected
to participate in the Education
Design Lab's BadgedToHire campaign, funded by the Lumina Foundation.
Employer partners include Bangor Saving Bank, Northern Light Health, and Bath
Iron Works. Registration for
the free, online course begins June 2 for any learner with a university email
address. The self-paced course on resiliency takes about 15 hours to complete
and will be available throughout the summer.
Four Portland Businesses
Change Licenses To Reopen Earlier
Four bars and tasting rooms in Portland have changed their
state licensing so they qualify as restaurants and can reopen in June.
The Portland Press Herald
reported today that, while bars and tasting rooms have not been allowed to
reopen in Cumberland, York and Androscoggin counties because of continuing
concerns about coronavirus risks, four
businesses in Portland have found a way to start serving drinks
again despite the state's broad restrictions.
Novare Res, Sagamore Hill
Lounge, Tomaso's Canteen and Rising Tide Brewing, which were all previously
licensed as Class A lounges, have been issued restaurant licenses, allowing
them to reopen before other bars and brew pubs. According to the licensing
and housing safety manager for the city of Portland, Jessica Hanscombe, the
businesses that have been allowed to open all met the state requirements to
downgrade their licenses from Class A lounges. Hanscombe said the state is
allowing the changes.
Anticipating Farm Labor
Shortages, Maine Ad Campaign Targets Newly Unemployed
Today, Mainebiz reported that the Maine Department of Agriculture,
Conservation and Forestry and the Department of Labor have
teamed up with the Wild Blueberry Commission, Maine Dairy Industry
Association and Maine Aquaculture Association to introduce FarmingForME
(#FarmingForME), an agricultural labor awareness campaign.
The initiative responds to the
COVID-19 pandemic and to longstanding agricultural labor supply problems,
according to a news release. The campaign seeks to fill possible agricultural
labor voids with workers from within the state, providing seasonal employment
to the recently unemployed and allowing Maine's food production to continue
full steam ahead.
campaign began June 3 and includes emails, social media marketing
and graphic materials to create word-of-mouth awareness. The initiative encourages
employers and job-seekers to take advantage of the free use of the Maine
JobLink platform, a web-based
job-matching and labor market information system.
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.
Providing Books to Maine
Maine educators were recently surveyed about critical needs of their students. Books were highlighted as a top priority for students of all ages. Supporting reading is essential for students to continue to thrive in schools. Making certain that our students, particularly our youngest readers, have easy access to books during the end of the school year and throughout the summer is crucial for preventing summer slide.
Even with yeoman-like efforts
by Maine teachers and a hands-on approach from the Maine Department of
Education to ensure all Maine students have been able to continue learning
remotely during the pandemic, we know that learning over these past few
months has inevitably been disrupted. In addition to the school year
disruption, student achievement often widens during the summer, an outcome
referred to as summer slide. Summer slide accounts for as much as 85 percent
of the reading achievement gap between lower income students and their
middle- and upper-income peers. Providing students with appropriate books
will help address this challenge. Not only does summer reading enable
students to continue practicing foundational skills, but it opens the world
to students through stories and knowledge building around topics of interest. We need your help to ensure students across
our 16 counties have access to books, an essential commodity.
Here are a few ways you can
support Maine students:
1 2020 Maine Books Challenge: Educate Maine is leading this
initiative to provide students with books while supporting local bookstores.
You can purchase an online or physical gift card at one of Maine's
independent bookstores. Every $10 donation provides a book for a Maine
student. Every donation will be matched by the Law Offices of Joe Bornstein
up to $5,000. Teachers across Maine will help coordinate book distribution to
students. If interested in supporting this effort, please email Katherine at firstname.lastname@example.org.
2 Scholastic Books: This company has offered significant discounts
to help get books to Maine students. For example, a $1000 donation can
support 300 books for 100 students. A $5000 donation can support 1,500 books
for 500 students. If interested in supporting this effort, please email Megan
Diver at email@example.com.
3 Community Book Donations: Gently used books are also needed
across Maine. We are seeking community drop off spots at local employers
throughout the 16 counties. If your business is interested in becoming a
location for books to be collected, please email Megan Diver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Books will be distributed to
students directly through their schools and at local meal sites throughout
the summer. Additional information about summer literacy initiatives can be
Thank you for supporting Maine students.
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