April 15, 2020
To: Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Members and Community
Join us this Thursday at 10 AM for a virtual check-in to share what you are doing with your business and learn from fellow business members how they are handling this pandemic. This will be a Zoom video conference, and participation is limited – please respond to Ken today at ken@capeannchamber.com if you would like to participate and he will send you the Zoom link.
Members Supporting Members & The Community  We invite you to let us know how you are adapting and creating new and innovative ways to help one another through the current public health and economic emergency. We will share this news with our readers. Please email Olivia Perez-O’Dess, Member Services Director at olivia@capeannchamber.com .

Do you have unemployment or virtual workforce questions, need help for your business, or have other questions? We are here to support you with information about disaster loans, unemployment assistance and business and community resources.


Business News & Resources:

  • Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits Update. The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) has recently received additional guidance from the federal government regarding expanded benefits under the CARES Act, including Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for “individuals who are not working as a result of COVID-19 and are self-employed, independent contractors, gig economy workers, and others who otherwise would not qualify” for regular UI benefits. View the latest information and program details here.

  • SBA’s Coronavirus Funding and Debt Relief Options. The SBA has set up a consolidated webpage with information about the new help for small businesses included in the CARES Act, including the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Forgivable Loan Advances (up to $10k), Emergency Bridge Loans and Debt Relief. Link to this resource page here. For a helpful chart comparing the PPP and EIDL programs please click here.
Chamber Updates:
  • Resources for Cape Ann Businesses. The Chamber team is working diligently to assist our members and the community as we navigate these uncertain times together. We encourage you to review the Chamber’s compendium of Business Resources and Recommended Actions here and we invite you to contact us if you have any questions or need assistance.  

  • View the Chamber's special COVID-19 information and resource page on our website here. The page is updated regularly. Please send business updates to Olivia Perez-O’Dess (olivia@capeannchamber.com).
Member & Community Updates:

  • Essex Town Meeting and Elections Rescheduled. The Essex Board of Selectmen recently voted to reschedule the 2020 Annual Town Meeting to a new date of June 15. The meeting will be held at Essex Elementary School, 12 Story Street at 7:30 pm. Town Elections will be held on June 22. For further information please click here.

  • Gloucester Police Department Updates Community on COVID-19 response procedures and enforcement. For details click here.

Education & Training Resources:

New Listings:

  • CARES Act Webinar for Non-Profits. On Wednesday, April 15 at 1 PM, leading employment attorney Zachary Kester will explain how your organization can benefit from the CARES Act. You will learn how to maximize your chance of successfully receiving emergency funds. Webinar participants will receive a useful comparison chart of loan types. To register click here. $

  • MassPay Webinars. Two webinars are being offered this week.

  • The first, Workplace Compliance during Coronavirus, will take place on Thursday April 16th at 1pm. To register click here.

  • Boston Talks: The Restaurant Industry During COVID-19. On Thursday, April 16 at 7 PM join from the comfort of your couch as the Curiosity Desk’s Edgar B. Herwick III discusses the restaurant industry during COVID-19 with three local chefs. Hear how they have creatively taken on the new environment that the industry is facing. This is a free Zoom event from WGBH 2 but RSVP is required.


  • For ongoing education and training resources, please click here.

Community Services & Resources:

New Listings:

  • $1,000 Grants for Artists. The Mass Cultural Council has launched a COVID-19 Relief Fund to support individuals whose creative practices and incomes are adversely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. The application deadline is April 22. Find all the details here.

  • The Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund has surpassed its target and is on course to raise more than $250,000. The Fund, launched by Action Inc. in conjunction with the City of Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, has been supported by hundreds of local individuals and businesses. Action Inc. is now distributing Relief Fund checks to qualifying workers for $500 in direct financial assistance.

  • Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced last Friday that it has awarded a second round of rapid response grants from its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund, established in March to support nonprofits on the frontlines of the pandemic response. This second round of grants – which totals $130,000 – focuses on organizations serving the homeless population. Read all the details here.


  • For listings of ongoing community services and resources, please click here.
Members Helping Members & the Community:

New Items:

  • Arts Abound Face Masks. After donating numerous masks to the medical community, Arts Abound is now offering them for sale. They are stylish, washable, and reversible. Colors on the inside and the outside of the masks are different so you know which side you used. You can choose from the following themes: floral, abstract, juvenile, or neutral. At $15 each, these masks are a great way to be fashionable and safer. You can pick them up curbside at Arts Abound or we can ship them for you for a small extra charge. To order, email artsaboundmagnolia@gmail.com

  • Cape Ann YMCA. During this time, Y membership dollars will be considered charitable donations to help support vital services related to the COVID-19 emergency. These services include:

  • emergency child care
  • food distribution to those in need
  • partnering with Action Inc. to provide temporary shelter at the Cape Ann YMCA
  • virtual exercise & activities
  • staying connected with children and families
  • employee relief fund to support YMCA staff.
  • To learn how you can help please click here.

  • Paychex Launches Coronavirus Help Center with tools to better understand funding available for your business. Find all the details here.


  • For ongoing members helping members and the community listings, please click here.

As we learn of more creative ways that our members and our communities are adapting and responding, we will share them through all our Chamber communications channels.
Information Resources:

For the most current information about the federal, state and local response to COVID-19 – including information of particular relevance to employers and employees, we recommend visiting the following websites: 

  • Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM) provides helpful information and resources for Massachusetts businesses. Read their latest blog post here.

  • Commonwealth of Massachusetts. For the latest COVID-19 news and information for Massachusetts, including public health advisories, business resources and government services, please visit here.

  • Department of Public Health: Stay at Home Advisory. For details click here.

  • MEMA: Read MEMA’s April 14 update here.

For information and updates specific to one’s local community, we recommend visiting the following city and town websites for Cape Ann:

Our goal as always is to serve as a trusted resource in providing our business community and residents with helpful information and guidance during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The members of your team here at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce are here for you, as we all pull together to meet and overcome the challenges of COVID-19.