March 26, 2020
To: Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce Members and Community
Business News & Resources:

  • U.S. Senate Passes Historic Relief Bill. By unanimous vote late Wednesday the Senate approved a $2 trillion stimulus bill that includes direct payments to individuals and families, enhanced unemployment benefits and a fund to assist distressed businesses. The bill will provide federally guaranteed loans to small businesses, including a provision to forgive loans for employers who continue to pay their workers for the duration of the crisis. The bill now moves to the House where, according to today’s New York Times: “Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California endorsed the deal, and planned to push it through the House on Friday by voice vote…” Read the full article article here.

  • Important Webinars. Please Join Us Today. The Chamber is partnering with the city of Gloucester and the Massachusetts Office of Business Development for two webinars on Thursday 3/26.

  • The first is at 10:30AM with the SBA on their Emergency Loan Program. Join the online meeting here. Conference ID: 50855974. Join by phone at   617-433-9269 Pin: 50855974.

  • The second is at 1PM on WorkShare and other workforce programs. Due to limited space for this call we are asking attendees to sign up via eventbrite.

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act: At 2 PM today The Greater Beverly Chamber of Commerce has invited our member to join with theirs for this webinar at 2PM today. For information and to register click here.

  • The Enterprise Center at Salem State is conducting a survey of North Shore business impacts of COVID-19. Please click here to view and complete this survey by Thursday, March 26.

  • Governor Baker has filed legislation to address challenges faced by municipalities. Key provisions of the bill would:

  • Allow municipalities to waive late-payment penalties for the 4th quarter tax bills, due May 1, and allow municipalities to change their tax bill due date from April 1 to June 1.

  • Allow municipalities to extend the deadline for property tax exemptions and deferrals. The current statutory deadline is April 1; this would allow municipalities to extend to June 1.

  • Permit establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer by take-out with a food order, with certain restrictions and limitations.

  • Governor Baker has ordered that all “non-essential” businesses cease in-person operations until April 7. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations “remotely”.

  • For the list of “COVID-19 essential services” click here.

  • Businesses that are NOT covered under current guidance can submit an online request to be designated as essential for the purposes of the Emergency Order.

  • Federal Tax-Filing Deadlines Extended to July 15. Read details from the IRS 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.

  • 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. is launching the Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund to allow us to help hourly workers impacted by the crisis. Your support will help food service, retail, hospitality, childcare and other hourly workers struggling with lost income.
Chamber Updates:
  • Please help us provide up to date information to our members and the community as to the business impacts of COVID-19 by completing this survey. To date we have had 45 responses from a broad spectrum of businesses.
  • In accordance with the Governor’s emergency order the Chamber office will be closed for the next two weeks, 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 (
Member & Community Updates:

Gloucester Daily Times Publisher Karen Andreas writes, “The Times remains firmly committed to delivering your news in print and online. We have a responsibility to you -- especially in times of emergency -- to provide news that is accurate and trustworthy. This is a commitment that we take seriously.” Read the full text of her letter to the Cape Ann community 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:

  • North Shore Community College is hosting two community information sessions online:

  • 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.

  • Cape Ann Art Haven: Learn how to make a mini-elevator with your children using household materials here!

Community Services:

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 You can also live chat with team members at
Helping and Supporting One Another:

  • 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 if you have supplies.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • Rockport Music’s Midday Music Series continues. Listen to Tuesday’s concert here.

  • 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.

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

  • The Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department is offering pick-up and delivery services for residents identified as higher risk or for those who are self-quarantined. This includes the delivery of groceries, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines and vital supplies. Manchester residents are asked to call 978-526-1212 to set up deliveries and for all non-emergency matters.

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: 

  • MEMA: Read MEMA’s March 25 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.