RESTARTING YOUR BUSINESS

On April 28, Gov. Janet Mills announced a plan for gradually restarting Maine’s economy. An explanation of the plan, including guiding principles, an outline of the four-stage approach, health metrics and safety precautions, can be found here. The page also has links to important documents related to getting your business running again:

Restarting Maine’s Economy Booklet
Restarting Maine’s Economy Sample Checklist

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT

Spurwink offers outpatient counseling and family support at locations throughout Cumberland County and Maine. Therapy is being offered via telehealth during the pandemic. To connect with a professional clinician for treatment, contact The LINK at 888-889-3903 or email [email protected].

MENTAL HEALTH SUPPORT FOR TEENS

The Maine chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Maine) has launched the Teen Text Support Line, a new mental health program for youth 14-20 years of age living in Maine. The line operates daily from noon to 10 p.m. and provides a safe space to talk with another young person. The support staff are between 19-23 years of age. The number is 207-515-8398 (TEXT). This program is not a crisis line. Those in crisis should call or text the statewide crisis line at 1-888-568-1112.

EVICTION PROTECTION, RENT RELIEF AND MORTGAGE ISSUES

Gov. Janet Mills signed an executive order on Thursday to help Mainers stay in their homes and keep businesses open during the state of emergency. The order will prevent the immediate eviction of tenants other than those who engage in dangerous or unlawful conduct. It will also strengthened the penalties for landlords who may try to evict tenants by unlawful means, and extended the time frame for the eviction process in the event that the courts reopen before the state of emergency is terminated.

The state has partnered with MaineHousing to create the COVID-19 Rent Relief Program, a new rental assistance relief program for Mainers who cannot pay their rent because of the coronavirus outbreak. The $5 million program will allow households that meet certain income and ability to pay requirements to receive a one-time, payment of up to $500 in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord.

Mills also urged all financial institutions to work with Maine homeowners and small businesses experiencing financial hardship because of the virus outbreak to help keep them in their homes and storefronts. Mills issued a letter to credit unions and financial institutions asking them to avoid initiating residential and commercial foreclosures and pause any open ones during this time.

INFORMATION AVAILABLE AT THE CDC

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a large volume of useful information at its coronavirus website, including a section dedicated to stress and coping in these uncertain times. Other important topics addressed include symptoms and testing, prevention, and what to do if you become sick.

HOW DO I FILE FOR UNEMPLOYMENT?

Lawmakers have passed an emergency law that extends unemployment benefits for people affected by coronavirus. That includes benefits for displaced employees who intend to return to the same company and are not required to search for jobs, and waiving a weeklong waiting period to be eligible for benefits.

Go online to maine.gov/unemployment/ to file a claim or to download frequently asked questions about eligibility.

The Due to the unprecedented number of unemployment claims caused by the coronavirus, the Maine Department of Labor is instituting an alphabetical-by-last-name call-in schedule for Mainers filing for unemployment benefits. The new schedule will help reduce phone line congestion as the department adjusts its capacity to receive and process claims. Beginning April 6, those filing for unemployment by using the 800 number (1-800-593-7660) are asked to adhere to the following schedule: Those with last names beginning with A-H should call on Monday, I-Q on Tuesday and R-Z on Wednesday. Thursday and Friday will be left unassigned for those who miss their alphabetical day or need to call at that time.

The department has also created a chart that summarizes the various state and federal benefits.

ISOLATED AT HOME? GET HELP WITH MEALS AND OTHER NEEDS

Mainers of any age who need some help but don’t know where to turn can dial 211, a free service that connects residents to support agencies in their communities.

The toll-free number works 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.

211 supports older adults and persons with disabilities in Maine by providing referrals to, and information about, services and supports such as home health care or meals.

You can dial 211 toll-free, send an email to [email protected], or go the website at 211maine.org.

211 Maine is a collaborative effort of the United Ways of Maine, the State of Maine Department of Health and Human Services, and The Opportunity Alliance as the Contact Center Partner.

The AARP has set up AARP Community Connections, a new online platform, that allows users to organize and find local volunteer groups to assist seniors with tasks such as grocery pickup, financial assistance and emotional support. The platform also includes resources for those feeling isolated, depressed, overwhelmed or anxious during this crisis.

The Southern Maine Agency on Aging has set up a resource web page to assist older adults and adults with disabilities. To connect with a resource specialist, call 207-396-6500 or email [email protected]

The Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) state and local agencies are operating under strict guidelines and will not conduct face-to-face appointments. All appointments will be done by phone. The state office numbers are 207-287-3991 or toll-free 1-800-437-9300. Formula orders, prior authorizations, referrals and questions can be sent to: [email protected] More information, including a list of local WIC clinic phone numbers, can be found at this site.

FOOD PANTRIES AND SOUP KITCHENS
Food pantries, soup kitchens and other assistance programs are still operating safely under CDC guidelines at parishes throughout Maine. The list below will be continually updated with additional options at portlanddiocese. org/FoodAssistance:

•Preble Street Center, Portland. Food Pantry (252 Oxford Street), daily, 1:30 p.m.-3 p.m. Soup Kitchen (252 Oxford Street), daily: breakfast, 7:45 a.m.-9:30 a.m.; lunch, 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.; dinner, 4 p.m.-6 p.m. Teen Center Soup Kitchen (343 Cumberland Avenue), daily: breakfast, 8 a.m.-9 a.m.; lunch, noon-1 p.m.; dinner, 6 p.m.-7 p.m. All meals with be to-go through the crisis. Those wishing to support the center through volunteering, financial contributions, in-kind donations and other ways can get more information at:  www.preblestreet.org/you-can-help/

•St. Martin of Tours Food Pantry, located on 19 Colby Street in Millinocket, 9 to 11 a.m. Wednesdays. Those in need to fill out a food list and the food is brought outside the church with no personal contact. Contact is 746-3333 or email [email protected] gmail.com.

•The St. Peter Food Pantry in Bingham, items will now be packaged and left at the door of the pantry for pickup on the first and third Wednesdays of the month for residents of Bingham, Caratunk, Concord, Moscow, Moxie and Pleasant Ridge.

•St. Mary’s Ecumenical Food Pantry, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursdays at 236 Eldridge Road, Wells. Drive-thru format, all clients remain in their car, a volunteer hands them an order sheet to fill out and those orders are filled and placed in the car’s trunk.

•Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish of Auburn Parish Social Ministry program offers assistance to any parish individuals or families, particularly the elderly, homebound or those who might be food insecure or those in need of fuel and rent assistance.
Contact Deacon Denis Mailhot at 782-8096, ext. 1203, or [email protected] portlanddiocese.org.

•For Notre Dame du Mont Carmel Parish, Madawaska; Our Lady of the Valley Parish, St. Agatha; St. Peter Chanel Parish, Van Buren – all food pantries remain open with changes in how food is handled and distributed for both safety of clients and volunteer staff. For updated pick up times and schedules, call 728-7531.

•St. Raphael Church, 6 Whipple Road, Kittery, will provide takeout dinners on Thursdays at 5 p.m. at the church hall.

Parish of the Precious Blood, Caribou, Ashland Food Pantry, 31A Station St., open from 5 to 7 p.m. on the second Tuesdays and 2 to 4 p.m. on third Thursdays each month with assembled boxes of food to speed up drivethrough distribution and minimize contact. Caribou Ecumenical Food Pantry, 31 Herschel Street (Unit #1), offers drive-through distribution from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays by advance reservation by calling 493- 4860.

•The Caribou Bread of Life Soup Kitchen, at 62 Collins St., is open from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

•The Grace Interfaith Food Table (GIFT), at 11 Industrial St., Presque Isle, is open on Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to noon with drivethrough distributions.

•St. Charles Food Pantry at 912 Main St. in Saint Francis, is open from noon to 2 p.m. on the first Thursday of the month and in emergencies with preboxed supplies brought to people’s vehicles. To make arrangements, call 834-5656.

St. Louis Ecumenical Food Pantry, at 100 Main St., Limestone, open 3 to 6 p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays with assembled boxes distributed via drive-through format.

St. Mary’s Food Pantry, at 3443 Main St., Eagle Lake, open from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on first Wednesday of the month (senior boxes right off the trailer, preboxed pantry products in parking lot, and help to those who need it due to unemployment.)

Parish of the Resurrection of the Lord, at 33 Carroll St., Old Town, open from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. on the last Monday of the month and a community supper as a takeout-only option from 6 to 7 p.m. on the third Friday of the month at the back of Holy Family Church Brunswick Street parking lot.

•The St. Vincent de Paul Soup Kitchen, at 307 Congress St., Portland, is offering bagged lunches and water to community members from 11 a.m. to noon on Mondays through Fridays. The Sacred Heart/ St. Dominic Food Pantry, at 80 Sherman St., is distributing “grab and go” bags each from 9 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays.

St. Bernard Soup Kitchen at 150 Broadway, Rockland, remains open Mondays through Fridays offering takeout lunch at noon.

St. John Vianney Parish at Fort Kent has two food pantries: St. Charles Borromeo Food Pantry at 912 Main St., is open on the first Thursday of each month, while St. Mary, located on 3443 Aroostook Road, is open on the first Wednesday of each month. Both pantries offer emergency food anytime. For immediate assistance, call the parish at 834-5656.

St. Joseph Food Pantry, at 225 South High St., Bridgton, open from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays.

St. Joseph Parish, Farmington, takeout meals available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays at Parish hall at Quebec and Middle streets.

•The St. Mary’s Food Pantry, at 110 Military St., Houlton, open from 8:30 to 11 a.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays or by appointment for drive-through distribution.

St. Matthew Food Pantry of St. Matthew Parish, 19 Dora Lane, Limerick, from 6 to 7 p.m. first Monday of each month and 10 a.m. to noon Tuesdays.
Drive-through service.

•The St. Denis/Whitefield Food Pantry, at 298 Grand Army Road, Whitefield, from 1 to 3 p.m. first Friday of each month.

St. Rose of Lima Parish, 1 Church St., Jay. Takeout meals available from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays.

•The St. Thérèse Food Closet at St. Ignatius Gymnasium, 25 Riverside Ave., Sanford, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Fridays. The food closet is no longer accepting food donations, but cash donations are greatly appreciated.

•The St. Thérèse Food Closet at St. Ignatius Gymnasium, 25 Riverside Ave., Sanford, from 12:30 to 2 p.m. Fridays. The food closet is no longer accepting food donations, but cash donations are greatly appreciated.

•The St. Luke’s Food Pantry, 143 State Street, Portland, open Thursday mornings from 9:30 to 11 a.m. The pantry is located at the parking lot on Park Street (between Congress and Spring). The pantry also distributes prepackaged boxes of food to individuals and families in need.

HOW CAN I HELP?

The State of Maine has launched Maine Helps, an online resource to connect people who would like to help in this time of need. The site has links to nonprofits for donations, assisting the health care community, supporting local businesses and volunteering.

HOW DOES THE VIRUS AFFECT MY PETS?

Many organizations continue to monitor the health relationship between humans and their pets during the pandemic. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no evidence that companion amimals, including pets, can spread COVID-19. The CDC guidelines for pet owners can be found here.

The American Veterinary Medical Foundation has set up a web page to give guidence to veterinarians, that also includes a frequently-asked questions bulletin for pet owners.

IDEXX, a Westbrook-based corporation that develops, manufactures, and distributes products and services for veterinary patients, has an update and explaination at their website.

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH CARING FOR HORSES

The Feed and Care Bank, an ongoing program of the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals in Windham, offers temporary financial assistance for Maine horse owners in need, including hay, feed, and farrier or veterinary services. Maine horse owners who are struggling can apply online at msspa.org/hay or by calling 207-892-3040. The bank is also accepting donations at msspa.org/give. For more information, email [email protected] or call 207-892-3040.

FOR THOSE STRUGGLING WITH ALCOHOL ADDICTION

The Central Service Office of Alcholics Anonymous for Maine and New Brunswick has a listing of virtual meetings for members and those seeking help with alcoholism. There is also a form to submit a meeting. The group also has a 24-hour hotline: 1-800-737-6237.

Maine Al-Anon Family Groups is a resource for those affected by a relative or friend’s drinking. For more information or to find a virtual meeting, visit www.maineafg.org or call 1-800-498-1844.

CAN I STILL GET AN UBER OR LYFT RIDE?

Ride-sharing services such as Uber and Lyft are having their operations cut back under the stay-at-home executive order issued March 31 by Gov. Janet Mills.

The services are still allowed to operate, but can only transport one person at a time to an essential job or activity as defined by the order, according to the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development.

DRIVER’S LICENSES AND STATE ID EXPIRATION DATES EXTENDED

Gov. Mills, through an executive order issued March 23, extended a waiver for all driver’s licenses, driver’s permits, state identification cards, commercial driver’s licenses, dealer licenses, salvage motor vehicle recycler licenses, driver/rider school licenses and instructor licenses that expire during the period of emergency, which began March 15.

Driver’s license vision test requirements are also waived during this period, which allows many driver license and state ID holders to use the online renewal service.

The order also suspends registration requirements for vehicles and trailers after transfer of title or ownership, which will allow private sales to continue during the BMV closure.

Waivers will expire 30 days after the end of the emergency period and the Bureau of Motor Vehicles will process transactions upon reopening.

STORES RESERVING SPECIAL HOURS FOR SENIORS

Here is a list  of exclusive shopping hours for seniors, as of April 21:

Big Lots: Daily, 9 a.m.-10 a.m.

BJ’s Wholesale Club: Monday-Saturday, 8 a.m.-9 a.m.

Hannaford: Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 7 a.m.-8 a.m.

Market Basket: Daily, 6 a.m.-7 a.m.

Renys (open locations): Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, 8 a.m.

Sam’s Club: Tuesday and Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

Shaws: Tuesday, Thursday, 7 a.m.-9 a.m.

Trader Joe’s: Daily, 8 a.m.-9 a.m.

Walgreens: Tuesday, 8 a.m.-9 a.m. (with special discounts).

Walmart: Tuesday, 6 a.m.-7 a.m. Walmart also has a special pickup service daily from  7 a.m.-8 a.m.

Whole Foods: Daily, 7 a.m.-8 a.m.

HOW CAN I STAY UPDATED ON WHAT’S HAPPENING LOCALLY?

Here is a list of cities and towns in Cumberland County with a link to a home page, phone number and COVID-19 specific web page. Some municipalities have COVID-19 information directly on their home page, and many have systems in place to alert their communities through text and email notifications on everything from town meetings to schedule changes and closings. A link to register is included in the alerts column.

Baldwin 207-625-3581
Bridgton 207-647-8786 COVID-19 INFO
Brunswick 207-725-6659 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Cape Elizabeth 207-799-0881 COVID-19 INFO
Casco 207-627-4515
Chebeague Island 207-846-3148
Cumberland 207-829-5559 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Falmouth 207-781-5253 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Freeport 207-865-4743 ALERTS
Frye Island 207-655-4551
Gorham 207-839-5037 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Gray 207-657-3339 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Harpswell 207-833-5771 COVID-19 INFO
Harrison 207-583-2241
Long Island 207-766-5820 COVID-19 INFO
Naples 207-693-6364 COVID-19 INFO
New Gloucester 207-926-4126
North Yarmouth 207-829-3705 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Portland 207-874-8300 CORVID-19 INFO ALERTS
Pownal 207-688-4611 COVID-19 INFO
Raymond 207-655-4742
Scarborough 207-883-4301
Sebago 207-787-2457 COVID-19 INFO ALERTS
South Portland 207-767-3201 COVID-19 INFO
Standish 207-642-3461 ALERTS
Westbrook 207-854-9105 ALERTS
Windham 207-892-1907 ALERTS
Yarmouth 207-846-9036

ARE COURTS REMAINING OPEN?

Courthouses in Maine will remain open, but with reduced hours. A full list of hours can be found here. According to Maine’s judicial branch special coronavirus page, you should only go to a courthouse if you’re required to be there or seeking protection from abuse or harassment. If you have questions about whether you should go to a courthouse, call 207-753-2999. For general inquiries concerning the judicial branch’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak, contact [email protected]

ANSWERS TO YOUR MAINE TAX QUESTIONS

Maine Revenue Services, the state’s tax agency, is limiting public access to its offices. The agency’s offices on Presumpscot Street in Portland are closed to the public, and its site in Augusta will be open to the public only to accept tax payments.

Taxpayers seeking assistance can call Maine Revenue Services from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All revenue services telephone and email contact information is available at: www.maine.gov/revenue/contact.html. This includes the Taxpayer Service Center at 207-624-9784 and the Property Tax Division at 207-624-5600.

Maine extended the deadline to file state income tax returns until July 15.

BEFORE YOU DRIVE THERE, MAKE SURE IT’S OPEN

Some retailers in Maine have closed stores and others have reduced hours. Don’t assume your favorite stores will open and close at the same time as they did even a few days ago. Before you hop in the car, check the store’s website for its hours. If that’s unclear, the website should have a phone number you can call to double-check.

CAN MY CHILDREN STILL GET SCHOOL LUNCHES?

Even though schools have temporarily shut down, many districts have started food-distribution programs for students to get meals they normally would receive at school. Check your school’s website to see if they have launched a program, and where to pick up meals.

FREE INTERNET SERVICE FOR STUDENTS

Charter Communications, which does business as Spectrum, said it will offer free broadband and Wi-Fi access to households with K-12 and/or college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription, at any service level up to 100 Mbps. To enroll call 844-488-8395. Installation fees will be waived for new student households.

CAN THEY SHUT OFF MY ELECTRICITY?

No. State regulators have issued an order directing all utilities that provide electricity, natural gas and water to refrain from disconnecting customers until further notice. This applies to both residential and commercial customers.

HOW DO I APPLY FOR A SMALL BUSINESS LOAN?

On Sunday, Gov. Mills announced she had asked the federal Small Business Administration to make disaster loans available to businesses impacted by coronavirus, and on Monday it granted that request. The SBA’s website provides more details: sba.gov/disaster-assistance/coronavirus-covid-19

INTERACTIVE UPDATE PAGE

The Greater Portland Council of Governments has launched an interactive update page focused on the coronavirus. The page aims to provide updates on the status of local and county government facilities, programs, policies, and other protective steps taken for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis. Users can comment on posted items and also sign up to get email notices every time new items are added.


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