The Latest Maine COVID-19 Updates for Small Businesses

Date: April 27, 2020

State-specific information for small business on COVID-19

Information and resources for Maine businesses are available through the Department of Economic & Community Development website

The DECD page includes links to a list of essential and non-essential business operations, financial resources for small businesses and other information to inform and help small businesses.

Governor’s Covid-19 response page that includes updated timeline of actions and links to various information sources.

Maine Labor Department Information FAQ about COVID-19

Employers, employees and unemployment benefit claimants can use the MDOL COVID-19 page to access a variety of information including a Frequently Asked Questions document that is updated as needed.


Governor Mills Outlines Principles for Reopening Maine Economy; Invites Ideas

Reopening of the Maine economy will be driven by public health considerations, said Governor Mills Thursday afternoon, and guided by the following four principles:

  1. Protecting Public Health
  2. Maintaining Health Care Readiness
  3. Building Reliable and Accessible Testing
  4. Prioritizing Public-Private Collaboration

The Governor also announced that the Department of Economic and Community Development will serve as an avenue for business owners, employees, and Maine residents to offer their ideas for reopening the Maine economy.

More information is available in the Governor’s press announcement.


Maine DECD Creates Portal for People to Submit Reopening Ideas

“We invite all Maine people to take part in the [reopening] discussion,” said Governor Mills. “Give us your specific ideas on how we can do things differently, how we can restart the economy and keep all our people safe and healthy. We want to hear from you.”

DECD has created a comment form that can be used to provide “thoughts on potential goals and initiatives or issues” that should be addressed in the planning process.


What to Do if Employee Wants to Stay on Unemployment

Here are instructions from the Maine Department of Labor for employers that want to stop unemployment benefits to employees who refuse to go back to work or go back on your payroll:

Send the following information to the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation Tax Division by email to: [email protected]

  • Name of Claimant and last 4 of SSN if known
  • Date offer was given
  • Job title
  • Date individual was to start work or get back on payroll
  • Expected duration of work
  • Rate of pay
  • Reason for refusal
  • Method of offer – phone, email, text, mail
  • Name and phone number of the person who made the offer


Self-Employment Benefits Status Update

Though Maine is not yet ready to process applications for self-employment benefits, the Bureau of Unemployment Compensation has posted a Frequently Asked Questions document about information that will be requested once people can apply.

Claimants for self-employment benefits are request to NOT FILE UNTIL the program is available online; otherwise, the claim will be denied.  However, “once implemented, benefits will be paid retroactively.”


Governor Mills Suspends Lodging Operations, Mandates Traveler Quarantines

As of noon April 5 lodging operations, accommodations and camping facilities must close.  An exception is made for lodging provided to healthcare workers, other workers deemed necessary for public health, public safety or critical infrastructure, and certain vulnerable populations.  Existing guests may be permitted to remain through the end of their scheduled stay but may not extend or make new reservations.  On-line reservation systems must also be suspended. 

This latest executive order also mandates that any Maine resident or non-resident must self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering or re-entering the state.  Here is a link to the Governor’s statement and Executive Order:


Governor Mills Issues Stay Home Mandate, Tightens Business Restrictions

A new Executive Order that takes effect April 2 places further restrictions on public movement, vehicle travel, and retail business operations.

According to her press statement,  the directive “requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason, such as obtaining food, medicine, health care, or other necessary purposes.”

Governor Mills also mandated a series of other restrictions, including:

  • For essential businesses and operations that remain open, limiting the number of customers in their buildings at any one time, implementing curb-side pickup and delivery options as much as possible, and enforcing U.S. CDC-recommended physical distancing requirements for their customers and employees in and around their facilities.
  • Mandating that, when out of the home or when at work at an essential business, individuals shall maintain a minimum distance of six feet from other persons.

The link to the Governor’s March 31 statement and Executive Order on this issue can be found HERE.


Income Tax Filing Deadline Extended to July 15

Governor Mills announced that Maine will align with the July 15 federal deadline for filing and payment of income taxes.


Governor Issues Executive Order on closure of Non-essential businesses

Following on her March 18 order to close dine-in service at bars and restaurants, Governor Mills issued a new order that closes or restricts operations at various non-essential businesses, imposes physical distancing expectations, and urges large essential businesses to limit in-store customers.   The order takes effect March 25.

The order mandates that non-essential businesses and operations close their physical locations that are public-facing (e.g., “allow customer, vendor or other in-person contact”).  It also closes non-essential business sites that require more than 10 workers to convene in a space where safe distancing is not possible.  However, “non-essential businesses and operations may continue activities that do not involve these types of in-person contact and convening.”  Non-essential businesses that are allowed to remain open “should facilitate the maximum number of employees working remotely.”

The link to the Governor’s March 24 statement and Executive Order on this issue can be found HERE.


Governor Prohibits Dine-In Service at Bars, Restaurants

In response to public health concerns posed by the coronavirus, Governor Mills issued an executive order that as of March 18 closes all dine-in facilities at all restaurants and bars statewide but permits take-out, delivery and drive-through food and beverage service.  The order directs businesses to utilize “social distancing best practices and minimize gathering of customers.”

“Non-essential public-facing businesses, such as gyms, hair salons, theatres, casinos, shopping malls” are strongly urged to “close their doors for the next two weeks to minimize public gatherings,” according to a press release from the Governor’s Office.

The link to the Governor’s March 18 statement and Executive Order on this issue can be found HERE.

Related Content: Small Business News | Maine

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