In addition to the information below from the city of Lewiston we highly recommend the Retail Association of Maine’s resource page which is updated frequently.
From the City of Lewiston Maine
Support for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19
Updated March 18, 2020
|The City of Lewiston is actively working to minimize and address impacts brought to businesses and residents by COVID-19. Staff from the City’s Department of Economic and Community Development are seeking to connect with businesses to help them address issues.
Please be in touch with the department at ECdevelopment@lewistonmaine.gov with questions, concerns and needs.
A business survey is being developed to help identify needs and concerns of employers brought about by COVID-19. Please email us at ECdevelopment@lewistonmaine.gov to be notified when the survey is ready for distribution. Work to identify resources continues, but following is information on recent actions and opportunities.
City Tax Relief
On March 17 the Lewiston City Council approved a Resolve changing the due date for the March 15th real and personal property tax bill to June 1, 2020. This was done to allow businesses to conserve cash available to maintain their operations, rather than to meet their tax obligations, without incurring an interest penalty for unpaid taxes.
Forbearance on City Loans
For businesses and individuals that have loans through the City’s Economic and Community Development Department programs the City will consider providing forbearance on payments due upon request of the borrower. If you want to request forbearance please be in touch with Cathy Lekberg at 513-3000 ext. 3234 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Changes to Unemployment Insurance Policies
On March 17th the Maine Legislature passed emergency legislation that will eliminate the one week waiting period to receive benefits for employees laid off because of COVID-19 impacts. Businesses making layoffs should call the Department of Labor at 1 800-593-7660 or by their website at https://www.maine.gov/labor/for_employers/index.shtml . Doing so will help expedite payments to employees.
Businesses that have already laid off employees should be in touch with MDOL to make them aware of the COVID-19 related layoffs. MDOL will provide instruction to the employer that can be shared with employees who have been laid off to expedite payments.
For businesses worried about how the increase in unemployment will harm their rating, the expanded legislation looks to hold employers harmless.
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
Self-employed businesses are not currently covered by unemployment but there is a bill in Congress to change that. This emergency legislation that would allow Mainers who are self-employed and economically impacted by COVID-19 to receive unemployment benefits. The bill passed in the House and is awaiting a vote in the Senate. Call your U.S. Senator to urge support.
Loan Guarantee Program for residents of Maine
The program, administered by the Finance Authority of Maine, provides easier access to no-interest loans for residents of this State, including self-employed residents, who experience a reduction in income due to the state of emergency arising from COVID-19. Under the program, affected employees are eligible for up to 3 loans, each equal to their monthly after-tax pay, up to $5,000, less unemployment benefits. Repayment is due starting 90 days after the end of the state of emergency and during the subsequent 6 months; during that period, interest may not be charged or accrue on the loan. Following the end of the 270 days, a credit union or financial institution that made a loan under the program, after a good faith effort to collect the principal amount of the loan, may apply to the authority for repayment of the uncollected amount of the loan in default.
Small Business Administration Emergency Loans
The SBA has announced that Emergency Loans are available for up to $2 million at low interest rates with long repayment terms. Details are still forthcoming. More information can be found at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Documents/Three_Step_Process_SBA_Disaster_Loans.pdf
For the fastest decision applications should be made on line at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/ApplyOnline
Here is what businesses need to apply:
1. SBA Disaster Loan Application Account: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Account/Register1
2. IRS Form 4506-T: https://irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4506t.pdf
3. Contact information and Social Security #’ for all applicants.
4. FEMA Registration Number
5. Employer Identification Number (EIN) for business applications
6. Deed or lease information
7. Insurance Information
8. Personal financial statement
9. A schedule of liabilities
10. A copy of your most recently filed Federal income tax return.
It is a loan and will require underwriting. Once a complete application is made decisions are expected in 2-3 weeks.
The Androscoggin Valley Council of Governments (AVCOG) continues to offer the SBA Microloan program, which still follows the same criteria for application that it did prior, but would also be available. AVCOG Business Advisors are available for Technical Assistance to talk through the issues and help offer guidance as needed and as they’re able. http://www.avcog.org/952/Micro-Loan-Program