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Saco's Planning & Economic Development Department is committed to helping our businesses during this unprecedented time. Below is a list of resources that may help your business and employees. Please contact Denise Clavette, Planning & Economic Development Director or Jessa Berna, Economic Development Specialist with any questions.
(last updated December 1, 2020)


Grants Available for Maine Tourism, Hospitality & Retail Small Businesses!
A grant opportunity for Retail, Tourism and Hospitality businesses was announced yesterday by Governor Mills and the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development. Backed by the Federal CARES Act Coronavirus Relief Funds (CRF), the program is focused on supporting Maine’s service sector small businesses. Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis, so it is important to get your application in as soon as possible. Applicants are eligible to receive up to $20,000. The application portal will be available on Wednesday, December 2nd, at 9:30am and will be available on the DECD Homepage.
Eligible businesses include accommodations, food service, retail, arts, entertainment, and recreation, with annual revenue between $24,00 and $12 million. Maine DECD will host a webinar on Wednesday, December 2, at 9:00am to discuss the program and to answer questions. You can register here. Please contact Denise Clavette, Planning & Economic Development Director or Jessa Berna, Economic Development Specialist for additional assistance.

Restarting Maine's Economy
Stage 4 of the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan began Tuesday, October 13, 2020. (Click here to see the prior stages of the plan). In response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases in Maine and the nation, Stage 4 was updated on Nov. 1, 2020 to the following:
- Effective Nov. 4, 2020, the limit on indoor gatherings will return to a maximum 50 people, while maintaining critical public health measures outlined in COVID-19 Prevention Checklists.
- For non-seated indoor activities, such as physical activity in gyms, the limit remains at 50.
- The outdoor gathering limit remains at 100 people.
- Retailers remain subject to the occupancy limit of 5 people per 1,000 square feet of shopping space.
- The reopening date for indoor seated service for bars and tasting rooms is postponed. Once permitted to reopen to indoor seated service, establishments must commit to abiding by the new COVID-19 Prevention Checklist for seated food and drink service, which is an update to the restaurant checklist.
- Per executive order, the state’s face covering mandate now requires a broader set of entities, such as private schools and local government buildings, to join restaurants, lodging, and retail establishments, to ensure that employees and people in their buildings adhere to this critical health measure.
-The executive order also expands the scope of the enforcement statewide, rather than in just Maine’s coastal counties and more populous cities.

Maine Department of Economic and Community Development
Maine DECD has developed industry-specific best-practice checklists that guide businesses on how to re-open safely. Businesses must commit to complying with the checklists to open.
Covid-19 Prevention Checklists
General Guidance 
Outdoor Gatherings
Indoor Gatherings
Covid-19 Prevention Checklist FAQs
Connect to the Maine Resource Compass for COVID-19 - A living database of 60+ resources including loan programs, reopening resources, virtual events and more.

CDBG Grants for Small Businesses
Small Business Development Center: Micro-Enterprise Grant Program
- Grants of up to $5,000
- 0-5 employees including owners
- Must demonstrate a revenue loss as a direct consequence of Covid-19
- Must have a DUNS number and meet income eligibility requirements
- Funds are first come, first served

Covid-19 Micro-Enterprise Business Grant Program
The Maine Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) in partnership with the Maine Small Business Development Centers (SBDC) will provide grants of up to $5,000 for businesses with five or fewer employees, with an owner whose income is in the low to moderate range as defined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

Financial institutions are working directly with businesses to help with Covid-19 resources and impacts. Financial institutions are available to help businesses navigate the numerous state and federal programs currently available:
Saco & Biddeford Savings
Biddeford Savings
Bangor Savings Bank
Norway Savings Bank
PeoplesChoice Credit Union
Saco Valley Credit Union
Northeast Credit Union
Town and Country Federal Credit Union
Atlantic Federal Credit Union

Maine Center for Business and Economic Research
With funding from the US Economic Development Administration through the US CARES Act of 2020, CBER is providing a pool of resources, analysis, and technical assistance to Maine's businesses, communities, and policymakers supporting the response and recovery to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). These resources are intended to compliment and not replace other economic and labor market data and analysis provided by state agencies and other outlets in Maine.

Biddeford + Saco Chamber of Commerce and Industry
The Chamber has many resources for local businesses, including information about local and federal business resources and up-to-date information about local restaurants.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The U.S. CDC has issued safety guidance for communities, school, workplaces and events. This guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber is working closely with the White House, U.S. government agencies, and foreign government officials to inform and equip businesses with the most important and up-to-date information to prevent the spread of the virus and prepare businesses for the near and long-term impact. The $2 Trillion Federal Assistance bill - called the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES) signed into law on Friday, March 27th has significant benefits for small businesses:

Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

The U.S. Department of Labor
The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the Covid-19 virus.

U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to Maine small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus. 
Deferments on SBA 7a 504 and Microloans (PDF)
SBA Disaster Assistance Resources for Businesses (PDF)

Economic Injury Disaster Loans/Grants via CARES Act
In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, small business owners are eligible to apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. The loan advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid. 
SBA EIDL Page & Application Process

U.S Department of Agriculture
On September 1, 2020, USDA Implements Immediate Measures to Help Rural Residents, Businesses and Communities Affected by COVID-19. USDA Rural Development has taken a number of immediate actions to help rural residents, businesses and communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. Rural Development will keep our customers, partners and stakeholders continuously updated as more actions are taken to better serve rural America. 

- Full stakeholder announcement

Questions or comments about businesses re-opening in Saco? 
Please submit your inquiry below:






Additional Resources:
The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) - The Finance Authority of Maine (FAME) is partnering with the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and local Maine lenders to offer special, limited-time loans and loan insurance to eligible Maine businesses affected by Covid-19.
Maine Association of Non-profits - Maine Association of Nonprofits is offering guidance on how nonprofits can prepare, respond, connect and contribute in impactful ways during this pandemic.
Retail Association of Maine - The Retail Association of Maine is maintaining a Covid-19 Resource Page for Retailers.
Southern Maine Finance Agency
Maine Development Foundation
Maine Philanthropy Center