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COVID-19 Resources & Information

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July 08, 2020

Executive Order Impacts Large Retailers in Key Areas to Enforce Facial Covering Requirement.

A week ago, Governor Janet Mills announced that retailers larger than 50,000 square feet in certain counties and communities would be required to enforce the facial covering requirement.
 
This afternoon, the executive order language was issued with an accompanying press release.
Here's what you need to know:
  • It impacts retailers with 50,000 square feet of selling space or more in Cumberland, York, Hancock, Knox, Lincoln, Waldo and Sagadahoc Counties or in the communities of Bangor, Brewer, Lewiston, Auburn and Augusta.
  • It also impacts restaurants, bars, tasting rooms and lodging properties.
  • It states that these businesses "shall implement measures requiring customers to wear face coverings. Such measures may, for example, include denial of entry or service."
  • So, what does that mean? I specifically asked what does a retailer have to do beyond the required signage that facial coverings are mandatory? The department said that they are leaving that up to the retailer to determine but the expectation would be that it would be more than simply posting signage. While it does not require you to station someone at the entrance to verbally remind customers about the requirement, that would be a logical enforcement step.
  • I then posed the scenario of a customer bent on not wearing a facial covering, and they stressed that you can deny them service. You are welcome to offer them curbside or some other accommodation. We emphasized our concern of putting retail employees in harm's way and they acknowledged that if the person still enters they store, you need to keep your people safe, avoid any kind of physical confrontation and let them enter the store. However, the department has also been working with the Department of Public Safety to make sure municipal law enforcement and code enforcement will assist with enforcement when appropriate. So, please do not hesitate to contact law enforcement or your municipality if there is an escalation.
  • We've also been told verbally that even people with a medical condition can still wear a facial shield. Unfortunately, that clarification was not included in the press conference or executive order, but we are hopeful it will be included in additional written guidance.
  • If a customer claims to have a medical exception, you can offer to accommodate them with curbside service or delivery and deny them entry.
  • Additionally, we asked what happens when the state receives a complaint that you are not enforcing the mandate? DECD reiterated that they want to make sure the retailer is making the effort at enforcement vs a business that chooses to simply ignore the order. If you are making consistent effort yet still receive a complaint, the state will work with you to improve, if possible. However, if a business is not complying and making the effort, those businesses could face license violations and other penalties.
  • The order takes effect today.
My final word of advice is that although this order only impacts certain retailers and other businesses, it is reasonable to expect that this order may be expanded down the road to all retailers in all locations. So, please pay attention to how this expanded order is working in the coming days.
 
We know how stressful the facial covering requirement has been for many of you and you've had to deal with unruly customers. We are very sorry about that, and hope that efforts like our Let's Be Kind campaign will help turn the tide.

 

July 2, 2020

Relief Packages Still Available for Businesses!

The SBA is providing a financial reprieve to small businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Overview of The Program

As part of our coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020.

This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided as follows:
  • For loans not on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans currently on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due after the deferment period has ended, and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans made after March 27, 2020 and fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020, SBA will begin making payments with the first payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
SBA has notified 7(a), 504 and Microloan Lenders that it will pay these borrower loan payments. Lenders have been instructed to refrain from collecting loan payments from borrowers. If a borrower's payment was collected after March 27, 2020, lenders were instructed to inform the borrower that they have the option of having the loan payment returned by the lender or applying the loan payment to further reduce the loan balance after SBA's payment.

Borrowers should contact their lender if they have any questions regarding this payment relief.

Mia Purcell
Vice President of Economic Development and Impact


June 23, 2020

Maine Tourism Headlines:

Certificate of Compliance!

The Certificate of Compliance that guests of all lodging establishments must sign has been finalized. That document can be found here:  Certificate of Compliance



The Maine State Visitor Information Centers are now Open!

The seven Maine State Visitor Information Centers are officially open.
Now more than ever, is the time to make sure you are visible to Maine visitors. 
Make sure you are displaying your most updated brochures, your digital kiosk
listing is up to date, as well as your video display and exhibits!


 

Are You Hiring?

As our economy begins to reopen, you may be placing ads on job boards to attract talent. But are you posting high quality job descriptions? Unclear, vague or confusing job requirements can turn off potential applicants. It can also reflect poorly on the company brand. Even when unemployment is high, top job candidates may be reluctant to apply for a job that isn’t fully explained. That's why the Maine Tourism Association wants to help you get the word out! We are offering free job post consulting, editing, and proofreading. Send us your job descriptions and we'll help you make them shine! 

Don't let your advertising dollars go to waste. Email your job descriptions to Kathryn Ference, our Director of Workforce Development, at kference@mainetourism.com and take advantage of this free service! 

Once you have your listing ready, don't forget to add your job listing to our Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce website by submitting your post today.  Check out who is hiring now at http://business.oxfordhillsmaine.com/jobs/


 
Contact:
John Williams, Executive Director
207-743-2281

Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce

4 Western Avenue South Paris, ME 04281
207.743.2281
info@oxfordhillsmaine.com

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