As you are well-aware, the situation related to Coronavirus changes hourly. We are in unprecedented and uncertain times, on the front lines of history perhaps! Mainers come from tough stock and excel at working together in times of crisis. The Maine State Chamber of Commerce and Maine’s regional and local chambers of commerce are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation.
The staff of the Maine State Chamber will be reaching out to check in with our members in the coming weeks, to better understand the impact and issues before us, and to better address your needs and concerns in the months ahead. We have also created a clearinghouse of information and resources for you on our website, https://www.mainechamber.org/covid19.html, and plan to use social media and email blasts regularly to make sure you have everything you need as we weather this pandemic together.
Aggressive action to fight the spread of COVID-19 is critical to the health and safety of all Maine people. The chamber of commerce community is working together and with state and local officials, under the leadership of Governor Janet Mills (https://www.maine.gov/governor/mills/covid-19), to also mitigate the impact of the virus on businesses to ensure the health of Maine's economy. I’d also like to express my appreciation to the 129th Maine Legislature for focusing on the issues before them – passing the emergency package in the supplemental budget, recognizing the pandemic’s impact on our education system, and setting aside money for pandemic recovery efforts and the Budget Stabilization Fund, as well as allotting funds for infrastructure bonds for transportation/broadband needs, which will be sent to voters for approval in an upcoming election.
The governor’s office and the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) continue to encourage employers to limit non-essential travel and meetings and events. Wherever possible, employees are urged to work remotely. Many Maine businesses are already taking these precautions.
Additionally, many businesses are adapting to new ways to deliver goods and services by offering delivery, curbside, and takeout options, amidst curfews and gathering notices. These local business need our support! Many of them do not have the ability to work remotely and currently are making decisions as to how they can continue to serve their customers and clients while prioritizing everyone’s health and safety. Please consider taking some of the following steps to support local businesses and small business owners:
The entire Maine chamber community, more than 30 of whom met via conference call on Monday, is hard at work compiling resources and information aimed at helping Maine employers make sound and well-informed decisions for their operations, employees and customers. Maine CDC for Business (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/guidance-business-response.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fspecific-groups%2Fguidance-business-response.html) and 211Maine (https://211maine.org) are excellent immediate resources. Local and regional chambers are also working to identify creative solutions to help support Maine businesses until the COVID-19 pandemic is resolved.
The State Chamber and regional and local chambers will continue to regularly update members on pertinent developments. Today, we'd like to share these items with you:
It is critical that Maine people and employers prepare, not panic, during this time, and that the business community comes together to support one another and all Maine people. Our state has been tried before and we have proven our resilience. We are incredibly heartened by the generous contributions many companies are already making to help our citizens and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. These businesses are a ray of light and we are proud to serve them.
Wishing you good health in uncertain times,
Dana Connors, President and CEO
Maine State Chamber of Commerce