April 21, 2020
Dear Friends ,

We hope that you had a relaxing and refreshing Patriots Day weekend. As we move into a new week, there are some encouraging signs, even as Massachusetts confronts the ongoing harsh impacts of the Coronavirus across our state.

It appears that the Commonwealth is continuing to stabilize – and beginning to trend downward -- in terms of new reported COVID-19 cases. Further, the conversation is shifting to expanded testing, contact tracing and planning for our businesses and communities to re-open. Reawakening our economy must be a careful and measured process, and one in which the Chamber will be highly engaged representing you.

The Department of Unemployment Assistance has begun accepting and processing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance applications from those who are self-employed, independent contractors or part of the gig economy. And as of today there are positive indications that Congress will act – possibly this week – to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Programs, along with relief for our municipalities and front line health care providers and first responders. We will be tracking all these developments closely and sharing information with you via these newsletters and on our COVID-19 webpage.  We wish all a good week ahead. 


Sincerely,

Your Chamber Team

Join us again this Thursday, April 23 at 10 AM for our second virtual check-in to share what you are doing with your business and learn from fellow business members how they are managing through COVID-19. This will be a Zoom video conference, and participation is limited – please respond to Ken Riehl today at ken@capeannchamber.com if you would like to participate and he will send you the Zoom link.

As always, 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:

        

News & Business Resources:

  • Massachusetts Unemployment Benefits Update. The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) is now accepting and processing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) applications from those who are self-employed, independent contractors or part of the gig economy. For further information and to apply click here.

  • Governor Extends Massachusetts School Closures Through End of School Year. Read the full story here.

  • Daily and Cumulative Data on Massachusetts COVID-19 cases and testing, and weekly data on confirmed cases by city/town and residents subject to COVID-19 quarantine is now available here.

  • Lapse in Appropriations Notice SBA remains unable to accept new applications at this time for the Paycheck Protection Program or the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)-COVID-19 related assistance program (including EIDL Advances) based on available appropriations funding.

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

  • To learn more about the relief options available for your business, click here.

  • Reports from Washington indicate that the US Senate has reached bipartisan agreement on a bill that would provide $460 billion in new aid for small businesses, including $360 billion to replenish funding for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), $50 billion for EIDL and $100 billion for hospitals and expanded testing. A Senate vote is expected later today.

  • 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.
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:

New Listings:

  • SeniorCare continues to serve the elder population of nine North Shore communities, including Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham. Ongoing services include care management; in-home care; “Grab and Go” lunch pickup points in Beverly, Ipswich and Gloucester; Meals on Wheels home delivered meals in all nine communities; caregiver support services, elder protective services; and more. They also have several new COVID service options including telephonic companion and specialty shopping to assist elders unable to leave their homes. We remain in close contact with key community partners including Councils on Aging. A weekly “Message from the CEO” update is provided to community providers which can be viewed online at www.seniorcareinc.org/category/covid19.

  • SeniorCare has developed a North Shore Resource Guide, which is being enhanced and updated regularly. This guide is available for anyone’s use at www.bit.ly/SC-covid19. Input from the community is welcome to keep the guide current and correct.

  • Wherever possible, SeniorCare services are being provided via telephone. However, many services continue to require home visits. They are gratefully accepting all donations of personal protective equipment (PPE) for our in-home care staff and homemade cloth masks for our nutrition staff, Meals on Wheels drivers, and other critical volunteers. 

  • In addition to PPE and homemade masks, monetary contributions are needed to continue SeniorCare’s mission of providing support to elders to live at home in their community. For more information on SeniorCare services or to make a donation, please visit our website www.seniorcareinc.org. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer or donating homemade masks should contact SeniorCare’s RSVP Volunteer Department at rsvp@seniorcareinc.org or 978-865-3572/978-865-3568.

  • SeniorCare thanks staff, volunteers and the communities they serve for assisting them in fulfilling their mission.

Education & Training Resources:

New Listings:

  •  Managing Your Business Remotely in Times of Uncertainty. Tune in to this special livestream for small businesses on Wednesday, May 6 at noon. The Grow with Google team will share the latest resources from Google and other partners to help support small businesses. Discover tools, tips and resources to help you manage your business remotely during the COVID-19 crisis. Learn how to update critical business information online to keep customers informed, and how to host virtual meetings and events. Interested in learning about tools like Google My Business, Google Ads, Google Meet, and YouTube? RSVP today at g.co/grow/smallbizlivestream.

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

Community Services & Resources:

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

New Items:

  • Rockport Exchange Hosts Virtual Rockport Farmers Market on Saturday, April 25. Online ordering opened on Sunday, April 19 and will close on Thursday, April 23 at 5pm. Pick up your order on Saturday, April 25 from 11am-1pm at Seaview Farm. Click HERE to order. For all the details please click here.

  • Schooner Adventure Offers “Sea Reads; Solace and Inspiration from the Sea.” In an effort to provide some solace from the sea to those marooned at home, the staff and board of Adventure have put together a list of nautical literature. It has something for everyone, young and old, sailors, history buffs and landlubbers alike. All these books will inspire you with tales of the seven seas. Click here for the list.
Best yet, Adventure has teamed up to support local, independent bookstores who need your business and can get these titles, new or used, to you during the stay-at-home era by mail, or in some cases curbside pick-up. Two shops sell new, in-print editions. Two have wonderful past editions, some nicely illustrated.

Adventure’s board and staff encourage you to reach out and get yourself, a family member or a friend a nautical read to be remembered. A good book can take you to sea, even while Adventure is in port.




  • Suggest your own book! Email titles of your favorite nautical books to https://info@schooner-adventure.org. In a subsequent email newsletter and on the Schooner Adventure website, they will publish the list of books submitted by members and friends. And if you do submit a title, you will be entered in a drawing for a copy of Adventure: The Last of the Great Dory-Fishing Schooners by Joseph Garland.

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.