INFO-SHARE for Maine Made Members
In the midst of COVID-19 and rapidly developing response mechanisms we recognize the need to share the most up to date information with our member community.
Our partner organizations have done a phenomenal job of putting together lists of resources to help you find tools and information relevant to your situation. Rather than re-create the wheel, we’re posting links to their pages. Please check back often as partner links are updated frequently as information becomes available.
If you’ve got an idea, question, or resource to share, please join our Maine Made Member Resources Facebook Group.
As always, we remain committed to our member community and are reachable via phone and email.
We are Mainers. We are resilient. We will get through this.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Mills Administration Updates Plan to Restart Maine’s Economy
Maine people can enjoy campgrounds this Memorial Day Weekend; State delays full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons
The Mills Administration announced today the following updates to its plan to restart Maine’s economy: 1) Maine residents may enjoy campgrounds beginning Memorial Day weekend; and 2) the Administration is delaying the full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons in light of emerging research and experiences in other states of COVID-19 transmission related to these establishments. MORE>>
From the Maine Bureau of Unemployment Compensation
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) provides unemployment coverage for the self-employed and others not normally covered by state unemployment insurance. PUA was created through the federal CARES Act and provides up to 39 weeks of benefits through December 26, 2020.
Applications for PUA will open on Friday, May 1. Beginning Friday, people who have been self-employed should do the following:
- Create a ReEmployME account
- Verify your email address in ReEmployME – click on the Benefit Maintenance menu and follow the instructions to receive a confirming email
- Sign up for direct deposit – also through the Benefit Maintenance menu. This is faster than the debit card option
- File your PUA claim – through the Unemployment Claim menu
- File your weekly certification for any weeks after your loss of employment
- Continue filing your weekly certification every week
Anyone who is not self-employed should follow the traditional process of applying for benefits. Visit www.maine.gov/unemployment for more information.
Who is eligible for PUA?
- Download the checklist (PDF)
New National Artist/Creative Worker Relief Fund and Survey
As you know, Americans for the Arts is deeply committed to supporting the arts across America. Today, a consortium of funders announced the creation of the Artist Relief Fund, a $10 million national emergency relief fund for artists and creative workers that will provide $5,000 no-strings-attached grants. It is intended for anyone who earns income from their creative or artistic practice and who has also been affected by COVID-19.
Americans for the Arts is proud to have been brought on as the research partner in that effort, and in that role was asked to develop and deploy the COVID-19 Impact Survey for Artists and Creative Workers, which is designed to capture financial and creative impact of COVID-19 on creative workers, highlight the resiliency and generosity of the creative sector, and make sure that the 5 million creative workers in the U.S. are supported and heard during this ongoing crisis and the eventual recovery. This new survey is a counterpart to our ongoing Economic Impact of Coronavirus (COVID-19) on Arts and Cultural Organizations survey, which over 11,000 organizations have completed to date.
We invite you to share the Artist Relief Fund webpage and funding application, as well as the survey, with any artists or creative workers you know who have been negatively impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis. In addition to ensuring creative workers can sustain their practice, our goal in collecting this data is to provide research that will support our Federal policy efforts in the next phase of stimulus and COVID-19 recovery; policies that are specific to individual creative workers.
Governor Mills Announces new measures to control the spread of COVID-19
Governor Mills Launches New Online Resource Outlining Ways Mainers Can Help Mainers During COVID-19 Pandemic
Augusta, MAINE — In response to the extraordinary generosity of Maine people, businesses, and organizations looking to help during these challenging times, Governor Janet Mills today launched a new online resource, coronavirus.maine.gov/mainehelps, to outline ways in which Maine people can support efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The kindness and generosity of Maine people during this challenging time is nothing short of inspiring. I want to thank all of you for stepping up with innovative solutions to ensure your neighbors and fellow citizens have what they need,” said Governor Mills. “This resource will help those looking to lend a hand and encourage more Maine people to target their skills, resources, and time in the most effective and safe ways to do the most good for our state.”
The new resource, which will be updated regularly, outlines four predominate ways Maine people can address immediate needs: 1) financial assistance; 2) health care and medical assistance; 3) small business assistance; and 4) connections with family, friends, and neighbors.
Via Maine SBDC
From Maine Department of Labor
The Maine Department of Labor just wanted to share some more information for unemployment claimants, such as frequently asked questions and resources:
A significant number of individuals are filing unemployment insurance (UI) claims and reaching out to the Maine Department of Labor with questions as Mainers lose work due to COVID-19, the novel coronavirus.
To help those accessing the unemployment system, the Department urges all to review these tips for common questions and follow the links:
If you are unsure if you will be eligible for unemployment, we encourage you to apply. MDOL will review your application and make a case-by-case determination about eligibility. It is best to apply online; the system is available 24/7 (https://reemployme.maine.gov/).
MDOL has waived the work search requirement through May 14, consistent with the current duration of the temporary emergency unemployment insurance provisions signed by the Governor.
After the initial week that you file a claim, you must continue to file on a weekly basis.
The new measures are not intended to provide sick leave or short-term disability payments.
The waiting week has been waived as a result of the new UI legislation. If your account indicates that you have a waiting week, don’t worry, ignore it. The system is being updated to reflect the new changes.
If your work was affected by COVID-19 the week of March 15 but you have been unable to file your claim for unemployment benefits yet, your initial claim will be accepted through the week of March 23. If eligible, you will not lose the previous weeks’ benefits.
The UI system allows two attempts to enter a password correctly; if you try a 3rd time your account will be locked. If you are unsure of your password (or have already tried twice), use “Forgot Password” link. A new temporary password will be generated and sent to the email address on file in your account. If you are locked out due to an incorrect password, CareerCenter staff can help you reset it: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml
If you live in Maine but work in a different state, and need to apply for unemployment, you apply in the state where your employer is located.
If you do not have access to a computer or the internet, you can call 1-800-593-7660 between 8 a.m. and 12:15 p.m. Monday-Friday. If you just need help resetting your account password, you can contact a CareerCenter by phone or live-chat for assistance: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml
The Department recommends filing a claim on a computer, rather than a cellphone.
If you have a question that requires speaking to an unemployment representative, messages can be left here: https://www.maine.gov/labor/contact/index.html. Messages sent there are logged and responded to in the order they are received, so no need to send multiple messages. Responses may take several days due to the high influx of questions.
UI Claims can be filed online or by phone at: https://reemployme.maine.gov/or 1-800-593-7660. The Department provides unemployment filing free of charge; individuals should never be asked to pay a fee to file a claim.
Maine Department of Labor (Department)’s Unemployment Insurance Program provides partial wage replacement for workers who experience job layoff, loss or reduction in hours through no fault of their own. Those applying must be able and available and looking for work. Governor Mills’ emergency COVID-19 legislation, signed into law March 18, enacted temporary measures will help relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and medically-necessary quarantine created by COVID-19 by making unemployment benefits available to individuals who would have otherwise been able and available to work and who maintain contact with their employers. Anyone who has filed for unemployment benefits on or after March 15 will be reviewed under these new temporary measures.
For more information and resources, visit the Department’s COVID-19 page: https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/, and follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.
A Special Offer to our Members from Downeast Magazine.
It’s important to us to help support our advertisers, partners, and friends during this trying time. In response to the pandemic affecting our communities and businesses, we’re building a list of local vendors to share with our readers so they know how they can support your business at this time. If you are interested in participating (there is no cost), please visit the link below to see what we’ve done so far and to get your listing on our page.
A resourceful link to “Farm/Producer Business Guidance and Support” via the Maine Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry.
In an effort to keep our agricultural producers, businesses and service providers as up-to-date as possible on health and safety issues with the ongoing COVID-19 situation, DACF will maintain the most recent information and guidance from the Maine Centers for Disease Control and our federal and state partners. Please visit this page frequently as information will be updated.
We are in contact with producers and agricultural organizations across Maine in order to minimize the negative impact on growers and address your concerns and issues. Please continue to reach out and we will do our best to respond and share as much information as we can during this time.
6 Questions from Lewiston Sun Journal; many answers from Maine Small Business Development Center’s Leader
Maine SBDC is a statewide program offering no-cost confidential business advising services.
We asked for advice for the business community, both those looking to stay open and those already closed.
1. What are you hearing most from the business community right now, and does it vary by region?
FAME Partners with SBA, ME Lenders on COVID-19 Relief Loan Programs
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local Maine lenders to offer special, limited-time loans and loan insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by COVID-19.
FAME and participating lenders will make special terms available to Maine-based businesses that have experienced interruption or hardship due to COVID-19. Various benefits include: loans up to $50,000 offered at reduced interest rates; interest-only payments; up to 75% pro-rata loan insurance on loans up to $100,000; interim financing in conjunction with the SBA wherein FAME makes loan proceeds available while approved SBA borrowers await federal funding.
Via Maine Crafts Association – COVID-19 RESOURCES FOR ARTISTS & SMALL BUSINESSES
Please find links to craft artist resources which the MCA has identified as helpful to craft artists during, and for recovery from, the COVID-19 crisis.
Via Retail Association of Maine – COVID-19 Resource Page for Retailers
As the pandemic of the Coronavirus begins to spread to Maine, we want to be proactive in reaching out to our members with some helpful tools and tips to keep our stores up and running during this challenging time. We work with a variety of state and federal agencies as well as other state and national trade associations like NRF, RILA, FMI & other.
SBA Approves Governor Mills’ Application for Loans to Help Eligible Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today approved Governor Mills’ application for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans 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.
Via Maine SBDC – Mitigate Coronavirus Impact on Your Business
Have you considered how COVID-19 will affect your business? It’s important to start considering your contingency and emergency response plan. It’s time to assess your sources of risk, reduce those risks, and communicate the steps you are taking to your employees and customers. We have compiled some helpful resources for your business.