Resources for Businesses and Individuals
Updated April 8, 2020
Webinar on CARES Act
On April 7, the City of Biddeford’s Planning and Development Department hosted a webinar to share the resources that are available to small businesses through the SBA under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress last week.
Assistance, through loans and grants, are available to small businesses with fewer than 500 employees, sole proprietorships, non-profit organizations and independent contractors. The webinar presented the Small Business Administration’s methodology for each program and provided live links on where to apply for assistance. Click here to review the materials from the webinar.
Financial Resources for Businesses and Individuals
The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development has issued a guide to Resources in Response to COVID-19 Related Closures and Economic Disruption. This guide outlines financial resources to businesses and individuals that are administered by institutions such as the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the Finance Authority of Maine (FAME). For businesses, these resources address deferments on existing loans as well as new emergency capital needs due to the impact of COVID-19. For individuals, there is a loan program administered through FAME that can help sole proprietorships and the self-employed.
As stated in this guide, the first step of any business or individual seeking assistance is to contact your own financial institution. Alerting your financial institution early is the best course of action.
Follow the links below for information from the Small Business Administration regarding 7a and 504 business loan deferments and other assistance programs for businesses suffering financial loss due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Also, Southern Maine Finance Agency may be able to provide assistance through its own loan programs. SMFA can be reached at https://smfamaine.org/ or at (207) 282-1748.
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers.
The U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship has created a Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has prepared a Q&A document on the Paycheck Protection Program portion of the CARES Act. This initiative will provide 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward.
Small businesses and sole proprietors can begin applying on April 3. Independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply beginning on April 10.
Economic Industry Disaster Loans (EIDL)
The CARES Act expands the Small Business Administration’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL). The EIDL program was created to assist businesses, renters, and homeowners located in regions affected by declared disasters. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce also prepared a Q&A document on this program.
Essential Service Designation Request
On March 31, 2020, Governor Janet Mills issued a Stay Healthy at Home directive that requires people living in Maine to stay at home at all times unless for an essential job or an essential personal reason
Essential businesses include, but are not limited to: food processing, agriculture, industrial manufacturing, construction, trash collection, grocery and household goods (including convenience stores), home repair and hardware and auto repair, pharmacy and other medical facilities, biomedical and health care, child care, post offices and shipping outlets, insurance, banks, gas stations, laundromats, veterinary clinics and animal feed and supply stores, shipping stores, public transportation, and hotel and commercial lodging.
If the function of your business is not listed in the guidance above, but you believe that it is essential or it is an entity providing essential services or functions, you may request designation as an essential business here. Requests by businesses to be designated an essential function should only be made if they are NOT covered by the guidance.
Governor Mills’ COVID-19 emergency legislation (LD 2167), which was enacted by the Legislature and signed into law March 18th, included temporary measures to enhance the flexibility of the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program in order to support workers and businesses economically impacted by COVID-19, the novel coronavirus. These measures will help relieve the financial burden of temporary layoffs, isolation, and medically-necessary quarantine by making unemployment benefits available to individuals whose employment has been impacted by COVID-19. This helps not only individuals, but also employers by helping them retain their workforce and stabilizing local economies.
The legislation temporarily revises eligibility requirements to include situations not typically covered, such as:
- An employer temporarily ceases operation due to COVID-19
- An individual is quarantined with the expectation of returning to work once the quarantine is over
Please note, the legislation is not intended to provide sick leave or short-term disability payments. The legislation also waives the work search requirement for individuals still connected to their employer and waives the one-week waiting period so that benefits will be available sooner. In addition, any benefits paid under these provisions would not affect the employer’s experience rating record.
Self-employed individuals should wait to apply for unemployment until the State of Maine fixes the website to accept online applications from them.
Unemployment Insurance FAQs Regarding COVID-19 - Read a list from the Maine Department of Labor of frequently asked questions and answers for employees and employers.
Seeds of Hope is available for computer access to apply for unemployment Monday-Thursday 9:00am-12:00pm. One person at a time will be allowed access, practicing social distancing and sanitary protocols. Seeds of Hope is located at 35 South Street here in Biddeford.