COVID-19

Updates from the Chamber

Our goal is to serve as a trusted resource in providing our business community and residents consolidated, accurate information and guidance as to the status and recommended business operations during the coronavirus pandemic - coordinating with CDC, State, local municipal, business and community leaders.


Business Updates

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Important Links

CDC
Website
MA Emergency
Management Agency
Unemployment Insurance Information

SBA EXPRESS BRIDGE LOANS now available in response to COVID-19. For more information click here.

President Signs $2.2 trillion CARES Act. The landmark emergency relief package includes direct payments to individuals and families, health care support, enhanced unemployment benefits and a fund to assist distressed businesses. The law provides federally guaranteed loans to eligible small businesses and non-profits and includes the Paycheck Protection Program to forgive loans for employers who continue to pay their workers for the duration of the crisis. See all the details here.

Senator Ed Markey will host a conference call on the CARES Act today, Monday, March 30 at 5PM to discuss the small business relief provisions included in the bill. Senator Markey would like to hear directly from small business owners about their needs at this time. All Cape Ann Chamber members are invited to join. Call-in: 646-558-8656;  Meeting ID: 242 963 688

State Launches Online Portal for Personal Protective Equipment, Volunteers to Support COVID-19 Outbreak. See details here.

White House approves Major Disaster Declaration for Massachusetts. This will make federal disaster assistance available beyond what was included in the Emergency Declaration declared by President Trump on March 13, 2020. See details here.


State Tax-Filing Deadline Extended to July 15. Read today’s announcement from Governor Baker, Senate President Spilka and House Speaker DeLeo here.


The SBA Express Bridge Loan (EBL) Pilot Program has been modified and the term extended. The Program authorizes SBA Express Lenders to provide expedited SBA-guaranteed bridge loan financing on an emergency basis in amounts up to $25,000. Read full details here.

Governor Baker has filed legislation to address challenges faced by municipalities. Key provisions of the bill would:

Allow municipalities to waive late-payment penalties for the 4th quarter tax bills, due May 1, and allow municipalities to change their tax bill due date from April 1 to June 1.

Allow municipalities to waive late-payment penalties for the 4th quarter tax bills, due May 1, and allow municipalities to change their tax bill due date from April 1 to June 1.

•Permit establishments licensed to sell alcohol for on-premises consumption to sell wine and beer by take-out with a food order, with certain restrictions and limitations.

Governor Baker has ordered that all “non-essential” businesses cease in-person operations until April 7, 2020. These businesses are encouraged to continue operations “remotely”.

For the list of “COVID-19 essential services” click here.

Businesses that are NOT covered under current guidance can submit an online request to be designated as essential for the purposes of the Emergency Order. 

Please only request a designation if your business is NOT covered by the “COVID-19 Essential Services” guidance.

Federal Tax-Filing Deadlines Extended to July 15. Read details from the IRS here.

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) Program: Find more information and apply here. Listen to a recent podcast with SBA District Director Bob Nelson here. View a slide presentation on the application process here. The SBA’s Disaster Loan Assistance portal has been revamped and the process has been more simplified. For details click here.

Unemployment Benefits: For the latest information about unemployment benefits and how to apply, please click here. For a step-by-step guide click here.

•Emergency unemployment legislation has been enacted waiving the one week waiting period for unemployment benefits.

Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund: In partnership with the City of Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and working with local municipalities, Action Inc. is launching the Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund to allow us to help hourly workers impacted by the crisis. Your support will help food service, retail, hospitality, childcare and other hourly workers struggling with lost income.

Families First Corona Virus Response Act: On March 18 the President signed into law H.R. 6201, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. Click here to see the U.S. Chamber’s summary. 

Member & Community Updates:

Chamber member Johnson O’Connor has compiled a helpful fact sheet on payroll tax credits and other provisions of this recently enacted Families First Coronavirus Act. Read the details here.

Gloucester Daily Times “As a public service  we have been providing free access to our coronavirus coverage on our website during this time of heightened concern. Subscribers and non-subscribers alike have been turning to us for reliable information in record numbers.” Publisher Karen Andreas writes, “The Times remains firmly committed to delivering your news in print and online. We have a responsibility to you -- especially in times of emergency -- to provide news that is accurate and trustworthy. This is a commitment that we take seriously.” Read the full text of her letter to the Cape Ann community here.

The Boston Globe is offering a daily newsletter called “Coronavirus Now" which includes all of the latest credible news reporting on this crisis. People may sign up to receive this email here.

Sheriff Kevin Coppinger is seeking help from Essex County businesses in procuring personal protection equipment to keep staff and inmate population safe from COVID-19. See the full text of his letter here.

Education & Training Resources:

Cape Ann’s Public Libraries and the National Emergency Library are offering enhanced online educational and reading resources.

Manchester-by-the-SEA Library Facebook Page

Sawyer Free Library Facebook Page

Rockport Public Library Facebook Page

National Emergency Library has made many book available to the public. see details here.

North Shore Community College is hosting the following community information session online on Wednesday, April 8, from 3 - 4PM: NACE COVID-19 Town Hall  

WGBH Distance Learning Center: WGBH has partnered with the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and WGBY/New England Public Media to provide learning opportunities and resources for students, families and educators. Learn more here.

Cape Ann Museum’s Timeship: Visit the museum’s Education page and learn about Timeship, distributed to appropriate grade levels throughout the community free of charge.

Cape Ann Art Haven: Learn how to make a mini-elevator with your children using household materials here!

Community Services:

Action Inc. continues to provide services via phone appointments and email. Action’s Emergency Shelter remains open and operational. All Main Office and Energy Office services will be available Monday – Friday 9am-5pm. If you have general inquiries or questions, please call 978-282-1000 or help@actioninc.org. You can also live chat with team members at actioninc.org.

Backyard Growers is making rapid repairs to all their community garden sites for the start to the growing season and will be moving all in-person trainings to a virtual format. They are working on a program to expand opportunities for container gardening with new affordable BYG Grow Bags and raised bed garden builds through Black Earth Compost for people outside their income eligibility requirements. More info on BYG website

Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund: In partnership with the City of Gloucester and the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce, and working with local municipalities, Action Inc. launched the Cape Ann Emergency Relief Fund to allow us to help hourly workers impacted by the crisis. Nearly $150,000 has been raised toward the $200,000 goal but your support is still needed to help food service, retail, hospitality, childcare and other hourly workers struggling with lost income.

Element Care/PACE announces measures they are taking to care for the many frail elders in their program and protect staff. Read the full story on their website here.

Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) announced that its Essex County COVID-19 Response Fund has awarded a first round of grants, totaling $317,000, to 35 nonprofits on the front lines of the COVID-19 health crisis and serving the most vulnerable populations in our region. To learn more or to make a donation please visit www.eccf.org.

The Open Door: The Open Door is making every effort to keep our programs operating during this COVID-19 (Coronavirus) event, with some adjustments. Please check their Facebook page for updates. The Gloucester Food Pantry remains open Monday–Friday, 10 AM–5 PM, for curbside pick-up only.

Pathways for Children has established an Emergency Response Fund to help maintain steady support for our children, families and programs during these challenging times. Their goal is to raise $300,000 over the next three months to ensure that they are well-positioned to respond effectively to emerging needs of most at-risk children and families. Pathways is accepting donations to their Emergency Response Fund online at https://www.pw4c.org

Wellspring continues to provide Homelessness Prevention & Employment Support services via phone appointments, email, & video conferencing. The Family Shelter remains open and operational. The Shelter is full at this time. If you have questions please call 978-281-3558 Monday - Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Staff contact information is available here.

The YMCA of the North Shore is providing free emergency child care for the children of parents required to work. See details here.

Associated Industries of Massachusetts (AIM):

•See AIM’s COVID-19 Resource Page for Employers here.

• Read AIM’s March 30 blog summarizing state and federal actions to respond to public health and economic impacts of COVID-19 here.

Backyard Growers is making rapid repairs to all their community garden sites for the start to the growing season and will be moving all in-person trainings to a virtual format. They are working on a program to expand opportunities for container gardening with new affordable BYG Grow Bags and raised bed garden builds through Black Earth Compost for people outside their income eligibility requirements. More info on BYG website.

Cape Ann Museum: The museum is offering lectures on their Vimeo page, currently featuring lectures from their Judith Sargent Murray lecture series. Learn more about the museum's Fitz Henry Lane collection by discovering Fitz Henry Lane Online—a freely-accessible interactive and interdisciplinary online resource created by the Cape Ann Museum. For children and educators and families visit the museum’s Education page and learn about Timeship, the museum’s publication about real Cape Ann people from all time periods, distributed to appropriate grade levels throughout the community free of charge.

Dogtown Books is offering curb-side pick up or FREE shipping to anywhere in the US on made-to-order Stay At Home Book Boxes. Visit their website for more information.

Dreamtime Wellness goes "Virtual." Read the full notice here.

Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) COVID-19 Response Fund for Non-Profits: The fund will help nonprofits across Essex County that are struggling to meet the dramatic increase in community needs due to the COVID-19 health crisis. Find more information here.

From our Friends at Historic New England: For your enjoyment and a calming moment in your day: https://www.historicnewengland.org/say-hello-to-comet/.

Hammond Castle: To stay up to date with new event dates and announcements, including ways to help support the museum, please visit their website.

Joanne MacInnis, RN, President of Aberdeen Home Care, will be live on North Shore 104.9FM at 8:45 each morning, with up to the minute information about COVID-19. Tune in!

Manchester-by-the-Sea Police Department is offering pick-up and delivery services for residents identified as higher risk of serious health complications should they contract the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) or for those who are self-quarantined. This includes the delivery of groceries, prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines and vital supplies. Manchester residents are asked to call 978-526-1212 to set up deliveries and for all non-emergency matters.

North Shore Food Resources: SeniorCare has created a "North Shore Food Resources" listing on google docs. This document will be updated as needed. If there are additional resources that should be included, please email tracy.arabian@seniorcare.org.

Personal Protective Equipment Urgently Needed. The supplies of personal protective equipment are very low and on backorder at most medical supply companies without a delivery date. Cape Ann Rotarians are helping in the search for supplies that can be donated or purchased at cost with a credit card by organizations in need. Please notify Joan Arsenault at joan@massteximaging.com if you have supplies.

Queenvest, LLC is offering to help business owners do budgeting, projections, and planning and help prepare the financials for EIDC loans at a deeply discounted hourly rate under an extended payment plan. Learn details here.

Rockport Music’s Midday Music Series continues. Listen to Tuesday’s concert here. continues. Listen to Tuesday’s concert here.

Ryan & Wood Distillery, operating under an emergency federal waiver, is now producing and selling one liter (33.8 oz.) packages of hand sanitizer for $30 plus tax. Please call (978) 281-2282 for availability. Production will be increasing and more will be available by the middle of next week. Limited to two per person.

Sam Adams and the Greghill Foundation have started a fund to disperse funds to full time restaurant employees- $1,000 grants. Find the details here

As we learn of more creative ways that our members and our communities are adapting and responding, we will share them through all our Chamber communications channels.

For the most current information about the federal, state and local response to COVID-19 – including information of particular relevance to employers and employees, we recommend visiting the following websites: 

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Travel Guidelines and New Health Care Resources (March 27)

Symptom Checker for Mass Residents from Buoy Health and Department of Public Health and CDC (March 27)

Department of Public Health: Stay at Home Advisory. For details click here.

MEMA: Read MEMA’s March 29 update here.

Representative Ann-Margaret Ferrante: March 30 | March 27 UpdateCOVID-19 Federal Relief Update | March 25 Update, | March 23 Update, | March 21 Update, | March 19 update, | March 18 Update

Centers for Disease Control

Symptoms and Self-Checker

What You Need to Know

Congressman Seth Moulton: Updates and Resources

OSHA: Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19

For information and updates specific to one’s local community, we recommend visiting the following city and town websites for Cape Ann:

Essex: www.essexma.org

Gloucester: www.gloucester-ma.gov

Manchester-by-the-Sea: www.manchester.ma.us

Rockport: www.rockportma.gov

Our goal as always is to serve as a trusted resource in providing our business community and residents with helpful information and guidance during the Coronavirus pandemic.

The members of your team here at the Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce wish you the very best, as we all pull together to meet and overcome the challenges of COVID-19.


Survey for Cape Ann businesses and non-profits affected by COVID-19

Prevention

Many of the things we do to help prevent colds and the flu can help protect us against other respiratory viruses, including COVID-19:

Wash your hands often with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Clean things that are frequently touched (like doorknobs and countertops) with household cleaning spray or wipes.

Cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze. Use a tissue or your inner elbow, not your hands.

Stay home if you are sick and avoid close contact with others.

There are currently no vaccines available to protect against this novel coronavirus infection. 

Social distancing

We can all help prevent the spread of COVID-19 with social distancing:

Call/Facetime/online chat with friends and familyStay home as much as you canIf you must go out:

Don’t gather in groupsStay 6 feet away from others

Don’t shake hands or hug

And please continue to wash your hands frequently



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