Resources for Re-Opening
- An Economic Recovery Grant Program to support Maine small businesses has been launched as part of the state’s COVID-19 response. The Grants are meant to provide financial relief for businesses and non-profit organizations that incurred business disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are intended to help sustain the viability of Maine’s small businesses and nonprofits – not to replace lost profits. In order to avoid a competitive rush for awards, the grants will not be distributed on a first-come, first served basis. Instead, businesses and nonprofit organizations can apply for a grant beginning August 21, 2020 through September 9, 2020 with awards made in early October.
Maine Office of Tourism “Wear a Mask” posters are available in two sizes that are printable. While you are not required to use these, they can be helpful as they have the state seal and are clearly government issued.
11 X 17: https://motpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Wear_A_Mask_Poster_11x17.pdf
8.5 x 11: https://motpartners.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Wear_A_Mask_Poster_8.5×11.pdf
MOT also released the lodging Certificate of Compliance in a fillable form format found here.
DE-ESCALATION TRAINING COURSE – HospitalityMaine is offering a free training for their industry on De-escalation, or the skills for calming a tense situation before it gets out-of-hand. We think this could be useful for any business setting. Understanding de-escalation skills in the hospitality workplace has become especially important during COVID-19. De-escalation is a tool that is used in situations where someone may be at risk for aggressive behavior. The goal of de-escalation is to prevent potential conflicts from developing and reduce levels of agitation that may exist.
- Gov. Mills issued a new order July 8th that requires retailers with more than 50,000 feet of retail space, lodging businesses, restaurants, outdoor bars and tasting rooms in Waldo County & elsewhere around Maine to enforce an earlier state mandate for customers and staff to wear masks. State & Local licensing sanctions may be incurred – State Press Release 7/8/2020
CUSTOMERS SAY SOCIAL DISTANCING & PRECAUTIONS MATTER – In a poll of downtown Maine shoppers & diners, 40% to 65% of consumers say they factor social distancing and masking into their business patronage decisions. – MaineBiz June 26, 2020
- State Retail Industry Guidelines have been updated, including more relaxed customer limits by square footage – June 19, 2020
- NY, NJ and CT visitors do NOT need 14-Day Quarantine, effective July 3rd!! (NH & VT still do not, either!) July 1, 2020
- Lodging Guidelines – document on the options for Out-of-State Visitors to Maine (except from NH & VT), including 14-Day Self-Quarantine and Test Certification – Maine DECD June 24, 2020
- Lodging Guidelines for Out-of-State Visitors to Maine, including 14-Day In-Lodging Quarantine and Test Certification- from ME Office of Tourism – June 8, 2020
- Certificate of Compliance that guests of all lodging establishments must sign has been finalized – June 15, 2020
- Gov. updated Rural Reopening Plan accelerates timelines and provides checklists – May 8, 2020
- Gov. Mills has prepared a plan to gradually and safely restart Maine’s economy. The plan establishes four gradual stages of reopening, the first of which begins on May 1st. – April 28, 2020
FMI: contact Maine Dept of Economic & Community Development at 1-800-872-3838 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Legal tips from Verrill Dana’s employment and labor group, for businesses on how to protect themselves from a potential coronavirus-related lawsuit after they reopen.
Resources for Business Assistance
- CARES Act (passed March 27, 2020 & replenished April 24th)
- 1. Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to help Maine businesses overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to the novel coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19. Maine is one of the first states in the country to be approved, and Maine small business owners can now begin applying for these loans. Less than $25,000 does not require collateral.
- 2. PPP – Paycheck Protection Program (part of the CARES Act 3/31/20) has created a large fund for forgivable loans if used to maintain Payroll and cover a few other allowed operating costs.
- The SBA toll-free line has been established to answer questions at 1-800-659-2955.
- Assistance filing applications is available at:
- 3. Staff Layoff Assistance / Unemployment Insurance – those employees who are being laid off due to the consequences of the public health crisis should file for Unemployment benefits online.
- Link for Employees to file for Unemployment benefits LINK It is not advised to enter a return-to-work date when employees are filing, as nobody really knows.
- Or see this real-life guide through the process compiled by Belfast’s Mike Hurley.
- 4. Mainestream Finance’s Business Booster Loan supports Maine’s small businesses during COVID-19. They focus particularly on the sole-proprietors and the self-employed in Maine who may not have accessed other SBA programs, such as the PPP and EIDL loans. Up to $10,000 to cover up to two months of working capital/operating expenses.
- 5. Sole Proprietor Loan Program – $5,000 per award, up to three awards; apply through your bank (loan guaranteed by State)
- 6. City of Belfast “Keep the Faith” Fund Small Business Grant Program provides $500 grants as relief to businesses located in Belfast that have had to close or experienced a significant reduction in business since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- 7. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the U.S. Department of Labor announced that small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing Coronavirus-related leave. See more HERE
- IRS announced on March 23rd that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, trusts and estates, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax. Read more here
- Maine Revenue Services – the State will extend the deadline for Maine income tax payments from April 15, 2020 to July 15, 2020. The change aligns with the Federal government’s recent extension of the Federal tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. For questions about Maine income tax, contact Maine Revenue Services (MRS) at (207) 626-8475 or visit the MRS website at www.maine.gov/revenue.
- 8. For Non-Profits, United Midcoast Charities has established a Rapid Response Fund that will funnel 100% of all donations received as support to local nonprofits that are meeting the immediate needs of individuals seeking help in Knox and Waldo counties. The fund is intended to provide stopgap support and anticipates the likelihood that local nonprofits will find themselves under-resourced to serve a growing demand for their services. Donations are now being accepted toward this fund HERE.
Who Can Help You?