April 3, 2020
To: Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Members and Community
As we wind up another tough week and with even more difficult times ahead before things start to improve, we want to take a moment to express our thanks for all the good that people are doing in our communities and across our country. The list of people to thank is extensive and really endless:

  • Health care providers and first responders and all on the front lines of this battle

  • Public officials across government at every level

  • Social Services providers, public and private, non-profit

  • Teachers and all educators

  • Entertainers in music and the arts

  • All who are still working to maintain our transportation systems, supply chain, water, sewer, heat and electricity

  • All who are making it possible for all us to have food, including producers, distributors, food-preparers, grocers, clerks, restaurateurs, and deliverers and so many more

  • Postal workers, UPS and FedEx workers who continue to deliver mail and packages to our homes for us

  • All who maintain and sustain our internet, media and telecommunications networks, enabling us to stay informed and connected with one another

  • All the members of the Coronavirus Task Force, our state’s and our nation’s public health and emergency management professionals, our military men and women, our nation’s smallest businesses and largest industries, and our community, state and national leaders united and progressing in our battle to overcome and defeat this terrible disease

  • And, finally, all the caregivers, which includes each and every one of us, caring for our loved ones and one another

Bridget sums it all up this way: “I am thankful for all of the people that have maintained a steady and constant force to keep our lives running. I give thanks for the simple things that we took for granted before, the grocery store workers, the post office, the delivery drivers, the oil company, an occasional drive-through coffee, and most importantly, the doctors, nurses and health care providers!”

From your team at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, “Thanks to you all!”
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:

  • The Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund is closing in our goal but we still need your help. We need to raise $20,000 by Midnight on Sunday night to reach our goal of $200,000. The fund will provide direct financial assistance to hourly workers affected by closures and hour reductions related to COVID-19. 100% of funds will go directly to families in need. Your donation can help our friends and neighbors who are missing out on wages and tips due to closed restaurants, coffee shops, nail salons, daycares, or stores. Your help can keep Cape Ann a strong and vibrant community, and help people get through these tough times.

  • The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) is a loan program designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep workers on the payroll. Loans are up to $10M, with a 0.5% interest rate and a 2-year maturity; there are no payments for the first six months.

  • Who can apply? Businesses, non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees.

  • When can I apply? The Paycheck Protection Program will be available beginning on Friday, April 3rd. Applications must be submitted by June 30, 2020.

  • How do I apply? You can apply for the Paycheck Protection Program through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any participating federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit institution. Ask your local lender if it is participating in the program. Please note: All banks located on Cape Ann are on the list of SBA-approved lenders.

  • What else should I know? The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. The program will be available retroactive from February 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020. Read more here.

  • The Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance is a Loan Advance of $10,000 that is available to applicants who have been approved for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan; it does not need to be repaid, so you can think of the Advance as a grant for business expenses.

  • Who can apply? If you have applied or intend to apply to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, you can also apply for a Loan Advance.

  • When can I apply? The Loan Advance is available now.

  • How do I apply? Visit the SBA’s website to submit an application for the Economic Disaster Injury Loan and Loan Advance.

  • What else should I know? Please note that you should submit an application at the above link, even if you’ve previously submitted an EIDL application prior to the Loan Advance being available. Read more here.

  • The Cape Ann Chamber recommends that All Small Businesses apply.

  • CARES Act Expands Unemployment Benefits. The CARES Act enacted on March 27 includes new benefits for individuals not covered under regular Massachusetts unemployment law, such as those who are self-employed or paid by 1099s, those who have recently exhausted their weeks of unemployment benefits, and those who do not have sufficient earnings over the last year to qualify for state unemployment. The CARES Act also extends the number of available weeks of benefits for all claimants and supplements all claimants’ weekly benefit amount by $600. Click here for the latest information from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance about when CARES Act benefits will be available and when and how you should apply for those benefits.

  • IRS issues warning about Coronavirus-related scams The IRS yesterday issued an alert urging taxpayers “to be on the lookout for a surge of calls and email phishing attempts about the Coronavirus, or COVID-19. These contacts can lead to tax-related fraud and identity theft.” Read the full alert here.

  • Hotel/Motel Guidance. The Department of Public Health earlier this week issued new COVID-19 guidance related to hotels, motels, inns, beds and breakfasts and other short-term residential rentals. Based on this new guidance, hotels, motels, and short-term rentals may only be used for efforts related to fighting COVID-19, like front line health workers or individuals, or for Massachusetts residents who have been otherwise displaced from their residences. Click here for details.

  • Governor Extends Emergency Order Through May 4. Read the announcement here.

  • Online Portal for Personal Protective Equipment, Volunteers to Support COVID-19 Outbreak. See details here.

  • State Tax-Filing Deadline Extended to July 15. Read today’s announcement from Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo here.

  • Unemployment Benefits: For the latest information about unemployment benefits and how to apply, please click here. For a step-by-step guide click here.
Chamber Updates:
  • In accordance with the Governor's latest emergency order the Chamber office will remain closed until at least May 4th, with Chamber staff continuing to work remotely from home. All team members are available by email, calls to the Chamber will be forwarded and voice mail messages will be responded to by a member of the Chamber team.

  • The Chamber has built a 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:

  • Addison Gilbert and Beverly Hospitals are seeking our support as they work to contain the COVID-19 pandemic and keep our communities safe. They have established an Emergency Response Fund to provide immediate resources to be deployed for this and future emergencies. See more information here.

  • Johnson O’Connor has compiled a helpful fact sheet on payroll tax credits and other provisions of this recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Act. Read the details here.

  • Gloucester Daily Times “As a public service we have been providing free access to our coronavirus coverage on our website during this time of heightened concern. Subscribers and non-subscribers alike have been turning to us for reliable information in record numbers.”

  • The Boston Globe is offering a daily newsletter called “Coronavirus Now" which includes all of the latest credible news reporting on this crisis. People may sign up to receive this email here.

  • Sheriff Kevin Coppinger is seeking help from Essex County businesses in procuring personal protection equipment to keep staff and inmate population safe from COVID-19. See the full text of his letter here.

  • Cape Ann Business Operations: Please check our website for the most current information

Education & Training Resources:

  • Cape Ann’s Public Libraries and the National Emergency Library are offering enhanced online educational and reading resources.

  • National Emergency Library has made many books available to the public. See details here.

  • North Shore Community College is hosting the following community information session online on Wednesday, April 8, from 3 - 4PM: NACE COVID-19 Town Hall   

  • Cape Ann Museum’s Timeship: Visit the museum’s Education page and learn about Timeship, distributed to appropriate grade levels throughout the community free of charge.

Community Services:

  • Action Inc. continues to provide services via phone appointments and email. Action’s Emergency Shelter remains open and operational. All Main Office and Energy Office services will be available Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. If you have general inquiries or questions, please call 978-282-1000 or help@actioninc.org. You can also live chat with team members at actioninc.org

  • Backyard Growers is making rapid repairs to all their community garden sites for the start to the growing season and will be moving all in-person trainings to a virtual format. They are working on a program to expand opportunities for container gardening with new affordable BYG Grow Bags and raised bed garden builds through Black Earth Compost for people outside their income eligibility requirements. More info on BYG website

  • Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund: In partnership with the City of Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and working with local municipalities, Action Inc. launched the Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund to allow us to help hourly workers impacted by the crisis. Over $165,000 has been raised toward the $200,000 goal but your support is still needed to help food service, retail, hospitality, childcare and other hourly workers struggling with lost income.

  • Care Dimensions provides hospice and palliative care to many here on Cape Ann. They are experiencing increased demand for crucial medical supplies, emergency financial assistance to cover patient care and more requests from patients for help meeting critical, non-medical expenses such as groceries, utilities and rent. If you would like to support their clinical teams and their patients and families, please visit here.

  • Children's Friend and Family is continuing to provide outpatient mental health therapy via telehealth, and is accepting referrals for persons with all forms of MassHealth. People in need of services are invited to call 978-283-7198, and follow the prompts for intake. Referral forms are also available here. They currently have no wait for In-Home Therapy, a service to support families with youth under 21. Children’s Friend and Family is actively exploring the needs of the community in these trying times and will be offering virtual groups in addition to their already established services in the near future. 

  • Element Care/PACE announces measures they are taking to care for the many frail elders in their program and protect staff. Read the full story on their website here.

  • Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced that its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded a first round of grants, totaling $317,000, to 35 nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 health crisis and serving the most vulnerable populations in our region. To learn more or to make a donation please visit www.eccf.org.

  • The Open Door: The Open Door is making every effort to keep our programs operating during this COVID-19 (Coronavirus) event, with some adjustments. Please check their Facebook page for updates. The Gloucester Food Pantry remains open Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM, for curbside pick-up only.

  • Pathways for Children has established an Emergency Response Fund to help maintain steady support for our children, families and programs during these challenging times. Their goal is to raise $300,000 over the next three months to ensure that they are well-positioned to respond effectively to emerging needs of most at-risk children and families. Pathways is accepting donations to their Emergency Response Fund online at www.pw4c.org

  • SeniorCare is continuing to provide services to their entire service area of Beverly, Essex, Gloucester, Hamilton, Ipswich, Manchester-by-the-Sea, Rockport, Topsfield, and Wenham. For information and updates click here.

  • Wellspring continues to provide Homelessness Prevention & Employment Support services via phone appointments, email, & video conferencing. The Family Shelter remains open and operational. The Shelter is full at this time. If you have questions please call 978-281-3558 Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Staff contact information is available here

  • The YMCA of the North Shore is providing free emergency child care for the children of parents required to work. See details here.
Members Helping Members & the Community:

  • Cake Ann has opened an online store and is now taking orders for Passover and Easter. All holiday orders will be delivered on April 7 for Passover or April 11 for Easter. This will allow Cake Ann to keep the store open for same day take-out respecting appropriate healthy distance. You can also call or email your orders until April 5 for Passover and April 8 for Easter. Please visit their website for a look at the menu.

  • Beauport Hearing Care in Magnolia remains open by appointment for curbside hearing aid cleanings and repairs. They come to your car to pick up your hearing aids and return them to you curbside after servicing your instruments. They are currently not seeing patients for services inside the clinic. Routine office visits and new patient testing are being delayed until after the COVID-19 crisis passes. Call 978-525-2300 for more information or to make an appointment.  

  • Manchester-by-the-Sea School Resource Officer Andrea Locke will be hosting a virtual story time for elementary students while school buildings remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The sessions will be aired live on the police department's Facebook page at 10 a.m. each Friday starting today. These story times will be held every Friday until schools reopen. The Police Department continues to provide delivery services for residents who are self-quarantined or deemed at-risk. Manchester-by-the-Sea residents can call 978-526-1212 to set up deliveries and for all non-emergency matters.

  • Essex County Community Foundation has launched the Essex County Artist Fund to provide immediate relief to Essex County's artists (all disciplines). In addition to $400 needs-based grants, ECCF will elevate the visibility of all applicants across its social media platforms.

  • Maestranzi Brothers is offering online purchasing of select machines and delivery within 24 hours. All machines are sanitized with a bleach solution. With this program, there’s no need to come into the store. Just buy online, and they take care of the rest. For all the details click here.

  • Barn Dog Day Camp provides doggie day care and boarding services and they are on the list of essential services. They are offering a 25% discount to Doctors, Nurses, Police, Fire, EMS and other healthcare personnel on the frontlines of the fight against COVID-19. Owner Peter Hoare puts it this way: “These fine people are risking their lives to save ours and the last thing they need to worry about is their dog. We can help with that and our number is 978-522-0418.”

  • Infintech’s Mobile Processing Relief Program. If your business has pivoted to curbside, takeout or delivery because of COVID-19, Infintech’s Vital card reader pivots with you. It links to your mobile device via Bluetooth and accepts mag-stripe and chip cards. With their relief program, you can utilize the Infintech Mobile Processing Solution, and they will waive the initial set-up fee and the monthly fee until June 30, 2020.  Contact Matt Valego at matt.valego@infintechllc.com or (413) 246-5509. 

  • Treetop Yoga Studio in Gloucester remains open as a virtual studio offering barre and yoga classes. Anyone interested in taking a fitness or yoga class can go to www.treetopyoga.com.There are a range of classes for all levels, and kids’ yoga will be added this week for free.

  • SPECIAL: Chamber members who are new to Treetop may enter a class for FREE. 

  • CORPORATE YOGA: Treetop offers a 'yoga break' for your employees working from home, to have either a class specific for them with a company Zoom link or a corporate discount for employees to join a class already on their schedule. Email Erin at erin@treetopyoga.com.

  • Cape Ann Animal Aid wants everyone to know that their shelter animals are safe. They had a wonderful outpouring of support from the community and as a result were able to safely place over 70 animals into long term foster homes. Read full update here.

  • Rockport Music’s Mid-Day Music Series continues. Sign up for email updates here.

  • Cape Ann Community Cinema is offering Virtual Cinema. To watch their films click here.

  • Savour Wine & Cheese has updated and enhanced its precautions policy focused on customer hygiene upon entering and leaving the store, along w/ reminders about in-store requirements. In addition, updates for prioritized Free Delivery to all Cape Ann Communities and curbside pickup that is very popular for ease and safety. Read all the details here.

  • Queenvest, LLC is offering to help business owners do budgeting, projections, and planning and help prepare the financials for EIDC loans at a deeply discounted hourly rate under an extended payment plan. Learn details here.

  • Personal Protective Equipment Urgently Needed. The supplies of personal protective equipment are very low and on backorder at most medical supply companies without a delivery date. Cape Ann Rotarians are helping in the search for supplies that can be donated or purchased at cost with a credit card by organizations in need. Please notify Joan Arsenault at joan@massteximaging.com if you have supplies.

  • Ryan & Wood Distillery, operating under an emergency federal waiver, is now producing and selling one liter (33.8 oz.) packages of hand sanitizer for $30 plus tax. Please call (978) 281-2282 for availability. Production will be increasing and more will be available by the middle of next week. Limited to two per person.

  • Hammond Castle: To stay up to date with new event dates and announcements, including ways to help support the museum, please visit https://hammondcastle.org.

  • Dogtown Books is offering curb-side pick up or FREE shipping to anywhere in the US on made-to-order Stay At Home Book Boxes. Visit their website for more information.

  • Dreamtime Wellness goes virtual! Click here for info.

  • Cape Ann Museum: The museum is offering lectures on their Vimeo page, currently featuring lectures from their Judith Sargent Murray lecture series. Discovering Fitz Henry Lane Online—a freely-accessible online resource created by the Cape Ann Museum. 

  • Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF): The COVID-19 Response Fund for Non-Profits will help non-profits across Essex County. Find more information here.

  • Aberdeen Home Care President Joanne MacInnis, RN, will be live on North Shore 104.9FM at 8:45 each morning, with up to the minute information about COVID-19. Tune in!

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 2 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.