COVID-19 Pandemic Resources
Resources, Updates, Initiatives, and Adaptations
Last updated: 5/26/20
We know that one of the biggest challenges currently is sifting through information about recent and pending legislation, available financial resources, and implementable ideas to help keep downtown businesses viable and vibrant during and beyond the immediate crisis.
Please find a selection of resources most relevant to small business owners and the organizations that support them below. Email email@example.com with any questions, or to share additional resources.
Financial Resources for Downtowns & Small Businesses
- Main Street America‘s COVID-19 Main Street Resources page lists several national funding sources including a mix of grants and loans HERE.
- The Institute for Local Self-Reliance is also compiling an ongoing list of grant and loan programs that can help small, locally owned businesses weather the COVID-19 pandemic. Scroll all the way to the bottom of the page for national grant opportunities HERE.
- The United States Bartenders Guild (USBG) is offering grants to bartenders, their spouses, and children who are experiencing a “lack (of) the necessities of life, including financial, physical, mental, or emotional well-being as a result of the catastrophic event or emergency hardship.” Details HERE.
- The Maine Grain Alliance in Skowhegan has a newly launched emergency relief fund granting up to $2,000 to grain-based business owners with unexpected expenses relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. More information HERE.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation‘s Save Small Business Fund is a collective effort to provide $5,000 grants to as many small employers as they can. Details HERE.
- Information about the various loans and programs being offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is available HERE. You can sign up to receive regular updates from the SBA HERE.
- The U.S. House Committee on Small Business published a visual comparison of the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) and the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) HERE.
- The National Council of Nonprofits is gathering information about the experiences nonprofits and other small businesses are having applying for PPP or SBA 7(a) loans. They will use the aggregated data to look for patterns of common problems that require system fixes or collective action. More information HERE.
- Coastal Enterprises, Inc. (CEI) is offering fast track microloans up to $25K for existing and start-up businesses. Decisions will typically be made within three business days. The initial requirement is a 2-page application and impact data survey from all owners with a 20% or greater share of the business. Details HERE.
- Information about loan programs available to eligible Maine businesses and individuals/employees through the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) can be found HERE.
Legislative & Regulatory Updates
- Governor Janet Mills’ “Stay Safer at Home” Executive Order, issued on April 29, continues to have Maine people stay at home with established exceptions for permitted activities such as occasional grocery shopping or exercising. It also allows Maine people to visit businesses or participate in activities deemed safe to open under Stage 1 of the reopening plan. The Governor’s reopening plan can be found HERE.
- Maine’s Department of Economic and Community Development has released a series of COVID-19 Prevention Checklists for businesses reopening within the statewide, and rural reopening plans. You can find the checklists and more information HERE.
- The Maine Department of Labor will begin accepting applications for the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) at 8 a.m. Friday, May 1. Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is a new federal program which expanded eligibility for unemployment benefits to certain categories of workers such as self-employed workers, farmers, fishermen, and independent contractors. More information on PUA and instructions on how to apply can be found HERE.
Small Business Initiatives
- Pay It Forward Maine is a statewide effort that encourages individuals, businesses and organizations to continue supporting local businesses and their employees in our new world of closed storefronts and social distancing. More information HERE.
- Stay Home Maine is a campaign from Dirigo Collective, connecting Mainers from across the state with local businesses to get what they need during the outbreak of COVID-19. Link HERE.
Innovations & Adaptations
- In an effort to support frontline, essential workers as well as local restaurants, Heart of Biddeford launched a fundraising campaign called, “Share the Love” on Tuesday, April 20. To date, nearly $12,000 has been raised. HOB will use 100% of the funds to place daily orders with participating restaurants who will deliver meals to Southern Maine Health Care as well as to other essential workplaces such as the fire and police department, and grocery stores. More information HERE.
- The City of Bath Economic Development Committee worked with the City of Bath to create a program for small business relief using TIF funds. The goal is to help small businesses who might not be able to get a SBA loan, or who might not be able to keep their heads above water until SBA funds come through. Details on the program can be found HERE.
- Streetsense‘s Pandemic Relaunch Toolkit for Restaurants + Bars contains capital management tactics, operational guidance to relaunch, and resources to help future-proof your restaurant. More information HERE.
- The Kennebec Valley Downtown Relief Fund (KVDRFF) is a grant program established by the Augusta Downtown Alliance and Gardiner Main Street, with the support of private partners, providing temporary relief to businesses affected by the Corona Virus quarantine. Details HERE.
- Cooking for Community is a Portland-based program where restaurants leveraging payroll funding from the Cares Act federal stimulus package produce warm, fresh meals for those in need using locally sourced ingredients as well as donations of perishable food goods that would otherwise go to waste. More information HERE.
- Heart of Ellsworth has been hosting weekly check-in calls with downtown businesses in partnership with Machias Savings Bank. They have created a webpage where the recorded Zoom sessions live, as well as the agendas and notes from each week’s call. More information HERE.
- Gardiner Main Street has partnered with Randolph Hardware to provide $25 gift cards with the purchase of $50 or more in gift cards from Gardiner eateries. Details HERE.
- Main Street Bucksport has organized a “virtual scavenger hunt” including fifteen different ways to actively support local businesses. Participants are asked to post pictures of themselves engaging in each activity on the organization’s Facebook page to qualify for small cash prizes. Details HERE.
- Nonprofits and community agencies needing volunteers to provide essential services during the current crisis can post their needs on MaineReady.org. More information can be found HERE.
- Main Street America‘s COVID-19 Community Response Roundup includes fresh ideas weekly from around the country. Details HERE.
Virtual Meetings & Webinars
- The social media company Hootsuite has shared information on How to Host a Successful Virtual Event: Tips and Best Practices. Link to their article HERE.
- On May 14, Main Street America hosted Design in COVID-19 Response and Recovery. Link to slides HERE and a recording of the webinar HERE.
- Please check the MDF events page for information about upcoming virtual meetings and webinars hosted by us, and our trusted partners. Link HERE.