Updated 12/22/2020 12:42 PM EST
In December, Congress passed another COVID-19 economic relief package. New information is highlighted in yellow and will be updated as new information becomes available.
We want to hear from you! Our business advisors are available via phone and email. Please reach out to your CEI contact if you have any questions/concerns. If you are new to CEI, you can request a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use the following links to skip to the relevant section (sections with an * include updated information on the 12/22 relief package):
- Accessing Capital
- Taxes & Tax Credits
- Emergency Paid Sick Leave/ Emergency Family Leave*
- Legal Guidance
- Sector & Region Specific
- Restarting Maine’s Economy https://www.maine.gov/covid19/restartingmaine
- Back to Business Toolkit (Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce)
- Where to find PPE for your business (Maine Manufacturing Extension Partnership)
Existing CEI Loan Clients
We want to hear from our borrowers about what you are facing and how we might be able to help. If you are anticipating or experiencing an impact on your business due to the coronavirus pandemic, please reach out to your loan officer.
Please visit our separate SBA resource page which will be frequently updated as programs are finalized and implemented.
Finance Authority of Maine (FAME)
COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program provides FAME Direct Loans of up to $50,000 with special terms available to Maine-based businesses experiencing interruption or hardship due to COVID-19. – Please see Important Notice regarding this program.
Grants & Local Financing Options
- Check out our Maine Grants Page for new programs from the state of Maine.
- Maine Resource Compass – Are you a for-profit entrepreneur, nonprofit organization, or small business owner looking for assistance during the COVID-19 crisis? The partners and resources listed below provide critical support, programs, and funding for those in need. The Resource Compass is here to deliver support for starting, stabilizing, sustaining and growing your business.
- LISC Rural Relief Small Business Grants LISC is opening the first round of relief grants from small businesses in rural communities with populations of 50,000 or less. These grants especially support those in underserved communities including entrepreneurs of color, women- and veteran-owned businesses.
- Upcoming Application Rounds:
- December 29, 2020 – January 5, 2021
- January 26 – February 2, 2021
- Upcoming Application Rounds:
- USDA Loans & Grants
- Portland Microenterprise Grant Program, Job Rehiring & Rapid Response Microloan Program – Applications that are received by January 8th, 2021 before noon, will be considered for funding on January 21st.
- Greater Portland Council of Governments – Qualifying businesses and organizations are eligible for loans of up to $10,000 at 0% interest for the first two years. Portions of the loan may be forgiven if businesses meet certain requirements or participate in other GPCOG initiatives.
Emergency Paid Sick Leave / Emergency Family Leave
The U.S. Department of Labor launched an online tool that guides workers through a series of questions to help them determine if they are eligible for paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA).
Employers who voluntarily provide employees with emergency paid sick leave or emergency family leave related to COVID-19 may be reimbursed through a payroll tax credit for leave taken from January through March 2021.
The stimulus bill passed by Congress on December 21, 2020 extends unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 in 2 ways:
- 11 more weeks: The period for which someone can receive unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 has been extended by 11 weeks (starting December 26, 2020) for anyone (including self-employed and gig workers) receiving either state unemployment benefits or pandemic unemployment assistance. If you are at the maximum number of benefit weeks (and were due to stop receiving unemployment benefits on December 26, 2020), this additional 11 weeks ends on March 14th. If you have not reached your maximum number of benefit weeks, this expires on April 5th. This is referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Compensation.
- +$300 a week: Everyone who qualifies for unemployment benefits will automatically receive and additional weekly payment of $300 from December 26, 2020 through March 14, 2021.
See the links below for additional information from the Maine Department of Labor on timing and implementation of these extensions.
New help is available for those earning a mix of income from self-employment and wages paid by an employer (reported on a W-2). If you earned at least $5,000 in self employment income and have been disqualified from receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance because you qualify for lower State of Maine benefits, you will be eligible to receive an extra $100 per week (in addition to the extra $300 a week and your regular unemployment benefits) from December 26, 2020 through March 14, 2021. This benefit will be distributed retroactively after Maine reaches an agreement with the U.S. Department of Labor.
- Maine Department of Labor, Bureau of Unemployment Compensation home page: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/
- COVID-19-related unemployment information, including FAQs and videos on how to create an account and file a claim: https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/covid19uiinfo/index.shtml
- Partial unemployment related to COVID-19: at the bottom of https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/covid19videos/index.shtml
- Self-employed unemployment related to COVID-19 (also known as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance): https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/pua/index.shtml
- Self -Employment Update: https://www.maine.gov/labor/news_events/article.shtml?id=2951523 –
- Password reset and unlocking accounts: www.mainecareercenter.gov
- Telephone inquiries: 1-800-593-7660 Monday – Friday 8:00 am – 3:00 pm
- Legal Guidance on COVID 19 and FAQs (Bernstein Shur webinar)
Maine Free Legal Answers Now Available
Do you have legal questions related to COVID-19? Maine Free Legal Answers is an online legal advice system for people with incomes impacted by the COVID 19 crisis or households that qualify as low income. It is an American Bar Association program, found in about 40 states, administered for Maine residents by the Maine Volunteer Lawyers Project.
Over 150 licensed Maine attorneys volunteer to answer questions through this online system for free. Any legal question not involving a crime may be asked, including questions about family law, debts, housing, work and education, to name a few. The system makes it easy to send and receive information, including documents, and clients are notified via email that an answer has been sent. Because of the high number of active attorneys, questions are being answered quite quickly. To get started, visit Maine.freelegalanswers.org and follow the instructions to register and ask a licensed Maine attorney, for free, your legal questions.
Resources for Farmers
- USDA COVID-19 Resource Center
- Farmer’s Guide to COVID_19 Relief (Farmer’s Legal Action Group)
- COVID-19 Information for Agriculture and Food Businesses (Maine Bureau of Agriculture, Food and Rural Resources )
- Covid-19 Maine Farmer Information and Support
- The above link provides a streamlined list of resources to support farmers in the Covid-19 pandemic. This includes resources around food safety, recommendations and federal support programs. It is updated daily by agricultural organizations agencies across the state including the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, the Department of Agriculture, Conservation, and Forestry, and the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association. If you would like something added to this list as a resource, please email email@example.com.
Alternative Markets & Marketing Ideas
- Farm Product Pickup & Delivery Directory (UMaine Extension)
- Alternative Marketing Ideas for Farms (UMaine Extension)
- Farmhand Automation is offering free technical assistance to set up online ordering and curbside pickup for local farmers
- the Maine Farm Food Access Program, which reimburses direct-market farms and farmers’ markets for new wireless electronic benefits transfer (EBT) machines to process USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)-only transactions and associated fees. Participating direct-market farms and farmers’ markets will receive technical assistance in selecting and using equipment. If you know of any farms or farmers’ markets that might be interested in the program, they can sign up, here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/RealMaineEBT
The most current information and instructions that the Office of Child and Family Services has issued in response to the COVID-19 state of emergency pandemic.
Hospitality & Food
- Maine Tourism Relief Fund – Subject to availability of funds, individuals may qualify for a $500 grant and businesses with fewer than 50 employees may be eligible for $1,000 grants.
- James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Investment Fund for Black and Indigenous Americans.
Information & Resources
- https://www.hospitalitymaine.com/ – providing daily briefings and resource links
Arts & Entertainment
- The Portland Artists Relief Fund was created to help artists in the greater Portland, Maine area recover from income loss and personal emergencies by awarding small grants for unanticipated financial hardship during the Covid-19 pandemic. Local artists who are able to complete the requirement checklist for eligibility will be able to apply via Google Form for a $500 cash stipend to help make ends meet due to cancelled work that was previously scheduled and/or lost. Creative Portland, the City’s nonprofit arts agency, is leading the initiative with a goal of raising $50,000 to award $500 stipends for artists in dire need.
- COVID-19 Resources for Artists & Arts Organizations (National Endowment for the Arts)