Governments, organizations and volunteers are working hard this week to help assist citizens and businesses impacted by this on-going virus crisis. Federal response efforts are not final yet, but the state of Maine has emergency measures being enacted today.

This update provides more information on the following topics:

1. Maine State Legislative Response to Crisis
2. 211 Service Available for Coronavirus Information
3. SBA Disaster Relief Loan Details

1. Maine State Legislative Response to Crisis

Gov. Janet Mills' emergency legislation bills  passed through the House and Senate and will be signed by Mills today. One emergency bill grants Governor Mills access to at least $11 million in State funding to respond to COVID-19. Another bill passed in the package is an emergency unemployment bill that would temporarily extend eligibility to unemployment to workers that have been impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. The measures passed include:

  • Establishing a consumer loan guarantee program through FAME, in partnership with financial institutions, to provide low- or no-interest loans for eligible people in Maine

  • Temporarily expanding eligibility for unemployment benefits for workers impacted by COVID-19

  • Increasing the Department of Education’s ability to waive certain school-day requirements and to continue school lunch programs for all eligible children

  • Authorizing Governor Mills to adjust state, county and municipal government deadlines and to permit all public entities to meet by remote participation

  • Expanding the ability of Maine Emergency Medical Services’ Board and staff to take actions more promptly

  • Authorizing Governor Mills to prohibit utilities from terminating residential electric and water service

“These emergency measures will support the State’s response to the coronavirus and mitigate its spread in Maine,” Mills said. “Protecting the health and well-being of Maine people is a responsibility at the core of State government, and I am grateful to lawmakers for uniting in support of these measures so we can implement them swiftly.”


2. 211 Service Available for Coronavirus Information

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) and 211 Maine announced today a new option for Mainers to get answers to questions about Coronavirus (COVID-19) at any time. This service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing  info@211maine.org 

Maine CDC will offer regular updates on testing recommendations. The number of COVID-19 tests for Maine people will be updated daily Monday through Friday on  Maine CDC's coronavirus webpage
 
211 Maine is a free, confidential information and referral service that connects people of all ages across Maine to local services.  Maine CDC worked closely with 211 Maine to incorporate answers to general questions about COVID-19 to the 211 resource. Calls, texts, and emails to 211 are answered 24/7 by a person here in the state. 
 
211 Maine is equipped to answer general questions including how Maine people can best protect themselves, options for testing, and travel considerations. Anyone looking for specific medical advice regarding symptoms they may be experiencing is strongly urged to call their medical provider, an urgent care center, or 911, depending on the severity of their symptoms. 

3. SBA Resources Available for Small Businesses

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Maine small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Small Businesses may apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans by visiting  www.sba.gov/disaster

SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per small business and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.

SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay. SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail  disastercustomerservice@sba.gov .




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