For 10 weeks now I’ve been sending you regular updates about the evolving COVID-19 situation in Maine. This week I’ve included information about the Governor’s revised reopening plan and resources to help you navigate the pandemic, but I also wanted to take some time to focus on non-coronavirus updates.
Below you’ll find a number of items that I hope will be helpful to you, and I want to remind you that, even in this time, I am available to serve you in all the ways I normally do. Please never hesitate to reach out with your questions, needs and concerns.
COVID-19 UPDATES – REOPENING CHANGES AND EXPANDED TESTING
Gov. Mills has announced that Maine residents may now enjoy campgrounds beginning this Memorial Day weekend. She has also updated guidance for all lodging providers to allow them to accept future reservations for stays with an arrival date of June 1 and beyond for Maine residents and for non-residents who comply with the State’s 14-day quarantine requirement. However, it has also been announced that the full reopening of gyms, fitness centers and nail salons has been delayed in light of emerging research and experiences in other states of COVID-19 transmission linked to these establishments reopening. The latest details of the reopening plan can be found at this website.
I’m also pleased to share that since our COVID-19 testing capacity has tripled, thanks to the IDEXX partnership, testing prioritization has been eliminated – meaning doctors are now able to order tests for anyone they suspect needs one.
ECONOMIC RECOVERY COMMITTEE GETS UNDERWAY
Maine’s Economic Recovery Committee had its initial meeting on Friday. As a member of that 37-person group, I also will be serving on the subgroup concentrating on innovation and entrepreneurship with special concentration on the critical sectors of life sciences and energy.
We will be meeting weekly towards the goal of providing an interim report in July on how best to stabilize and support Maine’s economy in response to the current crisis. By the end of the year, our committee will recommend measures which can provide sustainable growth in reconnection with the state’s new 10-year strategic economic plan.
- Maine Economic Recovery Committee begins mapping state’s post-pandemic economy, Press Herald, 16 May 2020
TO OUR HANCOCK COUNTY TEACHER OF THE YEAR!
Kate Meyer of Mount Desert Island High School is our 2020 Hancock County Teacher of the Year! Congratulations on this well-deserved honor. And thank you to ALL the wonderful educators in our district.
PROPERTY TAX FAIRNESS CREDIT
Eligible Maine taxpayers may receive a portion of their property tax or rent paid during the tax year on their Maine individual income tax return whether they owe Maine income tax or not. Homeowners or renters who meet certain income and property tax and/or rent paid limitations during the tax year may qualify. Limits have increased, so if you were not eligible before, you may be now. To learn more follow this link or call Maine Revenue Services at (207) 626-8475.
FREE CLASSES FOR 2020 HIGH SCHOOL GRADUATES
Maine’s community colleges have provided our 2020 high school graduates with an awesome gift, free summer courses! Students interested in getting a head start on their college career will be eligible to choose from online college-level classes in English, math, sciences, languages, psychology, history, digital photography, creative writing and more. More information and details on how to register are available at this link.
Each year the Maine Legislature recognizes one student from each county who is currently pursuing or planning to pursue education at a two- or four-year degree-granting Maine college or technical school with a scholarship. This year’s application deadline has been extended to June 1. Learn more and apply at this link.
FREQUENTLY USED COVID-19 RESOURCES
As always, here’s a set of resources to help with the most common COVID-19 problems Mainers are facing:
- A statewide COVID-19 response website that includes a directory of how each Maine agency is responding, as well as resources for health care, small businesses, education, family care and more.
- A website outlining Maine’s approach to restarting the economy.
- A COVID-19 Rental Relief Program which allows households that meet certain criteria to receive a one-time, up to $500 payment in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord.
- A Maine Department of Labor factsheet and COVID-19 webpage to help navigate unemployment insurance benefits. CEI has also put together a helpful website with tips for self-employed and other workers applying for PUA.
- A compilation of resources, updates and help created by Maine Equal Justice for Mainers trying to manage health care, food security, evictions, court proceedings and other issues during this time.
- The website for small businesses to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans through the US Small Business Administration.
- A Paycheck Protection Program implemented through the federal stimulus package. This program helps small businesses and sole proprietors access loans with loan forgiveness when they keep employees on their payroll.
- Detailed information on the FAME COVID-19 Consumer Loan Guarantee Program offering low-or-no interest loans to qualifying applicants.
- A resource to get answers any time by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211 or emailing email@example.com.
LOCAL COVID-19 RESOURCES
- MDI Hospital COVID-19 update
- Town of Bar Harbor COVID-19 updates
- Town of Mount Desert COVID-19 updates
- Town of Lamoine municipal information
CONGRATULATIONS TO THE CLASS OF 2020!
While our high school students were forced to spend their final months in high school physically apart, they nevertheless will graduate together. I wish the Class of 2020 well as they make their way forward in an uncertain world, and I congratulate them on their many accomplishments!