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  • 04/16/2020 1:13 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON – Today, U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin and U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza issued the following statement regarding the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program:

    “The SBA has processed more than 14 years’ worth of loans in less than 14 days.  The Paycheck Protection Program is saving millions of jobs and helping America’s small businesses make it through this challenging time.  The EIDL program is also providing much-needed relief to people and businesses.

    “By law, the SBA will not be able to issue new loan approvals once the programs experience a lapse in appropriations. 

    “We urge Congress to appropriate additional funds for the Paycheck Protection Program—a critical and overwhelmingly bipartisan program—at which point we will once again be able to process loan applications, issue loan numbers, and protect millions more paychecks.

    “The high demand we have seen underscores the need for hardworking Americans to have access to relief as soon as possible.  We want every eligible small business to participate and get the resources they need.”

  • 04/14/2020 3:30 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Mills Extends State of Civil Emergency As Maine Continues to Combat COVID-19

    April 14, 2020

    As the State continues to respond to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills today signed a proclamation extending Maine’s state of civil emergency (PDF) for another thirty days through May 15, 2020. The original state of civil emergency was scheduled to expire tomorrow, April 15, 2020.

    A state of civil emergency places Maine on highest alert and allows Governor Mills to deploy all available state resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people and to take every action she reasonably deems necessary to help respond to and protect against the spread of COVID-19 in Maine. It also eases Maine’s access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts.

    “I wish this proclamation was not necessary, but the continued spread of the virus demands a sustained response by the State,” said Governor Mills. “There will be difficult days and weeks ahead, but I am confident that Maine people will continue to step up to meet this challenge, just as we have in the past, and together we will get through this. For now, I continue to urge Maine people to do their part and stay apart. This is the best way we will defeat this virus and protect the state we all know and love.”

    For up-to-date information on Maine’s response to COVID-19, please visit Coronavirus.Maine.Gov.

  • 04/14/2020 3:27 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    April 14, 2020

    Maine Governor calls for USDA to guarantee adequate food supply and address supply chain gaps

    Governor Janet Mills today urged U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue to coordinate a nationwide strategy to increase the amount of food available to emergency food programs and to address gaps in the food supply chain. The letter to the Secretary comes after Governor Mills held a conference call earlier this month with Maine hunger and relief organizations, including Good Shepherd Food Bank, Wayside Food Programs, Full Plates Full Potential and Catholic Charities, who conveyed the difficulty in meeting the surge in demand for food resulting from COVID-19.

    “Our farm and food producers, and those up and down the supply chain, continue to serve the people of Maine by growing and selling food amidst the enormous challenges that we face today. From the farmers’ markets to the retail stores, the local gleaning networks to the community food pantries, Mainers are stepping up to the plate to ensure food is produced and disbursed in numerous ways while ensuring the health and safety of all involved,” wrote Governor Mills. “However, a patchwork of state efforts is not enough, and we urge the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take a stronger leadership role in ensuring that people are getting the healthy and nutritious food that they deserve, and that the gaps in the supply chain are addressed.”

    In her letter, Governor Mills suggested that the USDA partner with other federal agencies and leverage existing programs, such as the Emergency Food Assistance Program and the Section 32 Bonus Buy Back program, to procure and distribute more food. She also suggested prioritizing work with distributors to see that key items, such as canned foods, are distributed to emergency food providers.

    “Governor Mills’ leadership on this issue is timely and proposes a solution that could help food banks across the country,” said Amanda Beal, Commissioner, Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry. “Our hope is for the USDA to act as quickly as possible and leverage their assets and resources to help get the food our emergency food provider community needs in order to feed Maine people during this challenging time.”

    The complete text of Governor Mills’ letter to USDA Secretary Perdue follows:

    April 13, 2020

    The Honorable Sonny Perdue Secretary of Agriculture U.S. Department of Agriculture 1400 Independence Avenue, SW Washington, DC 20250

    Dear Secretary Perdue,

    I want to thank you for your continued leadership as Maine and the nation grapple with the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our farm and food producers, and those up and down the supply chain, continue to serve the people of Maine by growing and selling food amidst the enormous challenges that we face today. From the farmers’ markets to the retail stores, the local gleaning networks to the community food pantries, Mainers are stepping up to the plate to ensure food is produced and disbursed in numerous ways while ensuring the health and safety of all involved.

    However, a patchwork of state efforts is not enough, and we urge the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to take a stronger leadership role in ensuring that people are getting the healthy and nutritious foods that they deserve, and that the gaps in the supply chain are adequately addressed.

    My administration has been working diligently to ensure that local Maine foods are available for all consumers; including at retail stores, food pantries, soup kitchens, and community markets. Just this past spring, I signed into law LD 786, An Act to Reduce Hunger and Promote Maine Agriculture, which awarded $2 million to Good Shepherd Food Bank, a statewide hunger-relief organization. This funding will be used to contract with local farmers to purchase food year-round for hunger relief efforts across the state of Maine. However, the growing season is only beginning to get underway, and the growing number of food insecure people in Maine, which has been exacerbated by COVID-19, need access to food today.

    I recently held a call with several emergency food providers who are working diligently across the state to meet this need. They reported that while food insecurity is rising exponentially in Maine, they are doing all they can to respond to this urgent need. My administration has continued to monitor the challenges our emergency food providers are facing, and to respond to their needs in any way that we can.

    I recognize that across this country, producers, distributors, wholesalers, and many others have responded admirably to adjust to the intense demands COVID-19 has placed upon our nation’s overall food supply. However, Maine, as with many states across the country, is experiencing disruption that is affecting emergency food providers in particular. Non-perishable foods such as canned goods, flour, beans and frozen items are often the first items off retail store shelves. Yet it is these key staples that are traditionally purchased by or donated to food pantries. As a result, food relief organizations are struggling with a critical lack of available food items to provide to their patrons.

    I respectfully ask that the USDA coordinate a strategic effort to increase the availability of food items to emergency food programs and partners in at least two ways:

    1) By leveraging existing USDA programs such as The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP), the Section 32 Bonus Buy program, and others within the USDA’s jurisdiction, and by partnering with other federal agencies that have immediate purchasing and distribution powers. The USDA can procure and distribute more food through programs such as these.

    2) By prioritizing work with distributors and others on food supply issues related to challenges specific to the emergency food system. When trying to purchase food for distribution themselves, emergency food providers are finding key items out of stock, and are told that they may be out of stock for up to several weeks.

    We know that there is an abundance of healthy foods available for people across our great nation. We must work together to ensure that this food is getting to those that need it the most.

    Sincerely, Janet T. Mills Governor

    cc: Commissioner Amanda Beal Department of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry

  • 04/14/2020 3:26 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    April 13, 2020

    Governor Janet Mills today joined a coalition of Governors from Delaware, Illinois, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin in writing to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar and Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma to ask the Administration to reconsider its decision and take swift action to allow for a special enrollment period of at least 30 days on the federal health care exchange.

    “In the midst of one of the worst public health crises of our lifetimes, it is more important than ever to ensure that Maine people can see their doctor, receive the care they need, and stay healthy,” said Governor Mills. “I join other governors nationwide in urging the Administration to ease access to critical health care by opening the federal health care exchange during this unprecedented time.”

    On March 22, 2020, Governor Mills wrote Maine’s Congressional Delegation asking them to urge the Trump Administration to provide a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) through the Health Insurance Marketplace, noting that “access to health insurance coverage not only provides peace of mind for individuals, but also protects public health by encouraging the use of necessary health services.” Governor Mills also declared an insurance emergency on March 12, 2020 to improve access to care and require private health insurance plans to cover costs related to coronavirus testing. The Superintendent of Insurance, Eric Cioppa, has also ordered that private, fully insured plans pay the full costs of COVID-19 testing and issued an order deferring premium deadlines to assist consumers in maintaining health coverage.

    “Too many of our constituents are uninsured or underinsured despite the steps we’ve taken at the state level,” the Governors wrote in their letter. “As a result, far too many of our residents are choosing to forgo coronavirus testing and treatment out of fear of the potential costs to themselves and their families. It is essential that we remove every barrier as quickly as possible to ensure those in our states and across the country are able to access the treatment they need. One of the most effective ways this can be done is by opening up a federal special enrollment period to give everyone the chance to enroll in a health plan that offers the coverage they need with access to any qualifying subsidies.”

    “In a time of a fast-moving pandemic, taking every step possible to expand access to health insurance is not just a responsible choice for the health of the individual, but also for the health of our communities, our states, and the country,” the Governors continued. “We as governors have done and will continue to do everything we can for our residents, and we hope that you will take all the necessary steps that only you can for them as well.”


  • 04/14/2020 3:23 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    April 10, 2020

    Order also allows for absentee ballot applications up to and including Election Day

    As Maine implements strategies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills today signed an Executive Order moving Maine’s primary election from Tuesday, June 9, 2020 to Tuesday, July 14, 2020. The Order, which is effective immediately, also allows applications for absentee ballots to be made in writing or in person, without specifying a reason, up to and including the day of the election. It also extends the deadline for qualifying contributions under the Maine Clean Election Act to May 19, 2020.

    The delay in the primary election will provide additional time for Maine people to request absentee ballots in order to minimize in-person interaction at the polls and will allow the Secretary of State’s Office additional time to develop guidelines to help municipalities conduct in-person voting in as safe a manner as possible.

    “A person’s right to vote is the foundation of our democracy, and I take seriously government’s responsibility to ensure that every Maine person has the opportunity to have their voice heard and to do so in a way that protects their health and safety during this unprecedented pandemic,” said Governor Mills. “This postponement will provide Maine people with more time to request an absentee ballot and will allow the Secretary of State’s Office to work with municipalities to ensure that in-person voting can be done in as safe a way as possible. I recognize the ramifications this has both for voters and those running for office this year, and I appreciate their flexibility as we work to protect our elections and the health of our people.”

    “The action taken by the Governor gives assurance to all Maine voters that the primary and referendum election will be available for every qualified citizen who wishes to participate,” said Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. “Even in this time of civil emergency, our democracy will be our guide for the decisions of the future, and the Governor’s actions here will further ensure the legitimacy of our unique form of self-governance.”

    In addition to rescheduling Maine’s primary election, the Executive Order allows applications for absentee ballots may be made in writing or in person up to and including the day of the election in order to allow voters to obtain an absentee ballot and return it prior to the closure of the polls on July 14, 2020. Absentee ballots issued more than three months before June 9, 2020 remain valid for use in the July 14, 2020 election.

    The Order also extends the Maine Clean Election Act submission deadline for qualifying contributions to 5:00 p.m. on May 19, 2020 instead of April 21, 2020. To become eligible for Clean Elections funding, candidates must collect a minimum number of checks or money orders of $5. Governor Mills’ Stay Healthy at Home Order effectively prevents candidates for public office from traveling door to door to collect such contributions. Candidates can and should obtain these contributions online.

  • 04/14/2020 3:18 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Millions of PPE Delivered to New Hampshire


    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu, Dean Kamen, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, and state officials unloaded approximately 91,000 pounds of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from a FedEx cargo plane on the tarmac of Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

    The FedEx cargo plane departed Shanghai, China, last night, and arrived in New Hampshire at 3:39 PM EST after passing through United States Customs in Anchorage, Alaska early this morning.

    The New Hampshire State Police are escorting FedEx and National Guard trucks loaded with the PPE, which has been purchased by the State of New Hampshire, for assortment and inventory by Health and Human Service officials ahead of distribution to the areas of greatest need across the state. Officials will distribute the supplies as early as Tuesday. The state will not be charging those that receive shipments.

    By the numbers:

    • 6,140 boxes of PPE
    • 24,000 coveralls and Tyveks suits
    • 50,000 faceshields
    • 6.6 million masks

    "One month ago New Hampshire wasn't even in the business of PPE procurement, and today we secured over 91,000 pounds of this critical lifesaving equipment for our state," said Governor Chris Sununu. "We worked around the clock, scoured the earth, and left no stone unturned to ensure New Hampshire has the resources it needs to combat this pandemic. Huge thanks to Dean Kamen for facilitating this effort. The state leveraged Dean's expertise and connections on the ground in China, who helped us find a supplier and get these supplies in the air."

    "This plane is delivering lifesaving personal protective equipment which will be immediately distributed to the brave Granite Staters who are on the frontlines of this crisis," said Shaheen. "I congratulate and thank Dean Kamen for spearheading this heroic effort. Our State has not been receiving the PPE it needs and is running dangerously low on supplies. Thanks to Dean Kamen's leadership, we are all a little safer today. This pandemic will continue to require all of us to sacrifice and think outside the box, and I'm tremendously grateful to all the Granite Staters who are rising to this challenge."

    "This major shipment of personal protective equipment will help save lives and make a huge difference for our state," said Senator Hassan. "We passed the CARES Act to ensure that supplies like these could get to the frontlines, and I want to thank Dean Kamen for his round-the-clock efforts to deliver these supplies to New Hampshire. While today's shipment is great news, it's essential that the administration addresses ongoing supply chain issues and ramps up the production and distribution of vital medical supplies. I'll keep working with Governor Sununu and our Congressional delegation to get our state the supplies that we need to confront this pandemic."

  • 04/14/2020 3:15 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Secretary of State Gardner, Attorney General MacDonald Release COVID-19 Absentee Voting Memorandum


    Concord, NH – Today, Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald released guidance regarding elections operations during the State of Emergency.

    Elections Operations During the State of Emergency Memorandum  pdf file

  • 04/14/2020 3:02 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Chris Sununu Issues Emergency Orders 28, 29, 30


    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued Emergency Orders 28, 29, and 30 as part of the state’s efforts to respond to COVID-19.

    • Emergency Order #28  pdf file: Temporary non-congregate sheltering order to reduce the spread of COVID-19
    • Emergency Order #29  pdf file: Temporary modification to executive branch deadlines and requirements
    • Emergency Order #30  pdf file: Temporary requirements regarding healthcare provided in alternate settings

    Note: Dr. Chan's PowerPoint presentation from today's press conference  pdf file

  • 04/08/2020 4:51 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    News Release


    Eversource Foundation Donates More Than $2 Million to Support Communities During COVID-19 Pandemic


    Nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts to receive funds for critical social services fighting COVID-19


    MANCHESTER, N.H. (April 8, 2020) — As part of its efforts to support all of its customers and communities during the COVID-19 pandemic, Eversource (NYSE: ES) today announced that the energy company is donating more than $2 million through the Eversource Foundation to nonprofit organizations in New Hampshire, Connecticut and Massachusetts. These funds include the acceleration of the energy company’s regular $1.2 million annual donation to United Way agencies across all three states and an additional $1 million donation to be dispersed to those agencies and others providing social services such as food pantries and health and human service organizations.


    “We’re committed to supporting all of our customers, our neighbors and the communities where we work and live during these difficult and uncertain times,” said Eversource Chairman, President and CEO Jim Judge. “As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to evolve, the critical social services provided by nonprofits across our states are increasingly important, with people facing financial hardship and other challenges. There are many worthy charitable organizations across our region that are working to ensure that everyone has the support they need, and we’re grateful for all of our community partners and the important work they do throughout our region.” 


    Some of the organizations and the respective COVID relief funds that are receiving funding from the Eversource Foundation include United Way partners across all three states like the Granite United Way’s “COVID Relief Fund” and the New Hampshire Food Bank. In addition to this commitment, the energy company will also contribute to several food pantries in communities where it solely serves water customers through Aquarion Water Company.


    “Whether in times of crisis or not, our community partners at organizations like the United Way are always dedicated to making life better for those in need, supporting critical programs focused on health, education, financial security and more,” said Eversource Foundation President Theresa Hopkins-Staten. “We’re proud to stand with all of our local nonprofit partners who work every day across all three of our states to support our neighbors.”  


    As part of the more than $2 million donation, the Eversource Foundation will provide targeted Community Impact Grants, which are smaller contributions to local nonprofit organizations in all three states. Since the emergence of COVID-19, Eversource has taken several other steps to support its customers, including the suspension of customer disconnects for nonpayment


    While this pandemic continues to evolve, Eversource will continue to take all necessary precautions to maintain reliable service for its customers and to ensure the safety and health of its employees and the public under its COVID-19 pandemic plan. For more information on Eversource’s preparedness efforts and response to COVID-19, including FAQs for customers, ways to save, and more please visit

  • 04/08/2020 4:18 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu sent a letter to Senate President Donna Soucy and House Speaker Steve Shurtleff outlining the formation of the Governor's Office for Emergency Relief and Recovery (GOFERR). This office will be similar to Governor John Lynch's New Hampshire Office of Economic Stimulus.

    "Unlike the 2009 stimulus investment process that used the budget to ensure legislative input, the urgency and timing of this crisis does not allow for that course of action," said Governor Chris Sununu. "We are creating a bipartisan Legislative Advisory Board within GOFERR to ensure transparency and input to the process. It is important that this process has as much accountability, transparency, and integrity as possible, and I look forward to having legislative leadership advise this critically important office."

    GOFERR will be charged with the investment and oversight of COVID19 relief and stimulus funds provided to New Hampshire by the federal government. The office will manage the accounting, auditing, legal, and IT requirements surrounding these investments and will ensure transparency and accountability metrics to the citizens of New Hampshire for all relief and stimulus efforts.

    View the letter: GOFERR Letter 4-8-2020.pdf





The Falls Chamber of Commerce is a professional association of businesses in  the falls area.  We are the catalyst that facilitates business growth , prosperity, partnership and success for our members. 


Bonnie McNair, Executive Director
office hours by appointment: 472 High Street, Somersworth NH 03878



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