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Maine small business affected by coronavirus will get economic relief from federal government

Maine is now eligible for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans program, which can provide up to $2 million to small businesses.

WASHINGTON, D.C., USA — The Maine Congressional Delegation wrote a letter to the Small Business Association (SBA) on Monday in support of Gov. Janet Mills’ application for the Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) program.

Maine Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King along with Reps. Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden expressed their strong supports for the request that would provide economic relief for small businesses experiencing hardship due to the coronavirus.

Collins, King, Pingree, and Golden said, “We note that all sixteen counties of Maine are impacted by the coronavirus and our state’s small businesses are a vital and celebrated part of our economy.”

“These loans can provide up to $2 million to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the declared disaster,” the Delegation press release says.

According to the SBA’s Office of Advocacy, 99.2% of Maine businesses are small businesses that employ a majority of the workforce in Maine.

On Sunday Gov. Mills declared a state of emergency due to the rapid spread of the coronavirus around the state and announced many steps to try and stop the spread including social distancing and possibly closing schools.

RELATED: Governor Mills declares 'civil state of emergency' due to coronavirus, COVID-19

The Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Monday said there are a combined 17 confirmed positive and presumptive positive cases in Maine. Maine CDC Director Dr. Nirav Shah said he expects the number of cases in the state to increase. He said, so far, there have been 764 negative tests in Maine.

RELATED: Coronavirus in Maine: 17 combined positive or presumptive positive cases currently

RELATED: L.L. Bean closing all U.S. stores amid coronavirus concerns

Businesses, restaurants, and schools across the state continue to close; some restaurants are staying open and offering either deliver or pick-up only.

The City of Portland announced Monday at a press conference that the city is instituting a mandated curfew for establishments where groups gather from 6:00 a.m. Tuesday, March 17 to 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, March 18 and then daily from 8:00 p.m. until 2:00 a.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (March 18 - 22).

Any individual or business owner who does not follow the mandatory curfew is at risk of getting fined $500.

RELATED: Portland to implement mandated curfew for places where groups gather amid coronavirus pandemic

The city is also strongly recommending all restaurants close to dine-in customers or dramatically limit the number of customers and provide takeout or delivery options only for the foreseeable future. While this is the preferable option, the City understands that some restaurants may not be set up to do so.

When asked about the financial strain the curfew could put on local businesses, Portland City Manager Jon Jennings said they have not taken the step of fully closing bars and restaurants because the city wants them to be able to still stay open.

The city also announced it will delay the deadline for property tax, personal property, and stormwater payments until June 1 with no interest.

“To these businesses and others, the SBA’s EIDL program would provide a needed lifeline to help bridge the coronavirus crisis by providing loans designed to help small businesses stay afloat,” the Maine Delegation said in the letter.  “Working together, we can prevail against the threats to both health and the economy posed by the coronavirus.  To do so, we believe federal assistance from the SBA is necessary to help Mainers.”

At NEWS CENTER Maine, we’re focusing our news coverage on the facts and not the fear around the illness. To see our full coverage, visit our coronavirus section, here: /coronavirus

Editor’s note: You are starting to hear the term ‘flattening the curve’ as a way to stem the tide of coronavirus cases. The above video explains what that means. 

Editor’s note: The above video shows you how to make hand sanitizer. MaineHealth’s Dora Mills gives NEWS CENTER Maine the recipe. 

NEWS CENTER Maine Coronavirus Coverage

NEWS CENTER Maine YouTube Coronavirus Playlist