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  • 05/15/2020 4:59 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    IRS: Three new credits are available to many businesses hit by COVID-19

    IR-2020-89, May 7, 2020

    WASHINGTON — The Internal Revenue Service today reminds employers affected by COVID-19 about three important new credits available to them.

    Employee Retention Credit:

    The employee retention credit is designed to encourage businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

    The credit is available to all employers regardless of size, including tax-exempt organizations. There are only two exceptions: State and local governments and their instrumentalities and small businesses who take small business loans.

    Qualifying employers must fall into one of two categories:

    1. The employer's business is fully or partially suspended by government order due to COVID-19 during the calendar quarter.
    2. The employer's gross receipts are below 50% of the comparable quarter in 2019. Once the employer's gross receipts go above 80% of a comparable quarter in 2019, they no longer qualify after the end of that quarter.

    Employers will calculate these measures each calendar quarter.

    Paid Sick Leave Credit and Family Leave Credit:

    The paid sick leave credit is designed to allow business to get a credit for an employee who is unable to work (including telework) because of Coronavirus quarantine or self-quarantine or has Coronavirus symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis. Those employees are entitled to paid sick leave for up to 10 days (up to 80 hours) at the employee's regular rate of pay up to $511 per day and $5,110 in total.

    The employer can also receive the credit for employees who are unable to work due to caring for someone with Coronavirus or caring for a child because the child's school or place of care is closed, or the paid childcare provider is unavailable due to the Coronavirus. Those employees are entitled to paid sick leave for up to two weeks (up to 80 hours) at 2/3 the employee's regular rate of pay or, up to $200 per day and $2,000 in total. 

    Employees are also entitled to paid family and medical leave equal to 2/3 of the employee's regular pay, up to $200 per day and $10,000 in total. Up to 10 weeks of qualifying leave can be counted towards the family leave credit.

    Employers can be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing their required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees' wages by the amount of the credit.

    Eligible employers are entitled to immediately receive a credit in the full amount of the required sick leave and family leave, plus related health plan expenses and the employer's share of Medicare tax on the leave, for the period of April 1, 2020, through Dec. 31, 2020. The refundable credit is applied against certain employment taxes on wages paid to all employees.

    How will employers receive the credit?

    Employers can be immediately reimbursed for the credit by reducing their required deposits of payroll taxes that have been withheld from employees' wages by the amount of the credit.

    Eligible employers will report their total qualified wages and the related health insurance costs for each quarter on their quarterly employment tax returns or Form 941 beginning with the second quarter. If the employer's employment tax deposits are not sufficient to cover the credit, the employer may receive an advance payment from the IRS by submitting Form 7200, Advance Payment of Employer Credits Due to COVID-19.

    Eligible employers can also request an advance of the Employee Retention Credit by submitting Form 7200.

    The IRS has also posted Employee Retention Credit FAQs and Paid Family Leave and Sick Leave FAQs that will help answer questions.

    Updates on the implementation of the Employee Retention Credit and other information can be found on the Coronavirus page of

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  • 05/15/2020 4:54 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    The SBA Express loan maximum has been temporarily increased to $1 million through December 31, 2020. Using a simplified application and quick decision process, SBA Express authorized  lenders can make the credit decision for the SBA. These can be term loans or revolving lines of credit.

    And there's great news for Veterans – As a result of a CARES Act amendment to the Small Business Act, all SBA Express loans to veteran-owned small businesses approved on or after March 27, 2020, the upfront guaranty fee will permanently be zero. You can read the complete notice here.

    Contact an SBA-approved Express lender to learn if this might be an appropriate funding option for your small business

  • 05/15/2020 4:49 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Mills Administration Secures WiFi & Learning Devices for 100 Percent of Maine Students Reporting a Need In Face of COVID-19’s Impacts on Schools

    May 15, 2020

    Governor Janet Mills and Maine Education Commissioner Pender Makin announced today that the Maine Department of Education has secured internet access and devices to facilitate at home learning for 100 percent of Maine school children for whom there was a reported need. The success comes as Maine educators have demonstrated extraordinary commitment and creativity in response to the suspension of classroom-based instruction as a result of COVID-19, providing invaluable and meaningful personal connection and assurance to students in a time of great uncertainty. However, it is still difficult for educators to offer equitable online learning opportunities without individual student internet access.

    Through a combined effort with the Department of Administrative and Financial Services, ConnectME, and business and philanthropic entities, the Maine Department of Education (Maine DOE) has acquired 14,494 service contracts through three different service providers, nearly all of which are for WiFi-enabled Samsung Galaxy Tablets that can be used as learning tools and hotspots or hotspots only. Through one of the service providers, DOE was also able to order MiFi, a wireless router that acts as a mobile WiFi hotspot, to fulfill internet-only needs. To fulfill the device only needs, Maine DOE was able to order 7,450 Chromebooks.

    “The suspension of classroom-based instruction because of the Pandemic has brought on new challenges and we should all be grateful for how Maine’s educators have adapted to provide a quality education to our children,” said Governor Mills. “It is our responsibility to ensure that Maine’s teachers, and all students, have the tools they need to stay connected during these unprecedented times. These new connections will allow Maine students to do just that and stay engaged remotely with their school no matter where they live."

    All schools who indicated a need are receiving the information and devices directly from the vendors. Need was assessed by the Department of Education through several surveys of all traditional and non-traditional public schools and private schools who serve public students to understand the connectivity needs statewide. Of the 21,845 students statewide lacking connectivity, based on data from the 75 percent of schools that responded, 14,494 students needed a wireless contract and 7,351 students needed only a device in order to have equitable access to online learning opportunities.

    The need for universal connectivity was identified as the top priority of stakeholders across the state in terms of mitigating the impact from the COVID disruption. Teachers have been struggling to connect with the many students and families who do not have access to the internet. A fourth round of surveys has just been completed for schools to report student connectivity needs, and DOE is working now to fulfill this final round of requests. In addition, the department has reached out to both higher education institutions and adult education programs to determine their student connectivity needs.

    “This pandemic and the educational disruption brought to light the extreme inequities that exist across our state,” said Commissioner Makin. “The emergency provision of connectivity to all students allows for educational continuity, and I am grateful to our team for their strategic and efficient execution of this enormous effort.”

    The Administration utilized federal funds, including a portion of Maine’s $9.3 million allocation from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, which was allocated through the federal CARES Act, as well as philanthropic donations, to purchase the devices and wireless service contracts to meet the identified need for universal connectivity for Maine students.

  • 05/15/2020 4:49 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Mills Administration Allows Lodging Reservations For Future Stays

    May 14, 2020

    Department of Economic and Community Development also posts additional COVID-19 Prevention Checklists to help businesses prepare for Stage 2 & FAQs to answer common questions

    The Mills Administration announced that, effective immediately, Maine lodging providers can begin accepting future reservations for stays with an arrival date of June 1st and beyond for Maine residents and for non-residents who comply with the State’s 14-day quarantine requirement.

    A previous Executive Order prohibited such reservations. The change comes amid ongoing collaboration between the Mills Administration and Maine’s tourism and hospitality sectors to identify innovative and practical solutions to welcome visitors while protecting the health of Maine people and the health of Maine’s economy.

    “The tourism and hospitality industries are vital pillars of Maine’s economy. Although the pandemic has altered how they can operate safely, it has in no way diminished their importance – both to our economy and to us as a state,” said Governor Janet Mills. “We are acting in partnership with the industry to resume reservations while we also work together to evaluate alternatives to the 14-day quarantine, including testing and other protocols, that will allow us to protect Maine residents and tourists during the summer months.”

    “We will continue to work closely with the tourism industry to make progress as we head into the summer,” said Heather Johnson, Commissioner of the Department of Economic and Community Development. “Ultimately, we want to adjust the 14-day quarantine in a way that protects the health of Maine people and the health of Maine businesses.”

    Under Governor Mills’ April 3 Executive Order, which established quarantine restrictions on travelers entering Maine, lodging establishments were prohibited from accepting new reservations with the exception of essential workers, such as health care workers, and vulnerable populations, including those fleeing domestic violence, homeless individuals and health care and essential workers.

    With today’s announcement, lodging establishments may immediately begin accepting reservations from Maine residents and non-residents for stays beginning on June 1st in line with the parameters established under the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan.

    However, lodging establishments that accept reservations must be prepared to cancel and fully refund reservations if these establishments cannot be reopened under Stage 2 as tentatively planned.

    This change comes as the Administration is working collaboratively with the tourism and hospitality industries to reexamine the 14-day quarantine requirement based on scientific advancements, best practices, and actions taken by other states.

    The Administration has maintained the previously-established 14-day quarantine – a proven epidemiological strategy to mitigate the spread of the virus – because it is one of the limited number of tools we currently have to effectively protect Maine people against the virus. Meanwhile, hot-spots such as New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, states from which Maine draws the majority of its tourists, continue to report a significant number of COVID-19 cases and deaths. Additionally, reopening without appropriate health and safety protocols could result in a surge of cases that would only further destabilize these businesses and impact consumer confidence in visiting their locations in the long-term.

    Ultimately, it is the goal of the Administration to be able to adjust the 14-day quarantine, but to do so in a way that still protects the health of Maine people.

    Further, the Department of Economic and Community Development today released additional COVID-19 Prevention Checklists for Stage 2 businesses tentatively slated to open in June under the Restarting Maine’s Economy Plan. The checklists, which provide health and safety guidance that businesses must commit to complying with in order to reopen, for the following have been posted:

    • Lodging
    • Campgrounds
    • Nail salons

    The Department plans to post the remaining Checklists on large gatherings, religious gatherings, public/community buildings, fitness centers/gyms, tanning salons, day camps, and overnight camps, as well as links to guidance on non-professional sports on May 20.

    The Department, in conjunction with the Department of Health and Human Services, also released a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) document in an effort to help provide answers to some common questions.

  • 05/15/2020 4:47 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Chris Sununu Issues Emergency Order #43, Exhibit G to Emergency Order #29

    May 14, 2020

    Concord, NH - Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued Emergency Order #43, along with Exhibit G to Emergency Order #29, as part of the state's efforts to respond to COVID-19.

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

  • 05/15/2020 4:04 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    The Granite State News Collaborative is looking for local businesses to profile as part of their 50 Businesses, 50 Solutions series. 

    "All of the businesses in our state, from mom and pop shops to major corporations, have been impacted, and faced challenges caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

    Our goal is to write a series of stories that help business leaders across the state see how others have tackled problems associated with the pandemic. This could be anything from supply chain disruptions to HR issues and everything in between.

    The idea is to highlight the business, the challenge they faced and how they implemented a solution that has allowed them to sustain their business. 

    These stories will be made available to all of our partner outlets for publication."

    If you are interested, please contact me directly or use this short survey form to share your story or “nominate” someone else.

  • 05/15/2020 4:00 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    If you are a Somersworth restaurant that wants to open for outside service, and already have an approved outside service area, please simply comply with the guidelines you have practiced in the past. 

    If you hope to serve in a new area that has not been previously approved, and if you don’t lease or own that space, you MUST first obtain permission from the property owner. Then simply fill out the Temporary Outdoor Seating Permit Application and submit it to Director of the Somersworth Department of Development Service, Shanna B. Saunders: (

    Please read the application carefully, pay particular attention to the check-off boxes on the right side of the form, and be sure to submit the required documents with your application. If you’ve already submitted an email requesting outside seating, please also complete the attached application and submit it too.  

    If you have a liquor license, and hope to serve alcohol, visit:  also submit an email to the state, that outlines your intentions to :  Please see Governor Sununu's “Stay at Home 2.0” Order for more information.

  • 05/15/2020 3:51 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Important Changes to PPP for Seasonal Businesses and Partnerships, and Extension of Safe Harbor Rule

    Allowable PPP Loan Increases:

    In an Interim Final Rule released on May 13th the SBA and Treasury formalized a process allowing lenders to modify loan amounts for borrowers already approved for a PPP loan when guidance released after the borrowers original loan was approved would allow for a higher loan amount. 

    Most likely to be impacted by this new rule are seasonal businesses where payroll was calculated on a 12-month average and partnerships where partner compensation was not included in the original loan amount. 

    Modifications to the loan amount and final disbursements must be made to the loans prior to the lenders reporting their disbursed loans to the SBA.  Those reports are due no later than May 22nd

    To review this new Interim Final Rule, visit the Treasury website HERE

    SBA’s Review of Good-Faith Certifications and Extended Safe Harbor Date:

    Treasury has released an updated FAQ including two new questions offering further explanation of how SBA will review a borrowers’ required good-faith certification relative to their need for a PPP loan and extended the safe harbor date for borrowers to return funds they don’t feel they qualify for to May 18th

    This extension will allow borrowers time to review the additional information provided by Treasury and SBA. When submitting a PPP application, all borrowers must certify in good faith that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant.”

    SBA, in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, has determined that the following safe harbor will apply to SBA’s review of PPP loans with respect to this issue: Any borrower that, together with its affiliates, received PPP loans with an original principal amount of less than $2 million will be deemed to have made the required certification concerning the necessity of the loan request in good faith.

    Borrowers with loans greater than $2 million may still have an adequate basis for making that good-faith certification based upon their individual circumstances. Borrowers who feel they can no longer make that certification in good-faith based upon the guidance issued by Treasury and SBA may now return their PPP loan in full by May 18th and will be deemed by the SBA to have made the required certification in good faith.

    To review the updated FAQ document, visit the Treasury website HERE

  • 05/13/2020 3:34 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

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

    May 13, 2020

    As the State continues to respond to COVID-19, Governor Janet Mills today signed a proclamation extending Maine’s state of civil emergency for thirty days through June 11, 2020. This will be Governor Mills’ second extension of the State of Civil Emergency.

    According to the National Governors Association, all States and Territories, including those in New England, have ongoing emergency declarations. The Governor’s proclamation comes as other governors across the nation also extend their respective states of emergency. Vermont Governor Phil Scott announced earlier this week he intends to renew his state of emergency as well. 

    “The State of Civil Emergency allows state government to deploy all available resources to protect the health and safety of Maine people and to respond quickly and as-needed to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Mills. “It also allows us to continue to draw critical Federal resources that help us equip frontline workers with needed protective equipment and to use Federal resources to support the State’s response.” 

    A State of Civil Emergency in part enables Maine’s access to critical federal aid to boost response efforts. The State of Emergency proclamation is separate and distinct from the Governor’s Executive Orders and from the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan. The Governor’s Executive Orders and the Restarting Maine’s Economy plan remain in effect and unchanged.

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

  • 05/13/2020 3:33 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Mills Administration Launches Campaign to Remind Maine People to Explore Their Health Coverage Options in the Face of COVID-19

    May 13, 2020

    Those who have lost a job or income can visit to learn more and apply

    The Maine Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) today launched a statewide campaign to promote awareness of affordable health insurance options, particularly for people whose employment or income has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

    DHHS is launching a special outreach campaign to remind Maine people about, a resource for finding affordable health insurance options, in response to the changing economic circumstances caused by the pandemic. Maine residents who have recently lost a job or income may also lose their health insurance provided through their employer or now be struggling to afford their monthly insurance premium. Many of these individuals may qualify for a free or low-cost plan through MaineCare (Maine Medicaid) or the federal marketplace.

    The statewide campaign will include digital, social media, and television advertisements, with ads beginning this week and continuing through June.

    Maine DHHS is also collaborating with the Maine Department of Labor to inform those applying for unemployment insurance that they may be eligible for affordable health insurance options.

    “From expanding Medicaid early on to signing into law the Made for Maine Health Coverage Act, my Administration has always fought to expand access to affordable health care for Maine people,” said Governor Janet Mills. “COVID-19 further underscores the importance of having health insurance. I urge Maine people, particularly those who may have lost income or health insurance as a result of the pandemic, to visit to find options to protect their health and help them care for their families.”

    “Maine people may qualify for affordable health coverage options, especially those who have lost jobs or income because of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said DHHS Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew. “We urge Maine people to visit to understand their options and sign up. Today more than ever, coverage is critical to ensuring access to needed health care.”

    Maine people can learn more at or call Consumers for Affordable Health Care at 1-800-965-7476 for free, local help.

    Most Maine people are eligible for insurance through MaineCare if their annual income is less than $17,609 for a single person or $36,156 for a family of four. Maine people with incomes above the MaineCare threshold but less than $51,040 for a single person or less than $103,000 for a family of four may be eligible for lower monthly premiums on

    Eligible Maine people may enroll in MaineCare at any time of year.  More than 53,000 people  are now enrolled through the expansion of MaineCare under Governor Mills – an increase of over 10 percent since April 1, 2020.

    To apply through, individuals currently must qualify for a Special Enrollment Period. Losing health insurance through a job should allow individuals to sign up for private insurance if they apply within 60 days. Governor Mills recently joined a coalition of Governors from 11 other states in asking the Trump Administration to take swift action to allow for a broader Special Enrollment Period to ease access to critical health care in the face of COVID-19.

    Additionally, Maine people who already have coverage through the Marketplace but expect to earn less in 2020 should update their income estimate, since they may qualify for more financial help to afford their plan or for MaineCare.

    The statewide campaign announced today builds on the Mills Administration’s ongoing work to reduce Maine’s uninsured rate and ensure that all eligible Maine people enroll in coverage. DHHS will conduct another advertising campaign in the fall to coincide with the open enrollment period.

    Governor Mills 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 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. MaineCare covers the costs of COVID-19 testing and has increased access to care by waiving all copays for prescriptions, office visits, emergency department visits, radiology and lab services and allowing early refills of prescriptions, among other measures.

    The Mills Administration has taken additional steps to bolster the health care workforce, expand telehealth services, and spearhead recent legislation to improve private health insurance for Maine people and small businesses.





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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