- Get answers to questions about the 2019 Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) at any time. This free service is available by dialing 211 (or 1-866-811-5695), texting your ZIP code to 898-211, or emailing email@example.com.
Videos explaining general CDC information and specific State of Maine guidelines regarding COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in these languages:
- Portuguese - https://youtu.be/JMPf3K3FnMQ
- Somali - https://youtu.be/z1lsAjqGElA
- Maay Maay - https://youtu.be/bk5GPk4-imA
- Kirundi - https://youtu.be/VKf2NBZ0amA
- French - https://youtu.be/mUp-_8xTmHs
- English - https://youtu.be/s8hlelItNmw
March 27, 2020, the House of Representatives passed the largest economic bill in U.S. History, and President Trump has signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (the “CARES Act”) into law.
COVID-19 Relief Loan Programs
These loan programs are available to eligible Maine businesses and individuals/employees who experience hardships due to COVID-19:
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.
COVID-19 Relief Lender Insurance Program provides commercial loan insurance of 50-75% to lenders who make loans to Maine businesses experiencing interruption or hardship due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 Relief Interim SBA Finance Loan Program provides FAME Direct Loans of up to $100,000 with special terms available to eligible borrowers who provide proof of commitment for SBA financing. The FAME loan would be originated for use to the business owner until the SBA loan is funded. The SBA loan would then pay-off the FAME loan.
COVID-19 Relief Business Direct Loan Program provides FAME Direct Loans of up to $50,000 with special terms available to Maine-based businesses experiencing interruption or hardship due to COVID-19.
Federal TAX Filing and Payment Deadline Extended to July 15, 2020 - Updated Statement
The Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service are providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for tax returns has been extended from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The IRS urges taxpayers who are owed a refund to file as quickly as possible. For those who can't file by the July 15, 2020 deadline, the IRS reminds individual taxpayers that everyone is eligible to request an extension to file their return.
This filing and payment relief includes:
The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Federal income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. This relief is automatic, taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify.
This relief also includes estimated tax payments for tax year 2020 that are due on April 15, 2020.
Penalties and interest will begin to accrue on any remaining unpaid balances as of July 16, 2020. You will automatically avoid interest and penalties on the taxes paid by July 15.
Individual taxpayers who need additional time to file beyond the July 15 deadline can request a filing extension by filing Form 4868 through their tax professional, tax software or using the Free File link on IRS.gov. Businesses who need additional time must file Form 7004.
State Tax Returns
This relief only applies to federal income returns and tax (including tax on self-employment income) payments otherwise due April 15, 2020, not state tax payments or deposits or payments of any other type of federal tax. Taxpayers also will need to file income tax returns in 42 states plus the District of Columbia. State filing and payment deadlines vary and are not always the same as the federal filing deadline. The IRS urges taxpayers to check with their state tax agencies for those details. More information is available at https://www.taxadmin.org/state-tax-agencies.
Gov. Mills’ office launched a web page that will help Mainers connect with all the ways they can offer and receive help during this public health emergency. The Maine Helps page includes information of where to volunteer and donate, how to keep supporting local businesses, and how to stay connected. It will be updated regularly. Check it out here: coronavirus.maine.gov/mainehelps
One of the most critical needs right now is more health care workers. Maine Responds is an organization that connects, trains and mobilizes volunteers during a public health crisis. If you have a background in health care, emergency response or public health, I strongly urge you to sign up as a volunteer. Go to MaineResponds.org to learn more or sign up.
Maine Medical Partners Open Respiratory Assessment Center at 5 Bucknam Road in Falmouth to be used to see patients related to COVID-19. The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm. This assessment center is for patients of Maine Medical Partners who first contact their primary care provider and are then given an appointment to see a medical practitioner at the 5 Bucknam Road facility. It is not an open clinic for walk-ins. For more information, please call (207) 661-2000.
Maine’s Nursing Facilities Financial Help:
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.
Maine State Police Extend Grace Period for Inspections
State Police have issued an extended grace period for inspections that expired during the COVD-19 State of Emergency declared by Gov. Janet Mills.
“It is the opinion of the Maine State Police that when LD 2167 was signed into law on March 18th it granted an extension on all inspections until 30 days after the end of the emergency declaration,” said Lt. Bruce Scott in an email to all Maine State Police employees. [The law] states only vehicles required to be registered must be inspected and therefore during the period of time that the emergency declaration is in effect and for 30 days after, vehicles are not required to be inspected either.
Current Maine Motor Vehicle Inspection rules require vehicles be currently registered before the vehicle can be inspected therefore it would be impossible for those with expired registrations to have their vehicles inspected.”
State Police personnel are being asked not to take any type of enforcement action for expired inspections during this period. This does not exempt people that are driving unsafe vehicles at this time or any time in the future. Defective motor vehicles are illegal to operate on public ways regardless of inspection status and Maine State Troopers will continue to remove dangerous vehicles that pose an immediate threat to public safety during this time.
Here is the portion of the law being cited:
- Vehicles and trailers. Notwithstanding the Maine Revised Statutes, Title 29-A, 10 chapter 5 or any other law or municipal charter provision or ordinance to the contrary, a registration, including a temporary registration, of a vehicle, including, without limitation, a motor vehicle, all-terrain vehicle, watercraft or snowmobile, or a trailer required to be registered in this State that expires during the period of a state of emergency declared by the Governor in accordance with Title 37-B, section 742 due to the outbreak of COVID-19 is deemed extended until 30 days following the termination of the state of emergency.
- 1751. Motor vehicle inspection
- Inspection required. Except as provided in this chapter or section 2307, subsection 1, a motor vehicle required to be registered in this State must have an annual inspection. A person may have a motor vehicle inspected more frequently.
Meals on Wheels & Older Adult Support
- Meals on Wheels will continue to be delivered at this time, albeit one day per week. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 396-6595 to sign up. SMAA will distribute extra frozen meals (storm packs—just like they would in a snowstorm) next week to all our Meals on Wheels clients and SMAA has ordered shelf-stable packs that will also go out to MOW clients in the coming weeks.
- How to Support Older Adults:
- People of all ages can support older adults during this time. Many older adults depend on services and supports provided in their homes or in the community to maintain their health and independence. The CDC recommends that family members, neighbors, and caregivers:
- Know what medications your loved one is taking and see if you can help them have extra on hand.
- Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a back-up plan.
- Stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand in your home to minimize trips to stores.
- If you care for a loved one living in a care facility, monitor the situation, ask about the health of the other residents frequently, and know the protocol if there is an outbreak.
Online registration system for public health, healthcare and emergency response volunteers for the State of Maine
Maine Responds is a partnership that integrates local, regional, and statewide volunteer resources to assist our public health and healthcare systems. It is part of a national initiative to train, coordinate, and mobilize volunteers during an emergency. Maine Responds coordinates verified, pre-credentialed public health, healthcare and emergency response volunteers into a single database that can coordinate the need for volunteers across county, regional, and state lines if needed.
Registering as a Maine Responds volunteer will help ensure that people affected by a disaster will receive the public health and medical care they need. Registration is the first step in meeting this urgent need within Maine and the nation.
This site allows you to register as willing to provide services during a disaster or emergency situation. The registration system will collect basic information about you and your professional skills.
PLEASE CLICK HERE to begin the registration process. If you have already completed the registration process or wish to return to an in-progress registration, please sign-in using the log in area on this page.
Thursday, April 3rd, is the day small businesses can apply to the Paycheck Protection Program which is part of the CARES (Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security) Act recently passed by the Federal government. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. Note, "Independent Contractors" and "Self-Employed" cannot apply until April 10th.
Funding is capped - so apply ASAP. Contact the bank you do business with to start the process immediately. If you do not have a relationship with a local bank, the following Chamber member banks/credit unions are available to assist you:
• Androscoggin Bank https://www.androscogginbank.com/covid-19/
• Gorham Savings Bank https://www.gorhamsavings.bank/2020/03/sba-paycheck-program/
• Evergreen FCU https://www.egcu.org/
• Key Bank https://www.key.com/about/announcements/coronavirus-information.jsp?sqkl...
• Norway Savings Bank https://www.norwaysavings.bank/with-you-every-step/business-banking-assi...
• People’s United Bank https://www.peoples.com/
• TD Bank https://www.td.com/us/en/personal-banking/
Under this program:
• Eligible recipients may qualify for a loan up to $10 million determined by 8 weeks of prior average payroll plus an additional 25% of that amount.
• Loan payments will be deferred for six months.
• If you maintain your workforce, SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first 8 weeks of payroll and certain other expenses following loan origination. It's important to mention that even when used for the eligible expenses, you will need to actually apply for that forgiveness, and the bank you got the loan from will be the ones deciding which amounts will be forgiven. Keep meticulous records regarding where this money is spent.
Please refer all questions to your banking institution as they are the most equipped to answer these for you.
FROM THE MAINE DEPARTMENT OF LABOR:
AUGUSTA - After receiving an unprecedented number of unemployment claims due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the Maine Department of Labor (MDOL) announced a new alphabetical-by-last-name call-in schedule for Maine people filing for unemployment benefits. The new schedule will help reduce phone line congestion as the Department ramps up its capacity to receive and process claims.
Starting Monday, April 6, Maine people seeking to file for unemployment by calling the 800 number 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.Unemployment insurance: Online (available 24/7) at https://www.maine.gov/unemployment/
By phone: 1-800-593-7660 (8 a.m.-12:15 p.m.) | TTY users call Maine Relay 711
For password resets and basic questions, contact a Career Center: https://www.mainecareercenter.gov/locations/index.shtml
For more information and resources, visit the Department’s COVID-19 page: https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/, and follow the Maine Department of Labor on Facebook @MElabor and Twitter @maine_labor.
Federal Family First Leave Policies: On Wednesday, April 1, the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act went into effect. This federal Act requires some employers in Maine to provide their employees with paid sick leave and expanded medical leave for reasons related to COVID-19. The U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) is responsible for implementation and enforcement of the Act. For more information: https://www.dol.gov/agencies/whd/pandemic, including answers to a wide range of anticipated questions from both employees and employers. The website also includes posters that employers will be required to display at their worksites.
As always, our frequently updated FAQs on unemployment insurance and COVID-19 measures—we update them several times a week-- can be found: https://www.maine.gov/labor/covid19/
Unemployment Insurance FAQs
The legislation temporarily revised unemployment 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
This 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.
Download the Unemployment Insurance FAQs:
Maine DHHS Acts to Ensure Access to Health Care, Food, and Basic Necessities While Protecting the Health of the Public and Employees
The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is taking immediate steps to ensure access to critical services and benefits for Maine people while protecting the health of employees and the public in response to the 2019 novel coronavirus, or COVID-19.
These steps include supporting MaineCare members through the implementation of emergency rules effective Wednesday, March 18 that will:
- Waive all copays for prescriptions, office visits, emergency department visits, radiology and lab services
- Allow early refills of prescriptions
- Allow providers to extend 34-day supply maximums on brand prescriptions (MaineCare already allows 90-day supplies of generic prescriptions)
- Waive initial prior authorization requirements for asthma and for immune-related drugs
- Lengthen the period that prior authorization applies for prescription medications
- Lengthen the period that prior authorization applies for certain durable medical equipment, such as home oxygen therapy, glucose test strips, and Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) supplies for individuals diagnosed with COVID-19, those with pending test results who are in self-isolation, and those in a high-risk category for infection
- Extend the amount of time that home health providers have to submit plans of care from within five business days to within 30 business days from the start of services
In addition to these changes, the Department made an immediate change Tuesday to our telehealth policy through emergency rule, to allow for prescribing through telehealth. This change is effective immediately.
MaineCare telehealth policy already allows providers and members to meet any face-to-face requirements for services through telehealth, when medically appropriate and when it will result in comparable quality of service. For services that traditionally have not been considered medically appropriate or of comparable quality via telehealth, such as Intensive Outpatient Treatment or Home and Community-Based Treatment, providers are encouraged to consider alternative treatment options that could be more appropriately delivered via telehealth (such as one-on-one counseling visits).
Additionally, DHHS has made two changes effective immediately that do not require emergency rulemaking. First, to the greatest extent allowable under federal law, DHHS will accept eligibility verification by self-attestation to facilitate efficient processing of MaineCare applications and recertifications. Second, we will waive premiums for MaineCare services, such as the Working Disabled, Cub Care, Katie Beckett, and Special Benefit programs. Failure to pay those premiums will not result in case closure.
DHHS is also acting to support social distancing in our 16 regional offices, without disrupting critical benefits and services. In line with guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, DHHS is limiting its interactions with the public to accepting paperwork for drop-off. Clients are being encouraged to fill out and submit applications and reviews for programs, including Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and MaineCare online through My Maine Connection. Paperwork may be submitted via fax, email or postal carrier. The toll-free number is 1 (855) 797-4357 and agents are available from 7:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
DHHS offices remain open at this time, and clients can fill out applications in person if they prefer. If clients need assistance, they will be encouraged to call the toll-free number to speak with an agent.