April 17, 2020
Dear Friends ,

It’s been almost a month since the Governor issued his Stay At Home Orders, and it appears that the Commonwealth is starting to stabilize in terms of new reported COVID-19 cases. Further, the conversation is shifting from the unknown of increasing infection rates to one of planning for our businesses to re-open. This must be a slow and measured process, and one in which the Chamber will be highly engaged representing you. There is some additional solace in that most of our businesses have applied for and begun to receive relief funds. However, as of this week, the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs have committed their budgeted funds. Please know that we are lobbying on your behalf to encourage Congress to replenish those funds in what is now being referred to as the CARES 2 legislation.

We encourage you to set all this aside this weekend, as possible, and take some time for you and family to relax, get outside and enjoy the oncoming Spring.

Sincerely,

Your Chamber Team


We are here to support you with information about disaster loans, unemployment assistance and business and community resource s. Please call 978 283-1601 or email us as follows:

        

Business News & Resources:

  • Guidelines for Opening Up America Again. The President’s Coronavirus Task Force yesterday announced a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. Read all the details here. To download a pdf of the Guidelines click here.

  • Governor Reiterates Importance of Testing and Contact Tracing. In his daily briefing yesterday, Governor Baker said that expanded testing and contact tracing are key as Massachusetts deals with the Coronavirus surge and looks ahead to reopening our economy. Listen to yesterday’s briefing here. Learn more about the state’s unique collaboration with Partners in Health for contact tracing here.

  • Closure of EIDL Application Portal. Due to limited appropriations funding, the application portal for the EIDL–COVID-19 assistance program (EIDL loans and EIDL Advances) is temporarily closed. By law, the SBA is not able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations.

  • Applicants who have already submitted their applications will continue to be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. SBA is processing EIDL applications as quickly as possible. SBA will provide those whose applications are approved with loans that will cover the business’s short-term working capital needs.

  • Treasury Secretary Mnuchin and SBA Administrator Carranza are urging Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—to once again enable the SBA to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks: “The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible. We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need.” For the full announcement click here.

  • 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. View the latest information and program details 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:

  • Gloucester City Landings Restricted. Effective immediately, until at least May 4, the city has restricted all public landings to use by emergency or commercial licensed vessels only. For this and additional updates on Gloucester’s COVID-19 emergency measure please click here.

Education & Training Resources:

New Listings:

  • Comcast Business Webinar Series. For information about this series of webinar to help businesses of all sizes and educators navigate through COVID-19 and to register please click here.

Ongoing: For additional listings of education and training resources please click here .

Community Services & Resources:

New Listings:

  • LISC (Local Initiatives Support Corporation) will offer grants of up to $10,000 to non-profits to address immediate financial peril, limit layoffs, avoid gaps in employee benefits or insurance, mitigate economic instability and increase the likelihood of business survival. To learn more about LISC click here. The link to the application will be available online beginning Monday, April 20. Sign up to receive updates here.

Ongoing: For additional listings of community services and resources please click here .
Members Helping Members & the Community:

New Items:

Dogtown Books sent us a message that we would like to share with our readers: “We are also encouraging customers to donate to the Save Indie Bookstores campaign  https://www.saveindiebookstores.com/ that is working on getting grants out to independent booksellers.”

Ongoing: For additional listings of members helping members and the community 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 16 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.