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PROUDLY SERVING BERWICK, NORTH BERWICK, SOMERSWORTH, SOUTH BERWICK, ROLLINSFORD & BEYOND

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  • 05/22/2020 10:25 AM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Supporting Chambers of Commerce Support Local Business and Community

    Reopening and recovery is a welcome opportunity to begin a ‘new normal’ in our personal and professional lives while following thoughtful guidelines put in place to keep us safe and healthy.

    Even with these guidelines, we continue to navigate uncharted waters, as businesses are forced to make difficult choices on when, how and where to deliver services and meet the needs of their customers- and customers are making difficult choices of how and where to support local businesses.

    The one constant that is always there for businesses to rely upon in times of need are Chambers of Commerce in the Seacoast: the Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, and The Falls Chamber of Commerce.

    A Chamber of Commerce is a unique thing. Many people think we are funded by the towns and taxes. Not true. Many people think we are a marketing agency. Not true (although we do provide marketing services). We are customer service professionals, whose mission is to support business and build community by serving our members, residents and visitors to our communities.

    We have been and will continue to be a dependable lifeline for local businesses fighting to keep their doors open. We have developed essential resources for businesses and community members, offered programming and provided opportunities to meet with key stakeholders, and have advocated on the state and national level to ensure businesses have the resources they need through the CARES Act.

    While Chambers are front and center serving our communities through this crisis and assisting our local businesses, we have been left out of federal funding programs through the CARES Act. Other nonprofits are eligible, but Chambers of Commerce are registered with the IRS as 501(c)(6) groups — and are deemed ineligible.

    This puts us in a precarious position. Like many businesses, we want to meet the needs of our customers, but are forced to make difficult decisions. While providing critical support to our communities in the fight against COVID-19, we face business-threatening financial impacts of our own due to loss of membership revenue and canceled events that have cleared calendars and undermined critical sources of income — essentially leaving us without funding options or relief.

    Chambers across the Granite State are imploring New Hampshire’s state and congressional leaders to include chambers and other nonprofit 501(c)(6) organizations as they allocate federal stimulus dollars.

    Chambers are catalysts, conveners and champions for our members and the communities we proudly serve. We want to continue our missions supporting businesses and building community and need your support.

    How can you support your local Chamber of Commerce?

    ● Reach out to the Governor’s Office for Economic Relief and Recovery https://www.goferr.nh.gov/ and ask them to allocate funding from the CARES Act support funding for Chambers of Commerce and 501c6 organizations.

    ● Become a Social Media Champion for your local Chamber of Commerce – like them, comment on their posts, share their content, and leave a review!

    ● Join, sponsor or donate to your local Chamber of Commerce (every little bit helps)!

    ● Encourage local businesses and organizations to join their Chamber of Commerce.

    When a business or community member reaches out- we want to be able to answer the call.

    Your support will ensure that- together- we can keep the communities in the Seacoast and across the Granite State a great place to live, work and play.


    Signed,

    Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce- Jennifer Wheeler, President

    Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce- Margaret Joyce, President

    Greater Rochester Chamber of of Commerce- Laura Ring, President

    Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce- John Nyhan, President

    The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth- Valerie Rochon, President

    The Falls Chamber of Commerce- Allison St Laurent, Executive Director


    The Seacoast Chamber Alliance represents over 2500 businesses who are members in one of the 6 Chambers of Commerce in the Seacoast: Exeter Area Chamber of Commerce, Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce, Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce, Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce, The Chamber Collaborative of Greater Portsmouth, and The Falls Chamber of Commerce.


  • 05/22/2020 10:21 AM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Dear Chamber Partners and Business Leaders,


    As we honor the courageous sacrifice of our fallen American heroes this Memorial Day weekend, we wanted to take a moment to thank you from Eversource for your continued partnership and leadership as we work together to serve the public through the pandemic.

     

    With states beginning the phased reopening of businesses and public places, we remain focused at Eversource on safeguarding health and preventing the spread of COVID-19 while also ensuring reliable service for our customers. Throughout the pandemic, our field employees have responded to storms, supported facilities critical to our region’s collective emergency response, and continued work essential to maintaining reliability. At the same time, our remote employees have settled in and are working productively.

     

    Please be assured that we’re prepared to continue current work methods and safety protocols for an extended period of time to serve the public and ensure that all of our customers, communities and businesses have the power they need to continue persevering through these challenging times.

     

    From all of us here at Eversource, we hope you and your families have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!


  • 05/19/2020 3:07 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans, consistent with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).  SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.

    The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:

    • Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles
    • Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan
    • Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness
    • Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30
    • Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined

    The PPP was created by the CARES Act to provide forgivable loans to eligible small businesses to keep American workers on the payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The documents released today will help small businesses seek forgiveness at the conclusion of the eight-week covered period, which begins with the disbursement of their loans.

    Click here to view the application and instructions.


  • 05/19/2020 2:57 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 18, 2020

    Concord, NH - Today, Governor Chris Sununu released additional guidance for child care facilities, while also announcing that outdoor attractions and equestrian facilities will be able to flex open in accordance with newly issued guidance, effective immediately.

    Today, Governor Sununu also issued Emergency Orders #44 and #45 as part of the state's efforts to respond to COVID-19.

    • Emergency Order 44 PDF file: Modification of Emergency Order #9 (Establishment of the COVID-19 Emergency Healthcare System Relief Fund)
    • Emergency Order 45 PDF file: Modification of Emergency Order #31 (Establishment of the COVID-19 Long Term Care Stabilization Program)

    PDF filePortable Document Format (.pdf) . Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.


  • 05/19/2020 2:56 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 19, 2020

    Maine people can enjoy campgrounds this Memorial Day Weekend; State delays full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons

    The Mills Administration announced today the following updates to its plan to restart Maine’s economy: 1) Maine residents may enjoy campgrounds beginning Memorial Day weekend; and 2) the Administration is delaying the full reopening of gyms, fitness centers, and nail salons in light of emerging research and experiences in other states of COVID-19 transmission related to these establishments.

    “We believe allowing private campgrounds to open with strict health and safety precautions to Maine residents minimizes risks while supporting mental and physical health, particularly during the long Memorial Day weekend,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We also believe that it is appropriate to delay the reopening of gyms and nail salons, both of which appear to present a greater risk of transmission of the virus based on emerging science and the experiences of other states. It is important that the plan remain flexible and that we take steps to update it when necessary in order to both protect public health and support our economy.”

    With these updates, campgrounds, including RV parks, may now reopen with enhanced health and safety precautions to Maine residents only beginning on Friday, May 22, 2020, an acceleration of the previously identified reopening date of June 1 (Stage 2). This change is similar to the current policies of New Hampshire and Vermont regarding campgrounds. The Mills Administration worked with campgrounds to develop a COVID-19 Prevention Checklist, which was posted on May 14. Campgrounds that follow this guidance can offer Maine residents of all ages an opportunity to safely hike, fish, bird watch, star gaze, boat and even swim this weekend that marks the start of summer. Maine has a long-standing tradition of embracing the outdoors, which has the additional benefit of promoting public health during this global pandemic

    The Mills Administration is also delaying the full reopening of gyms and fitness centers, originally scheduled for June 1 (Stage 2), in light of new studies raising concerns about the transmission of the virus in such settings due to large numbers of people in relatively small spaces with moist, warm atmospheres coupled with turbulent air flow generated by intense physical exercise. Gyms and fitness centers are currently allowed to conduct outside classes of less than 10 participants and one-on-one instruction inside.

    Additionally, the Mills Administration is delaying the re-opening of nail salons, also originally scheduled for June 1 (Stage 2), after the State of California identified the establishments as a source of COVID-19 community transmission. While claims continue to be reviewed, some preliminary evidence suggests that the close, face-to-face contact between clients and professionals could increase risk of transmission. Maine is assessing such evidence and expects to announce new re-start dates for nail salons and indoor gyms and fitness centers in early June.

    “We continuously review evidence nationwide and in Maine to guide our actions to safely restart Maine’s economy,” said Jeanne Lambrew, Commissioner of the Department of Health and Human Services. “As we did today, we expect to both slow down and accelerate different types of activities based on this evidence and trends within Maine to keep our state safe and strong.”

    “We appreciate the ongoing partnership with the business community,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “This is an incredibly difficult time for businesses, and we appreciate their creativity as we work together to develop solutions that keep people safe and create opportunities for businesses.”

    Aside from these updates outlined above, there are no changes to the plan at this time. Half way into the first month of Stage One of Restarting Maine’s Economy, Maine remains near the bottom compared to other states in its per-capita COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. The State strives daily to improve its prevention, detection, and containment of COVID-19 so Maine can restart as safely and as soon as possible.


  • 05/19/2020 2:55 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 18, 2020

    To further protect the health and safety of essential employees in Maine, including members of the media, the Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) is providing 1900 cloth face coverings to the Maine Association of Broadcasters (MAB) for distribution to the state's broadcast media outlets.

    "Throughout this pandemic, Maine's essential workers on the frontlines have never stopped serving their fellow citizens. As we begin to safely restart Maines economy, we have an even greater responsibility to protect public facing workers, including members of the media who keep Maine people informed during these uncertain times," said Governor Mills. "Our administration will continue to distribute protective supplies to critical industries. This, combined with increased testing, is an important part of our overall plan to contain the virus and prevent further outbreaks."

    MEMA and the CDC continue to receive shipments of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for essential workers and are working to prioritize distribution of those shipments statewide. Approximately 631,521 pieces of PPE have been delivered through coordination between MEMA and Maine CDC to date.

    "MEMA has already distributed these face coverings to the Maine Association of Broadcasters and is working to distribute more personal protective equipment as we receive supplies to other essential employees, including grocery and food production, energy sectors and emergency services communications, as quickly as possible," said MEMA Director Peter Rogers. "It is our goal to marshal state and local emergency management agencies to orchestrate reliable distributions of supplies statewide, and I encourage all industries to work with their county to request the equipment they need to stay safe."

    "Our colleagues in the media have played an important role in helping us share information about COVID-19 with Maine people," said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention. "We are pleased that our partners at MEMA are helping broadcasters do what they can to limit exposure to the virus."

    The masks will be distributed by the Maine Association of Broadcasters to broadcast media outlet employees who are responsible for maintaining the operational continuity of stations.

    The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where social distancing is difficult to maintain, especially in areas of significant community-based transmission. The masks can be routinely washed, depending on the frequency of use.

    Essential industries seeking cloth face coverings or other PPE should contact their county emergency management agency. For additional information on Covid-19 and other state emergencies, please visit Maine.gov/MEMA, or visit MEMA on Facebook or Twitter.


  • 05/19/2020 2:54 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 18, 2020

    Today, Governor Janet Mills and U.S. Senators Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Representatives Chellie Pingree and Jared Golden convened a Zoom conference call to discuss the State’s response to COVID-19 and the Congressional Delegation’s work in Congress to support the State’s efforts.

    The Governor and Congressional Delegation specifically discussed the need for Federal aid to State and local governments. The conference call follows a recent letter from Governor Mills to the Congressional Delegation outlining the impact that COVID-19 is expected to have on State and local government and the services they provide to the people of Maine.

    “I am grateful to have a close working relationship with Maine’s Congressional Delegation and am thankful for their ongoing efforts to support the State through their work in Congress,” said Governor Janet Mills. “Today, we discussed the need for additional direct Federal support to State and local governments, as well as flexibility for the funding already authorized. My Administration worked with the Legislature to take steps to safeguard Maine’s economy, but with all states facing reductions in revenue as a result of this virus, a strong Federal partnership will help Maine continue to protect public health and safety and spearhead an economic recovery. I look forward to continuing our constructive work in the weeks ahead to support Maine people and our economy.”

    “Maine’s Congressional Delegation stands united in our effort to advocate for the interests of Maine people in Washington as we face the largest public health challenge in a century,” said Senators Collins and King and Representatives Pingree and Golden. “The coronavirus pandemic is an extreme and unexpected threat to our state’s health, economy, and government services, and we must work together to overcome these obstacles. During this crisis, the Delegation and the Governor are in close contact to ensure we are working together to address Maine’s most urgent needs. As Congress continues to map out top priorities in this recovery effort, our delegation will speak with one voice to make sure Maine people receive the resources they need to weather this storm.”

    During the conference call, Governor Mills provided a situational update on the status of COVID-19 in Maine as well as the State’s ongoing efforts to respond to and mitigate its spread. The Governor discussed the letter she sent to the Congressional Delegation last week outlining the need for additional Federal support for State and local governments. The Congressional Delegation provided an update on their efforts in Congress to provide that relief. The Governor thanked the Congressional Delegation for their work to support the State and they pledged to continue to work together in the coming weeks and months.

    Governor Mills, through the bipartisan National Governors Association, has repeatedly pressed Congress and the Trump Administration to provide robust and flexible federal relief to offset expected revenue shortfalls that every state is confronting. These actions come in the wake of other steps the Mills Administration and the Legislature have taken to prepare the State for the economic ramifications of COVID-19, including freezing all non-emergency spending and working in a bipartisan manner to revise and enact the supplemental budget. The $73 million revised proposal, which was $52 million less than originally proposed, prioritized initiatives related to COVID-19. The current projected balance of unappropriated surplus is $113 million over the biennium. The Budget Stabilization Fund, or Rainy Day Fund, through the enacted supplemental, stands at $257 million, which is an increase of more than $50 million since the Governor took office.


  • 05/18/2020 2:10 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 18, 2020

    Expanded testing resulting from IDEXX agreement is now operational, allowing Maine health care providers to test more people beginning today

    Governor Janet Mills announced today that the Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention (Maine CDC) has eliminated its testing prioritization system and is now allowing health care providers in Maine to seek testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19.

    The elimination of the system is primarily driven by the Mills Administration’s agreement with IDEXX that more than triples the State’s texting capacity. That expansion is now operational, allowing Maine CDC to notify health care providers today of significantly increased access to in-state testing for anyone suspected of having the disease, which includes people with symptoms as well as those who have had significant, close contact with a person with COVID-19, such as a spouse.

    “The elimination of the testing prioritization system, driven largely by our expanded testing capacity in partnership with IDEXX, is a welcome step forward for Maine,” said Governor Janet Mills. “As a result, more Maine people will have access to testing and we can begin to implement spot-check testing protocols being developed by the Maine CDC. My Administration will continue to work to expand testing capacity in the coming weeks.”

    “IDEXX has been a great partner in helping Maine CDC expand our lab’s testing capacity,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “Because of this expanded capacity, health care providers in Maine will now be able to get results quickly for a lot more patients, including individuals who might not be exhibiting symptoms but who had close contact with confirmed cases.”

    Prior to today’s change, Maine CDC had implemented a testing prioritization system for individuals in high-risk categories, as most state labs have done due to the limited national supply of testing materials. Under the previous system, individuals who were tested must have been symptomatic (fever or respiratory symptoms) and fall into one of the following high-risk categories: 1) those who are hospitalized; 2) health care workers; 3) first responders; 4) those living in a congregate setting; 5) patients older than 60 years; and 6) patients with underlying medical conditions.

    Under the new alert sent to health care providers today, the State has eliminated these categories to allow for testing of all people in Maine with symptoms as well as people without symptoms who may be at risk of transmitting COVID-19 to others, including close contacts of confirmed cases, health care workers in contact with a confirmed case, and people tested as part of voluntary sentinel disease surveillance plan under development by the Maine CDC. The breakthrough will also allow the State to continue to implement universal testing in congregate living settings with an outbreak, such as nursing facilities and shelters.

    This change stems primarily from the Administration’s agreement with IDEXX to purchase enough of its FDA-authorized test kits to run at least 5,000 tests per week for the foreseeable future. Taken in combination with Maine CDC’s prior capacity of 2,000 tests per week and additional work to expand testing capacity, the partnership with IDEXX more than triples the State of Maine’s testing capacity. These tests are in addition to those conducted for Maine residents by nongovernmental labs in and outside of the state. Additionally, IDEXX has lent a testing instrument to the Maine CDC’s laboratory to help accommodate the higher testing volume and has generously donated enough test kits to conduct 3,500 tests. The tests are being run at Maine CDC’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory in Augusta.

    The Mills Administration is continuing its efforts to secure more testing as part of its ongoing commitment to Maine’s public health. Additionally, the Mills Administration continues to press the Federal government to ensure that health care providers have a reliable and adequate supply of materials, such as personal protective equipment and swabs to collect samples from patients for testing.


  • 05/18/2020 1:50 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    May 15,  2020


    PDF filePortable Document Format (.pdf) . Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.


  • 05/18/2020 11:26 AM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Chris Sununu Announces $595 Million in COVID-19 Recovery Funds

    May 15, 2020

    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu announced $595 million in new funding committments for areas and industries across New Hampshire affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis.

    "These funds are a major step forward in our efforts to provide Granite Staters affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis with relief," said Governor Chris Sununu. "We are continuing to expand funding for our hospitals and health care facilities, we are committing an unprecedented amount into our non-profits and Main Street small businesses, investing in our farmers and food supply systems, and continuing to put dollars towards our childcare system, frontline workers, and higher education system. This is about delivering relief for Granite Staters as quickly as possible."

    The relief funds announced today come at the recommendation of the Bipartisan Legislative Advisory Committee, and include:

    The funds announced today follow $250,000,000 in previously committed relief funds.

    Governor Sununu also signed Executive Order 2020-09 PDF file today, the third extension of the State of Emergency declared in Executive Order 2020-04 PDF file.

    PDF filePortable Document Format (.pdf) . Visit nh.gov for a list of free .pdf readers for a variety of operating systems.

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ABOUT THE FALLS CHAMBER

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. 

CONTACTS

Bonnie McNair, Executive Director

info@thefallschamber.com
603.749.7175
office hours by appointment: 472 High Street, Somersworth NH 03878

       

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