Business and Economy

Business news

As of Friday, 17,500 small business owners across the country had applied for the new payroll relief program, championed by U.S. Sen. Susan Collins.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, consumers have been getting nervous about supplies — not just about cleaning supplies and toilet paper, but also food.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Sunday, if you happen to be staying in a hotel, bed and breakfast, campground or other lodging in Maine, noon is going to be check out-time for almost everybody because lodgings around the state will be closing.

Yorgos Karahalis / Getty Images via NPR

With tens of thousands of Mainers working from home and thousands of students also at home and logged into devices, parts of the state are seeing a slowdown of internet service and, in some cases, failure.

Holly Ramer / AP

There are an estimated 30,000 Mainers who, one way or another, depend on the state's marine economies, and it seems every one of them is contending with some sort of hit right now, as the COVID-19 pandemic has upset the long-established systems of seasonal seafood supply and demand.

The Department of Health and Human Services says low-income Mainers will see a boost in food benefits and quicker access to the general assistance program to help deal with job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The University of Maine System is vowing to continue paying all of its employees through the fiscal year, which ends June 30.

Willis Ryder Arnold / Maine Public

Tens of thousands of Mainers who have lost their jobs because of the coronavirus pandemic are facing barriers in their efforts to access expanded unemployment benefits approved last month by the legislature.

Laura Amey says she has tried to call the helpline at the Maine Department of Labor 75 times in the last two weeks to find out why her application for unemployment doesn’t qualify. She is infuriated at automated messages that tell her to sned an email, explaining her problem or that no calls are accepted after 12:30.

The economic downturn being triggered by COVID-19 stands out not only for its speed and scale, but for the kinds of jobs being lost.

Nick Woodward / Maine Public

Businesses across the state have shut down or moved to largely work-from-home setups, as restrictions are imposed in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. But "essential businesses" such as grocery and convenience stores are staying open. And, despite the addition of new policies to protect employees, many are still feeling anxious in the workplace.

The Maine Department of Labor has been struggling to handle huge numbers of applications for unemployment benefits because of the pandemic, and those numbers are expected to grow with the passage of a new federally-funded program.

bodamaine.com

Portland’s much-lauded restaurant scene has been closed to dine-in business for approximately two weeks thus far in an effort to curb the spread of the new coronavirus.

JOE RAEDLE / Getty Images via NPR

Maine Gov. Janet Mills announced Friday that there will be notifications on the Maine Turnpike near the New Hampshire border telling visitors from out-of-state that they must self-isolate for 14 days upon arriving in Maine if they are coming from places designated as COVID-19 hotspots. The governor says the move comes amid concerns that people will attempt to flee other states and worsen the outbreak here while also overwhelming the state's health care system.

Robbie Feinberg / Maine Public

The Hannaford Supermarket chain says it is taking several new steps to protect customers and employees from the spread of COVID-19, including the installation of Plexiglass barriers in front of cash registers.

AUGUSTA, Maine - Maine has enacted a law that supporters say will expand access to broadband in underserved parts of the state.

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