COVID-19 Response & Resources

Hope you and your family are well despite these challenging times. With the situation rapidly changing, I wanted to make sure there was one place you could go to see which resources were available and find out what’s happening at the federal and state level. I’m hoping this resource page will help you get what you need as we navigate this crisis together.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out. I can be reached via phone at 207-287-1500 or via email at 

Health & Hunger
Other Resources

Overview of Federal Action

The federal government is taking a number of steps across government agencies and in Congress to provide Mainers with relief during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

  • March 18: Mortgage help for homeowners impacted by COVID-19. Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) and the Federal Home Loan Banks are taking steps to help people who have been impacted by the coronavirus.   If your ability to pay your mortgage is impacted, and your loan is owned by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, you may be eligible to delay making your monthly mortgage payments for a temporary period, during which: 
    • You won’t incur late fees.
    • You won’t have delinquencies reported to the credit bureaus.
    • Foreclosure and other legal proceedings will be suspended

If you have trouble catching up at the end of this temporary relief period, additional assistance may be available. You can work with your servicer to resume making a mortgage payment. Or if you need additional assistance, you can work with your servicer on other foreclosure prevention options to keep your home. Learn more here.

  • Federal Housing and Finance Agency provides eviction suspension relief for renters in multi-family properties. The agency announced that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the Enterprises) will offer multifamily property owners mortgage forbearance with the condition that they suspend all evictions for renters unable to pay rent due to the impact of coronavirus. The eviction suspensions are in place for the entire duration of time that a property owner remains in forbearance. The forbearance is available to all multifamily properties with an Enterprise-backed performing multifamily mortgage negatively affected by the coronavirus national emergency. Read more here

March 21: The federal government moved the federal tax deadline to July 15. Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. To get an extension beyond the July 15 deadline, 

  • Individual taxpayers can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on 
  • Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.

However, for individuals who are expecting a refund, they should file as soon as possible. According to the IRS, most tax refunds are still being issued within 21 days. Learn more.

Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) It provides expanded family and medical leave protections and pay for employees at businesses with fewer than 500 employees and employees of state and local governments.

What does that mean for workers? Employees who have been employed by their current employer for at least 30 days are eligible for 12 weeks of job-protected leave. Leave may be used only to care for a child of an employee if the child’s school or place of care has been closed, or the child care provider is unavailable due to the coronavirus. 

Who doesn’t it include?

  • Some health care workers and emergency responders are excluded.
  • Employees at private businesses with more than 500 employees are excluded.
  • Employees at businesses with fewer than 50 employees, if providing the otherwise-required paid leave “would jeopardize the viability of the business as a going concern.” We are still waiting for federal rulemaking for more guidance on what this means for employers.
  • Employees at businesses with fewer than 25 employees are not required to return employees to their positions after FMLA leave is taken if the employee’s position no longer exists due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Questions Regarding Payment

  • The first 10 days may be unpaid (the employee may use paid time off or accrued sick leave during this time, but can’t be forced to do so);
  • The remaining 10 workweeks must be paid at no less than two-thirds the employee’s usual rate of pay;
  • Paid leave is capped at $200/day and $10,000 total per employee

Refundable Tax Credits for Employers

This provision allows employers to use the money they would have otherwise paid in payroll taxes directly to employees who are using the COVID-19-related paid leave provisions.

  • Employers who pay for COVID-19 related family medical leave will be able to retain a portion of their payroll taxes equal to the amount they’ve paid out in leave to offset the cost rather than deposit it with the IRS. 
  • The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, Social Security, Medicare taxes.
  • Because this is a refundable tax credit, if the payroll taxes aren’t sufficient to cover the cost of the paid leave, employers will be able to file a request for the difference from the IRS.


Emergency Paid Sick Leave The Families First Coronavirus Response Act also provides emergency paid sick leave for employees of businesses with fewer than 500 employees and employees of state and local governments.

What does that mean for workers? Employees – regardless of how long they’ve been employed –  can take two weeks of paid sick leave if:
  • They have been ordered to self-quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19;
  • Their doctor has advised them to self-quarantine because of COVID-19;
  • They have COVID-19 symptoms and are seeking a diagnosis;
  • They are caring for someone who is ordered or advised to self-quarantine or isolate because of COVID-19; or
  • They are caring for a child whose school or daycare is closed because of COVID-19.

Who doesn’t it include?
  • Some health care workers and emergency responders are excluded
  • Employees at private businesses with more than 500 employees are excluded

Questions Regarding Payment
  • Sick leave taken for self-quarantine, isolation, or to seek a diagnosis is paid at the employee’s regular rate of pay and capped at $511/day and $5,110 total per employee
  • Sick leave taken to care for someone in self-quarantine, isolation, or seeking a diagnosis or to care for a child whose school or daycare is closed is paid at ⅔ of the employee’s regular rate of pay and capped at $200/day and $2,000 total per employee

Refundable Tax Credits for Employers This provision allows employers to use the money they would have otherwise paid in payroll taxes directly to employees who are using the COVID-19-related paid leave provisions.
  • Employers who pay for COVID-19 related sick leave will be able to retain a portion of their payroll taxes equal to the amount they’ve paid out in leave to offset the cost rather than deposit it with the IRS. 
  • The payroll taxes that are available for retention include withheld federal income taxes, Social Security, Medicare taxes.
  • Because this is a refundable tax credit, if the payroll taxes aren’t sufficient to cover the cost of the paid leave, employers will be able to file a request for the difference from the IRS.
  • CARES ACT – Student Loans. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides some student loan relief to Americans still paying off their federally-backed loans. Student loan borrowers can defer payments on their student loan until Sept. 30 without any penalty or accrued interest. Note: It does not include private loans. Learn more here.


  • Secretary DeVos Directs FSA to Stop Wage Garnishment, Collections Actions for Student Loan Borrowers, Will Refund More Than $1.8 Billion to Students, Families. Last week, Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that due to the COVID-19 national emergency, the Department of Education will halt collection actions and wage garnishments to provide additional assistance to borrowers. This flexibility will last for a period of at least 60 days from March 13, 2020. Read more here.
  • Stimulus Checks for Seniors. There’s been some confusion about whether or not seniors who are not typically required to file tax returns need to file to get their stimulus checks. The answer is no. The IRS has clarified that seniors will automatically receive an economic impact payment. Learn more here at
  • Stimulus Checks in General. Over the next three weeks, Mainers will begin receiving their stimulus checks in the mail. Whether or not you are eligible for a stimulus check is based on your income. Eligible taxpayers who filed tax returns for either 2019 or 2018 will automatically receive an economic impact payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child. There is a good FAQ for folks to check out here. 
Quick Links:

The state of Maine has taken a number of steps in response to the COVID-19 pandemic to promote public health, support workers and small businesses, and protect Maine people. Here’s what you need to know right now:

  • Gov. Janet T. Mills signed an Executive Order requiring individuals to stay at home unless they have to work or partake in an essential activity.
  • Private and public health insurance companies are required to cover COVID-19 testing. If you are sick and think you should be tested, call your doctor. Do not just show up.
  • Maine Department of Education Commissioner Pender Makin has recommended that all schools and students continue with remote/distance learning for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year. Free school meals are still available. Learn more here.
  • All non-essential businesses and operations in Maine have been ordered to close their physical locations that are public-facing, meaning those that allow customer, vendor or other in-person contact. Curbside pickup and delivery is still permitted. Learn more.
  • Gatherings of more than ten people and dine-in service at restaurants and bars are prohibited. Learn more.
  • Nursing homes are not allowing visitors except in extraordinary circumstances.
  • All Bureau of Motor Vehicles offices are closed. Motor vehicle registrations will be extended. Learn more here.
  • Effective Monday, March 23, 2020 operations will be reduced in courthouses throughout the state. Learn more here.
  • Maine’s income taxing filing deadline has been moved to July 15. If you are expecting a refund, you can still file early to get it. Learn more here.
  • Maine’s June primary elections have been rescheduled for July 14. Individuals can also vote absentee. To request your absentee ballot, click here.
  • March 12: Gov. Mills declared an insurance emergency for the state of Maine. Here’s what that means for the state of Maine:
    • All insurance companies must cover medical screening and testing for COVID-19
    • All insurance companies must provide these services with no deductible, no copayment or cost-sharing of any kind
    • Department of Health and Human Services is also issuing emergency rules to ensure MaineCare provides comprehensive coverage for lab testing and medical treatment
  • March 18: Gov. Mills has issued an Executive Order mandating that all restaurants and bars statewide close to dine-in customers effective March 18, 2020, at 6:00 p.m. for 14 days until midnight, March 31, 2020. Take-out, delivery, and drive-through options can continue. In her order, the Governor also prohibited all gatherings of more than 10 people until further notice, mandating the latest U.S. CDC’s guidance on gatherings. Read more here.
  • March 20: Superintendent of Insurance Eric Cioppa ordered insurance companies to provide telehealth coverage, specifically for clinically-appropriate services delivered by telephone, as well as via more commonly used apps, such as FaceTime, WhatsApp, and Skype, as long as they are private. This provides flexibility to patients who may not have access to web-based applications traditionally used for telehealth. (Guidance from CMS & Guidance from MaineCare.)
  • March 24: Gov. Mills issued an Executive Order mandating that all non-essential businesses and operations in Maine close their physical locations that are public-facing, meaning those that allow customer, vendor or another in-person contact. The Order also closes non-essential business sites that require more than ten workers to convene in a space where physical distancing is not possible. Non-essential businesses and operations may continue activities that do not involve these types of in-person contact and gatherings and should facilitate the maximum number of employees working remotely. The Order is effective March 25, 2020, at 12:01 a.m. and extends for a period of 14 days through April 8, 2020, at midnight. More details here
  • March 25: MEMA and the Administration announced an agreement with the University of Maine System and the Maine Community College System to coordinate requests for assistance and the deployment of resources to assist in Maine’s response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  These agreements identify the roles and responsibilities of Maine’s public higher education systems and MEMA and how the systems will assist with response and recovery efforts. Read more here.
  • March 25: Gov. Mills issued an Executive Order that allows licensed physicians, physician assistants, and nurses greater flexibility to contribute to Maine’s response during the civil state of emergency. Those who are licensed and in good standing in other states can now:
    • Receive an emergency license to provide health care in person or through telehealth to Maine people, with no application fee
    • See Maine patients through telehealth without obtaining a Maine license, if already serving those patients at out-of-state locations
    • Have their licenses automatically renewed if up for renewal during the state of emergency
    • Suspend conforming to physician oversight requirements (for physician assistants and advanced practice registered nurses)
    • Reactivate their license immediately with no application fee, if retired.
  • March 26: Gov. Mills and Commissioner Lambrew announced additional funding for Maine’s nursing facilities to help meet the financial challenges posed by COVID-19. DHHS is providing additional payments through MaineCare to support nursing facilities’ efforts related to infection control and visitor screening to protect workers and the residents in their care. Nursing facilities may request supplemental reimbursement through an “extraordinary circumstance allowance,” which is available to help facilities address costs associated with unforeseen events outside of their control. DHHS has asked nursing facilities to track and submit costs beyond their normal operating expenses, such as:
    • Staffing above and beyond customary levels necessary to maintain proper ratios and to monitor residents and screen visitors;
    • Supplies and personal protective equipment, such as alcohol-based hand sanitizers, face masks, and gowns, beyond the amounts typically purchased.
    • Reimbursement requests will be considered for expenses starting March 1, 2020.
  • March 26: The Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry’s Bureau of Parks and Lands (BPL) closed Maine’s coastal state parks. Effective Friday, March 27 at 12:01 am, the following Midcoast and Southern Maine coastal State Parks and beaches are closed until April 8: Reid State Park, Popham Beach State Park, Fort Popham, Fort Baldwin, Kettle Cove State Park, Two Lights State Park, Crescent Beach State Park, Scarborough Beach State Park, Ferry Beach State Park, and Mackworth Island. (Note that the closure could be extended depending on the spread of the potentially deadly virus.) Learn more here.
  • March 26: Gov. Janet Mills announced that the State will extend the deadline for Maine income tax payments from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. The change aligns with the Federal government’s recent extension of the Federal tax filing deadline to July 15, 2020. Learn more here.
  • March 30: Gov. Mills and Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) Jeanne Lambrew announced that the Administration is accelerating pay increases for personal care workers and expanding access to meals for older Mainers who are home-bound because of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19). Maine DHHS will accelerate MaineCare (Medicaid) rate increases that are designated to support pay raises for personal care workers, including personal support specialists, home health aides, private duty nurses, and other professionals who care for Maine’s older residents at home. Starting April 1, 2020, providers will receive rate increases that will allow them to fund pay raises for approximately 20,000 personal care workers, instead of on July 1, 2020, as previously approved by the Legislature. Learn more here.
  • March 31: Gov. Janet T. Mills signed an Executive Order requiring individuals to stay at home unless they have to work or partake in an essential activity. The Governor also mandated a series of other new restrictions, including:
    • For essential businesses and operations that remain open, limiting the number of customers in their buildings at any one time, implementing curbside 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.
    • Prohibiting the use of public transportation unless for an essential reason or job that cannot be done from home and limiting the number of people traveling in private vehicles to persons within the immediate household unless transporting for essential activities.
    • Mandating the continued termination of classroom or other in-person instruction until at least May 1, 2020.
    • 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.
  • March 31: Gov. Mills has issued an Executive Order (PDF) extending the State’s property tax exemption deadline. The order, which took effect March 31, extends the statutory April 1st deadline to either the commitment date of the municipality (the date set each year, usually in July, when the Tax Assessors commit the town’s assessment roll to the Tax Collector to allow for the receipt of payment) or 30 days after the termination of the Governor’s Proclamation of Civil Emergency, whichever comes first. Extending the deadline will allow Maine people more time to apply for the new Homestead Exemption, which provides a reduction of up to $25,000 in the value of an individual’s home for property tax purposes, thereby lowering their property tax burden. Learn more.
  • March 31: Gov. Mills submitted a request through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (PDF) (FEMA) for a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration in light of the significant impact of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) on the State of Maine. If Gov. Mills’ request for assistance is approved, Maine people may have access to additional resources that support child care, behavioral health, and legal services, among others, needed in response to the pandemic. The Governor’s request is for all 16 counties. Learn more.
  • April 1: Gov. Mills issued an Executive Order mandating that travelers arriving in Maine, regardless of their state of residency, self-quarantine for 14 days to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. The Order, which directs the Maine Department of Transportation, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and others to post this guidance at all major points of entry into the State, exempts individuals who are providing essential services as defined by Gov. Mills’ March 24 Executive Order (PDF). The Order also instructs visitors not to travel to Maine if they are displaying symptoms of COVID-19 and discourages travel from cities or regions identified as COVID-19 hot spots.
    • This Order also suspends lodging operations, including hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, inns, and short-term rentals such as those available through VRBO Airbnb, RV parks and campgrounds, and all public and private camping facilities as well as online reservations effective April 5, 2020.
    • Lodging can be provided for housing vulnerable populations (i.e. children in emergency placements, persons at risk of domestic violence, and homeless individuals as permitted by the State) and for health care workers or other workers deemed necessary to support public health, public safety, or critical infrastructure. If people have questions, they should reach out to the governor’s office before kicking people out.
    • Individual violations of this Order may be charged as a Class E crime subject to a penalty of up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. Additionally, any lodging, park, or campground operator who violates this Order may be construed as violating any license, permit, or other authorization to operate and be subject to appropriate penalties. Learn more here.
  • April 4: President Trump has approved Gov. Mills’ request for a major disaster declaration for the State of Maine. This move unlocks critical federal assistance for state agencies and municipalities in Maine. The approval is specifically for public assistance, which means that State agencies and municipalities in all of Maine’s 16 counties will be reimbursed for 75 percent of approved costs associated with their COVID-19 response. [The Governor’s other requests for disaster assistance, including additional resources for Maine people to support child care, behavioral health, and legal services, among others, remain under review by the Trump Administration. Additionally, Governor Mills’ request for approval of Title 32 Section 502(f) funds for the Maine National Guard remains under review.] You can read the full request here.
  • April 7: Gov. Mills has directed the Maine National Guard and the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) to work with Maine’s health care systems to open two alternative care sites in Portland and Bangor as part of the State’s preparations to bolster Maine health system capacity in the face of COVID-19. Learn more here.
    • The one in Portland at Cross Insurance arena will have 100 beds;
    • The one in Bangor at Cross Insurance arena will have 50.
  • April 7: Gov. Mills, DHHS and the Maine CDC are partnering with major health care systems in Maine on overarching strategy. The governor is partnering with MaineHealth, Northern Light Health, Central Maine Healthcare, MaineGeneral Health, and the Maine Hospital Association on comprehensive surge planning to ensure adequate capacity for the treatment for Mainers with COVID-19. These alternative care sites, which are part of this plan, will free up hospital beds, if needed, to accommodate a potential surge of COVID-19 patients in the coming weeks. Learn more here. The State’s broader response to the pandemic includes providing key supports to health care organizations, such as: 
    • Personal Protective Equipment: The State is working on three fronts to protect our front-line workers in the fight against COVID-19. First, the Mills Administration continues to request from the Federal government a greater share of the Strategic National Stockpile and other Federal sources of PPE. Second, the Administration is working to procure PPE efficiently and effectively. Third, the State is working to produce supplies in Maine. For example, the State has worked with the University of Maine System which has produced over 630 gallons of hand sanitizer so far for over 30 hospitals. The Department of Corrections has produced 1,000 cloth face coverings and 200 gowns for its use.
    • Staffing: The Administration is also asking clinicians to sign up for the “Maine Responds” Emergency Health Volunteer System that organizes health care, public health, and emergency response volunteers to respond to emergencies. Already, approximately 300 have signed up. Nearly half of these anesthesiologists certified registered nurse anesthesiologists and respiratory therapists who can help manage a hospital surge.   
    • Regulatory flexibility: Maine DHHS submitted an 1135 waiver to the federal government that was approved to give hospitals greater flexibility to rapidly discharge patients to nursing facilities to free up beds, bring on providers from different states, and allocate staff to meet patient needs in this crisis.
    • Financial support: DHHS is preparing to take the first step next week to financially support Maine’s hospitals in responding to COVID-19 by making $10 million in supplemental payments to hospitals. This is part of the Administration’s larger effort to support Maine’s health care workers and organizations as they battle COVID-19 and its ripple effects on our residents and health system. 
  • April 7: Gov. Mills has signed an Executive Order (PDF) to further expand access to health care for Maine people in the face of COVID-19. The Order takes additional steps to bolster the health care workforce, expand telehealth services, and temporarily alleviate certain licensing requirements, building upon the Governor’s March 20 Executive Order. Learn more here.
  • April 10: Mills signed an Executive Order moving Maine’s primary election from Tuesday, June 9, 2020, to Tuesday, July 14, 2020. The Order, which is effective immediately, also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election. It also extends the deadline for qualifying contributions under the Maine Clean Election Act to May 19, 2020. Learn more here.
    • The Order also extends the Maine Clean Election Act submission deadline for qualifying contributions to 5:00 p.m. on May 19, 2020, instead of April 21, 2020. To become eligible for Clean Elections funding, candidates must collect a minimum number of checks or money orders of $5. Governor Mills’ Stay Healthy at Home Order effectively prevents candidates for public office from traveling door to door to collect such contributions. Candidates can and should obtain these contributions online.
  • April 10: The Department of Economic and Community Development adjusted In-Store Gathering Limits. Learn more here.
  • April 13: Gov. Mills joined a coalition of Governors writing to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to ask the Administration to reconsider its decision and take swift action to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange. Learn more here.
  • April 13: The Maine Department of Economic and Community Development has launched a program to identify startups and early-stage technology companies with products to aid the COVID-19 response. Maine DECD is activating Maine’s startup and early-stage technology companies in response to the COVID-19 disaster. In collaboration with Village Capital and the Sorenson Impact Foundation, we are identifying Maine startup companies with a product or service that may help in the response to the COVID-19 disaster in a variety of ways beyond immediate medical needs that are the focus of the MEMA COVID-19 Response Team, including economic disruption and recovery. Learn more. 
  • April 14: Governor Mills Extends State of Civil Emergency As Maine Continues to Combat COVID-19. As the State continues to respond to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills today signed a proclamation extending Maine’s state of civil emergency for another thirty days through May 15, 2020. The original state of civil emergency was scheduled to expire tomorrow, April 15, 2020. A state of civil emergency places Maine on highest alert and allows Governor Mills to deploy all available state resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people and to take every action she reasonably deems necessary to help respond to and protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. It also eases Maine’s access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts. Learn more here.
    • Please note that this doesn’t automatically extend the stay-at-home order, which is set to end at the end of April. This move simply extends the power to extend the stay-at-home order into May.
  • April 14: Gov. Mills calls for USDA to guarantee adequate food supply and address supply chain gaps. Governor Janet Mills today urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to coordinate a nationwide strategy to increase the amount of food available to emergency food programs and to address gaps in the food supply chain. The letter to the Secretary comes after Governor Mills held a conference call earlier this month with Maine hunger and relief organizations, including Good Shepherd Food Bank, Wayside Food Programs, Full Plates Full Potential and Catholic Charities, who conveyed the difficulty in meeting the surge in demand for food resulting from COVID-19. Learn more here.
  • April 16: Gov. Janet Mills took significant steps to keep Maine people in their homes and Maine businesses in their storefronts as COVID-19 continues to create financial hardships across the state. Learn more here.
    • The Governor signed an Executive Order that, when taken in combination with a March 18 order issued by the Maine Court System, will prevent the immediate eviction of tenants other than those who engage in dangerous or unlawful conduct for the duration of the state of emergency. The Governor also strengthened the penalties for landlords who may try to evict tenants by unlawful means, and she extended the timeframe for the eviction process in the event that the Courts reopen before the Governor’s state of emergency is terminated. 
    • The Governor, in partnership with MaineHousing, announced a new rental assistance relief program for Maine people who cannot pay their rent due to COVID-19. The $5 million COVID-19 Rent Relief Program will allow households that meet certain income and ability to pay requirements to receive a one-time, up to $500 payment in rental assistance to be paid directly to their landlord.
    • Gov. Mills sent letters to Maine financial institutions, urging them to provide to work proactively with Maine homeowners and small businesses experiencing financial hardship from COVID-19 to help keep them in their homes and storefronts.
  • April 17: Maine DHHS Boosts Payments to Congregate Care Facilities In Response to COVID-19. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is temporarily increasing payments to a range of congregate care facilities to support their preparedness and response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The additional $10.1 million in state and federal funds will support facilities that provide long-term services and support to children, older Mainers, and people with behavioral health disorders.

    The funding will help ensure that these providers are reimbursed for their proactive response to the pandemic and can address cost increases related to COVID-19, with an emphasis on ensuring adequate direct care staffing and high-quality care of residents. There has yet to be an outbreak (three or more cases) in such facilities in Maine, which is largely due to this preparation. 
  • March 17: Before adjourning earlier this month, the Maine Legislature passed a strong, responsible bipartisan supplemental budget and a number of critical COVID-19 initiatives. Here are the highlights:
  • March 17: The Maine Legislature Legislature passed a $73 million supplemental budget that protects the health and well-being of Maine people as the State responds to the 2019 novel coronavirus, also known as COVID-19. The bipartisan spending package included:
  • March 23: Standing up for Small Biz and Sole Proprietors. Presiding Officers and other members of the legislature sent a letter to the federal delegation regarding added support from the federal government and small businesses. Maine is a small business state. Right now, Maine’s small businesses are in crisis. They need and deserve our support. 
  • March 26: Legislature remains closed through Friday, May 8. As promised, the Presiding Officers are continuing to monitor the impact of COVID-19 on our legislative staff and operations.  At this time, the current guidance for remote work will continue in place through and including Friday, April 10. They will reevaluate the need for any changes to the guidance at that time.  Thank you for all you are doing to serve the needs of the Legislature and people of Maine during these unprecedented times.
  • April 1: Senate President Troy Jackson, D-Allagash, House Speaker Sara Gideon, D-Freeport, and a majority of Legislative Democrats sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar calling for a special enrollment period during the COVID19 pandemic. Read more here.
Quick Links:

Resources for Small Businesses

Many small businesses in Maine are struggling with the overnight shutdown in response to COVID-19. While it was the right move for public health, we cannot forget or minimize the impact it has on our small businesses and local economy. Update: On April 21, the Senate past a targeted spending package to support small businesses. The House is expected to vote on it this week. Stay tuned for more info.

  • On March 28, Congress enacted and the President signed new unemployment programs to provide relief to people affected by COVID-19. These new programs are complex, and MDOL is working to implement them as quickly as possible. Those who have exhausted all available benefits already or are self-employed should wait to file a claim for benefits. Since these programs have not been implemented yet, filing at this point will only result in a denial. We will continue to provide information as it becomes available. Once implemented, benefits will be paid retroactively. If you have already enrolled in the current program, you should continue filing your weekly certifications. Learn more here.

Small Business Debt Relief Program


  • What is it? The SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, fees on your existing or new SBA 7(a), 504, or microloan


  • Am I eligible? You are eligible if you:
    • Have an existing SBA 7(a) loan; or
    • Take out a new SBA 7(a) loan between March 27 and September 27, 2020
    • Nonprofits are not eligible for SBA 7(a) loans


  • How much of the loan will be paid by the SBA on your behalf? The amount paid by the SBA is equal to the total of principal, interest, and any associated loan fees for a six-month period, starting on the loan’s next payment due date (even if the loan is in deferment)


  • How does this affect my eligibility for other SBA programs? Businesses that take advantage of the SBA’s Small Business Debt Relief Program are not disqualified from other SBA assistance.



Paycheck Protection Program

  • What is it? 
    • A SBA loan that can be forgiven in full for small businesses that keep employees on the payroll. The loan amount is up to 250 percent of monthly operating costs, including payroll, group health insurance, mortgage interest, rent and utilities.
    • Loan is forgiven in the amount of monthly operating costs for the 8 weeks after the loan is taken.
    • Offered through local banks and credit unions
  • Am I eligible? You are eligible if you are: 
    • A business or nonprofit with 500 or fewer employees;
    • Eligible nonprofits are 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations
    • A sole proprietor
    • An independent contractor
    • An individual store in a hospitality and food industry franchise; or
    • Self-employed
  • What will lenders require? Lenders will ask for a certification from you that:
    • Uncertainty of current economic conditions makes the loan request necessary to support ongoing operations;
    • You will use the loan proceeds to retain workers and maintain payroll or make mortgage, lease, and utility payments;
    • You do not have another SBA loan or an application pending for an SBA loan duplicative of the purpose and amounts applied for under the Paycheck Protection Program
    • If you are an independent contractor, sole proprietor, or self-employed individual, lenders will also be looking for certain documents (final requirements will be announced by the government) such as payroll tax filings, 1099 forms, and income and expenses from the sole proprietorship
  • How much can I borrow? You can borrow 2.5 times your average monthly payroll costs, but not more than $10 million. The calculation of payroll costs does not include:
    • Compensation in an individual’s annual salary that exceeds $100,000
    • Payroll taxes and income taxes.

The interest rate is 1.0% (if not forgiven). The loan term is 2 years. Payments are deferred for 6 months, and up to 1 year.

  • Will this loan be forgiven? A borrower is eligible for loan forgiveness equal to the amount the borrower spent on the following items during the 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of the loan:
    • Payroll costs (at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll)
    • Mortgage interest
    • Rent
    • Payments on utilities (electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet)

Loans are non-recourse, meaning the SBA can’t seek repayment from any individual shareholder, member or partner of an eligible recipient of a covered loan for non-payment, except the extent that the proceeds are used for an unauthorized purpose

  • How could forgiveness be reduced? The amount of forgiveness could be reduced if, between February 15 and April 27, 2020, you either:
    • Reduce the number of employees; or
    • Reduce wages paid to employees by more than 25%

However, if you bring back employees or restore wages before June 30, there is no reduction in forgiveness

  • How does this affect my eligibility for other SBA programs? Participation in the Paycheck Protection Program doesn’t disqualify you from other SBA programs, except that if you participate in the Paycheck Protection Program you can’t receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan for the same purpose



Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit

  • What is it? A refundable tax credit for businesses and nonprofits that continue to pay their employees while forced to suspend or close operations, or otherwise sees a significant reduction in revenue, due to COVID-19.
  • Am I eligible? You are eligible if you are:
    • A business or nonprofit (any type of nonprofit);
    • Closed or had business partially suspended due to a government order or had revenue decrease by at least 50% compared to the same quarter last year due to COVID-19; and
    • Not receiving a Paycheck Protection Program loan
  • How much is the credit? 
    • For businesses with fewer than 100 employees: The credit amount is equal to 50% of wages (including health care expenses) paid to employees while the business was shut down or while experiencing a revenue decrease of 50% compared to the same quarter last year.
    • For businesses with more than 100 employees: The credit amount is equal to 50% of wages (including health care expenses) paid to employees while the business was shut down.

The credit is refundable, but capped at 50% of an employee’s wages in a quarter, up to $10,000 in wages per quarter (which results in a maximum credit of $5,000 per employee)

  • How does this affect my eligibility for other SBA programs
    • If you take the Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit you are not eligible to participate in the Payroll Protection Program, but it does not affect your eligibility for other SBA programs.
    • If you take the Employee Retention Payroll Tax Credit you can also take the tax credits for paid leave provided in accordance with the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (described below), but the same wages will not be considered for both programs




Many small businesses are worried about how they will survive the COVID-19 outbreak. The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Gov. Mills’ application for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help Maine businesses overcome any temporary loss of revenue due to the pandemic. Maine is one of the first states in the country to be approved, and Maine small business owners can now begin applying for these loans. 

Here is what businesses need to apply:

  1. SBA Disaster Loan Application Account:
  2. IRS Form 4506-T:
  3. Personal financial statement
  4. A schedule of liabilities
  5. A copy of your most recently filed Federal income tax return.

Apply here

Maine’s Small Business Development Centers offers free, confidential business advising to help small businesses get through these uncertain and unstable times. They have switched to a video-conference model and have really experienced business advisors standing by to help. Learn more here. 

Many small businesses in Maine are struggling with the overnight shutdown in response to COVID-19. While it was the right move for public health, we cannot forget or minimize the impact it has on our small businesses and local economy. Here are some resources:

  • Maine Department of Economic and Community Development put together a guide for small businesses in immediate financial distress. Learn more here. Check it out here.
Quick Links:

Resources for Workers

After watching the COVID-19 outbreak unfold in other states and countries, Maine leaders are prepared to stand by workers, whose jobs are affected by the virus. They still have to feed their families, pay their rent and keep the lights on. 

Before the Maine Legislature adjourned to mitigate the COVID-19 crisis, lawmakers passed a bill to expand unemployment insurance so more Maine workers impacted by COVID-19 are eligible for benefits. 

Who is covered: The proposal would temporarily revise 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
  • An individual leaves employment due to risk of exposure or infection
  • An individual leaves employment to care for a family member


Filing for Unemployment

To reduce wait times and get people the help they need, the Maine Department of Labor is taking the following steps:

  1. Hiring 100 more DOL employees to answer the phones;
  2. Launching a new alphabetical-by-last-name call-in schedule for people filing for unemployment.

The goal is to reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims.


Here’s how the new system works: Maine people seeking to file for unemployment by calling 1-800-593-7660 with last names beginning with:

  • A-H should call on Monday; 
  • I-Q on Tuesday; 
  • 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.


People are always welcome to file online at To avoid being locked out of your account, please read these guidelines. If you have any further questions, check out the latest FAQ. For a summary of all unemployment programs and how they work together, click here.

The Portland Food Map has just posted a list of very helpful resources for hospitality workers, compiled by Carolyn Richter. It includes critical links to several organizations that are or will be offering emergency cash relief to hospitality workers, as well as links to mental health organizations that can provide much-needed support. Learn more here.

COVID-19 Relief Consumer Loan Program provides no- to low-interest consumer loans through a loan guarantee program involving Maine’s banks, credit unions, and FAME. Interested borrowers should contact their local bank or credit union (not FAME) to see if the lender is offering this program and to apply. The program offers loans of up to $5,000 (minus any unemployment benefits received by borrower).  A borrower may apply for up to three (3) loans, one per each 30-day period. Learn more here

If you lose access to health insurance due to job loss, you may be eligible for MaineCare. MaineCare provides low-cost and free health insurance to Mainers who meet certain requirements, based mostly on household income.

What Does it Cover?

MaineCare covers doctor visits, emergencies, substance use disorder treatment, prescription drugs, and more.

Am I Eligible?

You probably qualify for MaineCare if your current monthly income (before you pay taxes) is at or below the limits in the chart here.

Apply here!

Quick Links:

Resources for Seniors

Maine seniors are valuable members of our community. At the same time, COVID-19 poses a high-risk to their health and well-being. Here is a list of some resources to help Maine seniors navigate this public health crisis safely. This section will be updated.

Many stores are providing specific time periods for these folks to ensure they get food and other essentials first. Please give courtesy to those who really need to get in and out and avoid exposure.

  • Shaw’s Supermarkets: Every Tuesday & Thursday from 7-9AM Shaws will set aside shopping time specifically for senior citizens and other at-risk members of our community.
  • Market Basket: Each Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday from 5:30 AM to 7:00 AM the stores will be open ONLY to serve customers 60 and older.
  • Walmart: From March 24 through April 28, Walmart stores will host an hour-long senior shopping event every Tuesday for customers aged 60 and older. This will start one hour before the store opens. They’ve regular hours from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. unless otherwise noted.
  • Target: All nationwide stores will reserve the first hour of shopping each Wednesday at stores nationwide for vulnerable guests.
  • Hannaford Supermarkets will be dedicating special shopping hours for customers over 60 and those with compromised immune systems starting March 24. Stores will open early from 6 a.m. to 7 a.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday & Thursday.
  • Trader Joes: Every day between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., Crew Members will maintain an additional line outside the front door for our senior customers. This will ensure that those customers in need will have an expedited entrance to the store to help make their experience a more positive one. 
  • Walgreens: On Tuesdays, Walgreens has set aside 8:00 – 9:00 a.m. for senior and immunocompromised individuals.
Quick Links:

Resources for Students

Maine students are adapting quickly to a sudden change in their curriculum and learning. Here are some resources from to help students navigate this tricky period and keep up with their education.

School Meals & Nutrition

There are two programs that allow Maine schools to provide meals to students during closure due to the coronavirus. Both of these programs are allowed to deliver food products.


Summer Food Service Program

  • The Summer Food Service Program run by the USDA gives a reimbursement to schools based on the “free” rate subsidy, the meal patterns are easy to implement, and the school or district can keep this program running throughout the summer.  In order to be eligible for this program, the school needs to meet a 50% threshold for free and reduced lunch or have a pocket of poverty nearby as determined by census information. Learn more here.


National School Lunch Program

  • Due to a federal waiver, schools that do not meet the 50 percent threshold for free and reduced lunch, may continue using the National School Lunch Program to feed students in their districts. The reimbursement rate for this program is less because it is based on each student’s individual rate (free, reduced, or paid). Learn more here
  • To find a school meal near you, check out this map!


Full Plates Full Potential

  • Additionally, Full Plates Full Potential has established an emergency fund to support any public school in Maine closed due to pandemic. To apply for up to $1,000 grant for schools and organizations on the front line distributing breakfast and meals, click here.
Internet Connectivity Some companies are offering free internet access options for a limited time to help promote connectivity for remote learning. Nationally, many internet companies have signed the Keep Americans Connected Pledge which allows for flexibility and payment waivers, as well as free access to broadband services for a limited time.  Getting Connected – Resources for Students & Families
  • Charter has offered free Spectrum broadband and WiFi access for 60 days to households with K-12/college students who do not already have a Spectrum broadband subscription.
  • The FCC has released a handful of partners including all Maine internet providers:  AT&T, Comcast, Consolidated Communications, FirstLight, GWI, TDS Telecom, TMobile, TracFone Wireless, US Cellular, Verizon. 
  • Comcast: Individuals that sign up for Internet Essentials will receive two free months of Internet service. There is no term contract or credit check. Learn more here.
  • AT&T: Offers the “Access Program” which provides low-cost home internet to qualifying households for $5-10 a month, no deposit or installation fee. AT&T is expanding eligibility based on income and to households participating in National School Lunch Program/Head Start. Learn more here. 
Getting Connected – Resources for School Districts For districts seeking an online platform to provide real-time instruction, several companies have offered their resources for free.
  • Zoom is currently providing K-12 schools access to video conferencing for free. There is the option to provide real-time instruction and record lessons and upload them to Google Classroom or Blackboard. Learn more here.
  • WebEx is currently providing its video conferencing platforms to K-12 teachers for free. Learn more here.
  • RingCentral Office is currently providing its platform for free to K-12 educators for 

Remote Learning Resources for Schools
Special Education Resources
Career and Technical Education Resources  

University of Maine

  • Room & Board Rebates – The University of Maine System is reimbursing students on a prorated basis effective 3/13 for room and board.  The adjustments should be processed no later than March 31. Learn more here
  • Federal Work-Study Wages – The University of Maine System is committed to continuing to pay students with federal work-study, including those who are unable to work remotely. Learn more here.
  • Pay for Employees – The University System has also committed to paying regular employees other than student workers their normal wages regardless of their ability to work through April 4 without requiring the use of paid leave. Learn more here.
  • Food & Housing for Displaced Students – The University System is continuing to provide housing and meals to students who are unable to travel home due to the pandemic or who have no home to return to.  They are currently housing nearly 300 students across the states.  
  • Online Learning: Students are off campus taking their courses online with new grading options. Learn more here.  

The Maine Community College System

  • The Maine Community College System has moved in-person classes to online/distance education.  For those that are hands-on, the colleges are working to develop methods of instruction and assessment that will enable most students to gain full or partial credit for the course. All student housing is closed other than for those with extenuating circumstances. Learn more here. 
Supporting Students As students are moving their learning from inside the classroom to inside the home, they many need additional support to cope with this transition and abrupt change in their learning. Here are some resources to support students during this time:
Supporting Parents and Caregivers: As parents and caregivers, you also may find yourself struggling to adjust to this “new normal.” Here are some resources for you:
Quick Links:

Health & Hunger Resources

During these uncertain times, it’s critical that we make sure Maine people have access to food, health care and other essential resources. 

Emergency Food Assistance


  • The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) can help provide nutrition benefits to supplement the food budget of families so they can purchase healthy food and move towards self-sufficiency. Click here to find a SNAP retail location near you and click here to apply for benefits. is also helping families in need by providing eligible families with up to $50 in reimbursements for SNAP purchases. Learn more here.



  • Maine WIC will expand the food list for some items stores have been selling a lot of until May 31. Learn more here and contact your local WIC agency, call 1-800-437-9300, or visit if you have questions. If WIC approved food is not available, WIC recipients can make the following substitutions:
    • Fluid Milk: You will be able to substitute milk of any available fat content no matter what is listed on your check.
    • Whole Wheat/Whole Grain Bread: You will be able to substitute approved whole grains in package sizes up to 24 ounces when 16-ounce packages are unavailable.
    • Cheese: You will be allowed to substitute 12-ounce containers of cheese when the size listed on your check is not available. 

Good Shepherd Food Bank

  • Good Shepherd Food Bank (GSFB) is the largest hunger-relief organization in Maine. GSFB’s role in a declared health emergency is to be a resource to the Maine Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry (DACF), and Maine’s Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster (VOAD). These organizations have a comprehensive response plan for a health emergency and they are responsible for organizing emergency relief efforts for Maine—including food distribution—if needed.

Maine Senior Farm Share Program

  • The Maine Senior Farm Share Program provides eligible low-income seniors the opportunity to receive a share (worth $50) of first-quality, fresh, local produce at no cost directly from local Maine farmers during the growing season. Learn more here.

Coverage for COVID-19 Testing

  • Private Health Coverage: Governor Mills has issued an emergency insurance declaration for the State of Maine. The declaration states that insurance companies must cover medical screening and testing for COVID-19 with no deductible, no copayment or cost-sharing of any kind.
  • MaineCare: The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) took quick action to ensure access to critical MaineCare services in response to COVID-19. MaineCare members will now have copays waived for prescriptions, office visits and other services. DHHS will also now allow for prescribing and some treatments remotely through telehealth. Learn more here.
  • General Coverage & Testing Questions: Anyone with general questions about COVID-19, including how Maine people can best protect themselves, options for testing, and travel considerations should call 211. DHHS has also put together testing guidance for those who are uninsured. Learn more here.

Other COVID-19 Health Care Resources

  • CVS Pharmacy will waive charges for home delivery of prescription medications to address the COVID-19 outbreak and protect patient access to medication. Free 1 to 2 day Rx shipping applies to orders from March 9 to May 1, 2020 and is available at almost all of our CVS Pharmacy locations. Learn more here. Walgreens will also be offering free Rx delivery. Learn more here.
  • The COVID-19 Fund Program provides reimbursement assistance for delivered food and medication and transportation costs to manage COVID-19, while maintaining social distancing protocols, including drive-thru testing, delivery of test kits and future treatments. Learn more here.

If you lose access to health insurance due to job loss, you may be eligible for MaineCare. MaineCare provides low-cost and free health insurance to Mainers who meet certain requirements, based mostly on household income.

  • What Does it Cover? MaineCare covers doctor visits, emergencies, substance use disorder treatment, prescription drugs, and more.
  • Am I Eligible? You probably qualify for MaineCare if your current monthly income (before you pay taxes) is at or below the limits in the chart here.
  • How do I apply? Apply here!
Quick Links:

Other Resources

The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every part of our daily life. Whether it’s the loss of a job or the loneliness that comes with being confined to your house, there are resources to help all of us get through this public health crisis. We’ll continue to update this section as more resources are available. 

The U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has put together a guide on taking care of your behavioral health amid social distancing and isolation. 

In the event of an infectious disease outbreak, local officials may require the public to take measures to limit and control the spread of the disease. This tip sheet provides information about social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. The government has the right to enforce federal and state laws related to public health if people within the country get sick with highly contagious diseases that have the potential to develop into outbreaks or pandemics. 

This tip sheet describes feelings and thoughts you may have during and after social distancing, quarantine, and isolation. It also suggests ways to care for your behavioral health during these experiences and provides resources for more help. Link to tip sheet.

The National Association on Mental Illness (NAMI) has also put together a great compilation of resources to support Americans living with mental illness to mitigate the delivery of mental health care. It also provides tips and strategies to help with anxiety triggered by the pandemic and serious threats to our economic stability. Learn more here.

From Gov. Mills: Maine people are helpers, and they are everywhere. They are our doctors, nurses, EMS, firefighters, police officers, grocery store clerks, gas station attendants, child care workers, government employees.

They are you, they are your neighbor, they are your loved ones. They are Maine people.

I hope this new resource will help those looking for ways to lend a hand and encourage more Maine people to target their skills, resources, and time in the most effective and safe ways to do the most good for our state. Learn more here.

Please consider donating to relief funds or trusted local nonprofits, contributing to the health care response, safely supporting your local businesses and community organizations, and connecting virtually to ensure your social bonds remain strong.


Mainers lookout for one another. It’s just what we do. If you have a background in health care and have the ability to operate ventilators, the state is looking for folks to register to volunteer in case of an emergency. You can learn more at


  •  The purpose of this FEMA page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Rumors can easily circulate within communities during a crisis. Do your part to stop the spread of disinformation by doing 3 easy things; don’t believe the rumors, don’t pass them along and go to trusted sources of information to get the facts about the federal (COVID-19) response. Read more here.
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