Vital Information for Maine's Small Businesses

There is widespread recognition that our small businesses are the heart of our local economy, and local, state and federal officials are acting fast to provide relief. New information is coming into the Chamber regularly. We are coordinating with the Maine Office of Tourism, DECD, DOL, SBA, FAME, and local officials, and will update you when vital and verified information becomes available. We expect new information to be provided Wednesday, March 18th throughout the day as a result of coordinated calls. Here are the key things you should consider today: 

Small Business Loans for Payroll, Fixed Debts and Accounts Payable

FOR: Small businesses, private non-profit organizations of any size, small agricultural cooperatives and small aquaculture enterprises 

WHAT: Relief made available March 13th will be available through December 2020. Begin your applications now, you will be able to update your losses and financials as the impact continues. 

ACT: Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at . Applicants may also call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email  for more information on SBA disaster assistance. Individuals who are deaf or hard‑of‑hearing may call (800) 877-8339. Completed applications should be mailed to U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155. 

Employees Layoffs and Force Reduction

FOR: Any business who has or is considering temporary or permanent layoffs as a result of the COVID-19 health emergency

WHAT: Current legislation is being considered that would remove the one week wait period for your employees, allowing access to needed funds much sooner. 

ACT: There are a few key actions. 

If you are considering layoffs: Contact the Maine DOL by visiting their website or calling 1-800-593-7660 . Notify them of your upcoming decision to lay folks off. This advance notice will provide better coordination and support for your employees. Wait 1-3 days, watching DOL updates and emails from the Chamber on the status of this emergency legislation. 

If you have already laid off employees: Contact Maine DOL to let them know of your recent action, noting it was related to the COVID-19. Offer any instructions given by DOL to your employees to help them access benefits sooner.
Information Regarding Essential Commercial Establishments
A message from the Retail Association of Maine

Only essential commercial establishments should remain open.  To allow for essential goods to be accessible to the public, the City/Town designates the following businesses as essential:
  • Supermarkets + Grocery Stores
  • Big Box Stores
  • Pharmacies
  • Discount Stores, Mini-markets, + Non-specialized Food Stores
  • Daycare Centers
  • Hardware Stores
  • Gas Stations
  • Banks
  • Post Offices
  • Laundromats + Dry Cleaners
  • Veterinary Clinics for Domestic Pets
  • Pet Stores
Also deemed essential are commercial establishments that sell any of the following:
frozen products; non-specialized stores of computers, telecommunications equipment, audio and video consumer electronics, household appliances; IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass; electrical, plumbing and heating material; automotive fuel; domestic fuel; sanitary equipment; personal hygiene products medication not requiring medical prescription; medical and orthopedic equipment; optics and photography equipment; and soaps and detergents.
Lewiston + Auburn Tax Update

March 17, 2020 
The Lewiston City Council is scheduled to take action at their March 17, 2020 meeting to allow businesses that are unable to pay their real estate and personal property taxes because of cash flow issues associated with COVID -19 to not pay interest on the unpaid taxes until May 1, 2020. Keep up to date by visiting the City of Lewiston website.

March 16, 2020
The City of Auburn will be extending this due date to April 1 st , with no penalty. There are several options for citizens to make their tax payment, including paying online  here  (3rd party service fees do apply that we are unable to waive), mailing in your payment, and/or obtaining a money order or cashier’s check and dropping it in the drop box at City Hall. The City will reassess on an ongoing basis as the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation continues to evolve.