Chamber Update

Breaking News (November 30, 2020)
Yesterday, Governor Janet Mills issued
the following breaking news item.
Read the Governor's press release below or online here.
Governor Mills Launches $40 Million Economic Recovery Grant Program to Support Maine Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Small Businesses
Augusta, MAINE – Governor Janet Mills announced today an economic recovery grant program to support Maine’s tourism, hospitality, and retail small businesses. Backed by $40 million in Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), the Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Recovery Grant Program is focused specifically on supporting Maine’s service sector small businesses, such as restaurants, bars, tasting rooms, lodging and retail shops, which have been hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and now face additional challenges with the coming winter months.

The grant program utilizes $30 million in funds remaining from the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program and $10 million in additional CRF monies dedicated by Governor Mills. In developing the program, the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) drew on recommendations from the tourism, hospitality, and retail industries to meet the distinct needs of those sectors.

Like the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program, a business must demonstrate a need for financial relief. However, the Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Recovery Grant Program will evaluate need based on gross sales loss between March and September 2020 compared to the same time in 2019.

DECD will again partner with some of the Economic Development Districts to administer the program. Grants will be awarded on a first come, first serve basis which will allow for funding to be dispersed as applications are received and reviewed. The application portal will open Wednesday, December 2, 2020 at 9:30 a.m. on DECD’s website and will remain open until funds are depleted. The application is expected to take about ten minutes to complete. Funds must be committed by December 30, 2020 per guidance from the U.S. Treasury Department.

Grants may be used to cover expenses, including but not limited to: payroll costs and expenses; rent or mortgage payments for business facilities; utilities payments; necessary operating expenses; expenses incurred to replenish inventory or other necessary re-opening expenses; purchase of personal protective equipment required by the business or business related equipment. Funds must be spent on operations that are strictly within Maine. Recipients are liable for any misuse of funds, and the grants are subject to audit.

In total, the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program provided $158.6 million to 3,551 businesses and non-profits. The grant programs build on the Mills Administration’s support for Maine businesses and employees, which includes a commitment of $295 million to backfill Maine’s Unemployment Trust Fund to support Maine businesses amidst the increased demand for unemployment benefits, as well as $8.5 million to support childcare services so Maine people can go back to work. Earlier this year, at the request of Governor Mills, the Small Business Administration allowed Maine businesses to apply for economic support loans. Additionally, the Governor and the Legislature worked together in a bipartisan manner to establish a consumer loan guarantee program through FAME, in partnership with financial institutions, to provide low- or no- interest loans for eligible people in Maine.

·   This is a first-come, first-serve program so please review the information and get your application in as soon as possible.
·   Eligible businesses include: accommodation and food service, retail, and arts, entertainment and recreation.
·   Applicants may receive up to $20,000.
·   The application portal will go live Wednesday, December 2 at 9:30 AM.
·   Gross sales must be between $24,000 and $12 million annually to be eligible.
·   The program will continue until all funds have been exhausted.

Questions? Email the director HERE.
Now is the time to assess the impact the pandemic has had on your business. Create a plan to sustain your business with our step-by-step assessment tools. Make better decisions about the future of your business and its recovery. CLICK HERE to get started.
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