The Program backed by $200 million in Federal CARES ACT Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF) will provide financial relief for businesses and non-profit organizations that incurred disruptions as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The grants are intended to help sustain the viability of Maine’s small businesses and non-profits – not to replace lost profits – and will provide short-term relief to help stabilize Maine’s economy while still focusing on the state’s long-term goals described in the state’s 10 year strategic economic development plan. The program draws on a recommendation from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Committee.
In order to qualify for a grant, a business or non-profit, must demonstrate a need for financial relief based on lost revenues minus expenses incurred since March 1, 2020 due to COVID-19 impacts or related public health response. The business or organization must also 1) have significant operations in aine, meaning it is headquartered in the state or has a minimum of half of its employers in Maine; 2) employ less than a combined total of 50 employees and contract employees; 3) have been in operation for at least one year before August 1, 2020; notd currently be in bankruptcy and not permanently have closed operations; 4) be current and in good standing with all Maine State payroll taxes, sales axes and sate income taxes through July 31, 2020 and be in good standing with the Maine Department of Labor; 5) be in consistent compliance and not subject to any enforcement action with COVID-19 Prevention Checklist Requirements.
Funds mus be spent on operations that are strictly within Maine. Recipients are liable for any misuse of funds and the grants are subject to audit. In order to avoid a competitive rush for awards, the grants will not be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead businesses and non-profit organizations can apply for a grant beginging tomorrow, August 21, 2020 through September 9, 2020, with awards made in early October. The amount awarded will be based on demonstrated need as a pro-rated percentage of the total cos of business interruption reported by qualified applicants.
The Administration considers the $200 million initial investment with the potential for additional funding in the future depending on additional support from the Federal government, for which Governor Mills continues to advocate.