Chamber Connections - March 13th
Maine Prepares for COVID-19
Wash your hands . It sounds almost too simple, doesn’t it? I mean, here is a novel virus — a type of coronavirus no one in the world has been exposed to before — and the big piece of advice is to wash your hands. How can that be effective? I don’t know about you, but when I started singing Happy Birthday twice as I soaped up, I realized what a slapdash job I had been doing. I definitely wasn’t washing for  20 seconds . Have you tried not touching your face? The habits of a lifetime are so hard to break.

Of course, I work in an office, where infection control isn’t the primary concern. The folks at our hospitals, however, are very used to washing their hands for 20 seconds and rewashing after they touch something. In fact, Maine hospitals have been preparing for an outbreak just like COVID-19. They have  systems in place . They have appropriate equipment and are prepared to treat the patients who will inevitably arrive.  Read More>
Closings
With so many events and locations being affected, it makes sense that you should check in with all venues and vendors for up-to-the minute information. This is what we know as of today.
LOCAL

Friday, March 13
  • Waldo Theater screening of “Carousel.”

Saturday, March 14 -
  • Community Supper at Sheepscott Community Church
  • Potluck and recipe auction for Wiscasset’s Feed Our Scholars

Sunday, March 15 -
  • Sweet Laments” Italian Baroque music concert at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in Newcastle.
  • The Maine Statehood Day Ceremony scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Augusta Armory is postponed.
 
Monday, March 16
  • The Monday Community Lunch, Warm Spaces, at Our Lady Queen of Peace Church has been canceled for the rest of the season.
 
Wednesday, March 18
  • The Woolwich public hearing scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday, March 18 for the marijuana ordinances has been cancelled. Town officials will inform everyone when a new date is set. 
  • Damariscotta has postponed its community conversation and public hearing on draft amendments to the historic preservation ordinance. Since this will mean there will not be time for adequate public feedback and further changes, the revised ordinance will not be on the June annual town meeting warrant. The next opportunity for a secret ballot election will be the November general election.
  • St. Andrews Auxiliary Luncheon: The event will be rescheduled for later in the spring.
 
Saturday, March 21
  • Southwestern-Style Bean Supper - A new date may be proposed in the future and all reservations will be honored for that event.
  • Caribbean Night at the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor - Ticket holders will receive complete refunds. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9-3.
  • Friday, March 27
  • Wiscasset Partners In Education pasta supper and raffle - This may be rescheduled for later this spring, according to organizers.
  • McPeake show at the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor - Ticket holders will receive complete refunds. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9-3. All events scheduled after April 15 are still currently scheduled.
 
April 4
  • 2020 Museum Day
  • Hootenanny at the Opera House at Boothbay Harbor - Ticket holders will receive complete refunds. The box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9-3.

STATEWIDE

Schools

Sports

Outdoors
  • The Maine Boatbuilders Show is postponed

Arts & Culture

Business
  • The real estate trade group MEREDA’s 35th Anniversary Gala originally scheduled for March 26 in Portland is postponed. Ticket holders should contact info@mereda.org for a refund or credit toward the rescheduled event.
  • The Maine Primary Care Association has canceled its Legislative & Business Leaders Breakfast scheduled for March 26. Refunds will be issued for all registrations. For more information, please contact Andrea Watkins at 207-621-0677.
  • United Way of Aroostook to postpone the Northern Star events
  • The real estate group MEREDA has postponed its “Breakfast with the Mayor of Portland, Kate Snyder” event scheduled for March 19 at the Clarion Hotel in Portland. Ticket holders should contact info@mereda.org for a refund or credit towards the rescheduled event.
  • The “Selling More Maine Foods” conference scheduled for March 19 at the University of Southern Maine has been postponed. Registration costs and fees will be refunded via Eventbrite over the next few days. The sponsors plan to reschedule the conference for this fall and will give current ticket holders the first option to repurchase tickets.
  • The Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce March Business After Hours has been canceled.

Politics
  • Maine State Democratic Committee Meeting for March 22 is canceled, as is the Androscoggin County Dems meeting on March 26 and the York County Dems meeting on March 12.
  • The Portland City Council is canceling its March 16 meeting and March 23 workshop. The city is suspending all committee or public meetings for one month, including the planning board, parks commission and land bank. For full information visit portlandmaine.gov/agendas. All meetings will be rescheduled at a later date.

Education
  • Maine Science Festival 2020 canceled.
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle canceled its Planet Head Day fundraiser. Next event will be held in 2021.
  • University of Maine at Presque Isle’s Seniors Achieving Greater Education has cancelled its entire spring season of courses, including the March 21 kickoff.
Opera House
The Opera House have decided that to adhere to the governor's request to avoid gatherings of 250 or more, and in a general concern for the Opera House community, that shows coming up over the next month must be cancelled.

March 21 - Caribbean Night - Cancelled
March 27 - McPeake - Cancelled 
April 4 - Hootenanny - Cancelled

All events scheduled after April 15 are still currently scheduled. Time will tell if we need to further adjust the calendar. None of these shows has been rescheduled. Anyone with tickets to any of the above shows will receive a full refund. The Opera House box office is open Tuesday-Friday from 9-3.

We've got a wonderful line-up headed to Maine this year (and just had a wonderful concert by Altan). We are still scheduling performances and the Opera House website boothbayoperahouse.com will always have the most current listings. Stay healthy!
Shopping
Hannaford, which has more than  180 stores  in New England, has been following CDC recommendations, spokesman Eric Blom said.

“Hannaford has rigorous cleaning procedures in place that focus on touchpads, checkout belts and surfaces that people may touch frequently,” he said. “Cleaning takes place across the store, from the grocery areas to the bathrooms. Our food safety practices are exhaustive and thorough.” He said the store also has implemented travel restrictions, asked workers not to attend conferences or other group gatherings and postponed or canceled meetings with large numbers of people.

“We have seen a sharp spike in demand for products such as cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer, and we are working closely with our suppliers to provide our customers with the products they need,” he said. “Our team is searching widely for new sources of supply for harder-to-find items, and stores have implemented a purchase limit on certain items to ensure those products are available to customers.” Read More>
Maine officials evaluate cruise ships
It's unknown how deeply the spreading viral disease will cut into an industry that brings about 400,000 passengers and $29 million in spending to Maine every spring and fall.
Federal warnings to avoid cruise ship travel because of the growing novel coronavirus epidemic have yet to affect more than 100 scheduled ship landings in Maine this year, but state and local officials – and businesses that rely on tourism – are preparing for the worst. In a rapidly changing situation, it is unknown how deeply the spreading viral disease will cut into an industry that brings about 400,000 passengers and $29 million in spending to Maine every spring and fall. Some analysts already are reporting double-digit declines in cruise ship bookings worldwide, and two cruise lines announced temporary suspensions of all voyages Thursday.

“Right now there are no schedule changes,” said Maine Commissioner of Economic and Community Development Heather Johnson.The first cruise ship headed for Maine this year is due to stop in both Portland and Bar Harbor on April 25, according to the Maine Office of Tourism’s CruiseMaine website, and measures to contain the coronavirus outbreak could be more or less stringent by then.“It is evolving as we speak,” Johnson said. Read More>

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