Virus Outbreak Maine

A woman wears a mask to protect against the spread of the coronavirus while looking at drying racks Sept. 9, 2020, outside a hardware store in Sanford, Maine.

(The Center Square) – With cold weather approaching, Maine is scheduled to move into Stage 4 of reopening Tuesday, which will allow indoor dining at 50% capacity, but questions remain about whether it will be enough to help businesses survive until spring.

“Gov. Janet Mills continues to take a measured approach to reopening the Maine economy,” David Clough, state director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) in Maine, said in an email response to The Center Square. “These actions are welcomed news but it is too soon to know whether these steps will be enough to help small businesses get through to unrestricted business operations.”

The administration worked with chambers of commerce and convention bureaus in Portland and Bangor to arrive at the new adjustments.

“For those small businesses that are able to open or increase their operations, the latest Executive Order will be a ray of sunshine through dark clouds,” Clough said. “No business was built on a model that assumed the level and duration of restrictions currently in place, so every business is basically trying harder than ever to get by from day to day. Every bit of sunshine helps brighten the prospects of crossing the perilous pathway.”

Mills’ executive order also now requires businesses statewide to enforce the state’s face mask requirement or face possible fines.

As many businesses fight to stay in operation, Clough urged policies that don’t take away vital income.

“We hope the governor will act as a roadblock to proposals that would make it more difficult for small businesses to do what they do best, to provide jobs, create jobs and be sources of community vitality,” Clough said.

Meanwhile, the ongoing economic downturn has fortunately been met with financial relief at the federal, state and local levels, Clough said, but the unprecedented nature of the impact will require further aid.

“Even after the pandemic crisis has passed, we will still have the significant challenge of recovering lost jobs, replacing lost businesses, and building new bridges to an economically strong future,” Clough said.