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Resources for Re-Opening

  • 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

Updates (May 8th) allow:

  • Retail stores to open to public (with precautions and limited customers) as of Mon, May 11th
  • Restaurants to open to Indoor & Outdoor seating (with precautions & limitations) as of Mon. May 18th
  • Campgrounds and exercise businesses to open for Outdoor activities (with precautions) as of Mon, May 18th (Checklists coming mid-May)
  • FMI: contact Maine Dept of Economic & Community Development at 1-800-872-3838 or 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
  • 8. Non-Governmental Grants for Small Businesses – the Chamber is maintaining a listing of grants from businesses and foundations meant to assist small businesses. See the Grant Tracking spreadsheet here, and check back often for any new finds!
  • 9. 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

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Where to eat, play, stay and just hang out. A great resource for finding out what’s happening and what’s special about visiting and living in Waldo County. It’s all here in the 2020 Belfast & the Wonders of Waldo County magazine—the official publication of the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce!

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