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  • 05/08/2020 3:27 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Mills Administration Secures Major COVID-19 Testing Expansion for Maine

    May 7, 2020

    State of Maine partners with IDEXX to more than triple its testing capacity

    Governor Janet Mills announced today that her Administration has secured a major expansion of COVID-19 testing for the State of Maine. The Administration has partnered with Maine-based IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. to purchase enough of the company’s recently authorized COVID-19 testing kits to more than triple the State’s testing capacity. The breakthrough will soon allow anyone in Maine suspected of having COVID-19 to receive a test.

    IDEXX, a worldwide leader in animal diagnostics, also has deep expertise in human diagnostics through its human health business, OPTI Medical Systems. Earlier today, IDEXX announced the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has granted OPTI Medical Systems an Emergency Use Authorization for IDEXX’s OPTI SARS-CoV-2 RT-PCR laboratory test kit for the detection of the 2019 novel coronavirus. The Mills Administration is purchasing enough of these test kits to run at least 5,000 tests per week for the foreseeable future.

    “This changes everything,” Governor Mills said. “Acquiring this testing capacity is a major breakthrough for all the people of Maine. We have worked closely with IDEXX over the last month to position the state to benefit from this new and exciting product. Now we are poised to more than triple the State’s testing capacity, remove testing barriers for health care providers, and make sure that anyone who needs a test can get one. On behalf of this Administration and on behalf of all the people of Maine, I thank IDEXX for their ingenuity, generosity, and partnership. Acts like this demonstrate to us the heart of Maine’s extraordinary companies and the power of public-private collaboration.”

    “I am grateful to the frontline workers in Maine and around the world who have been working tirelessly to help treat and contain the spread of Covid-19,” said Jay Mazelsky, President and CEO of IDEXX. “Assisting governments with infectious disease management is core to what we do and all of us at IDEXX are proud to be able to leverage our capabilities in support of these efforts in our home state of Maine.”

    Taken in combination with Maine CDC’s current capacity of 2,000 tests per week, 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 is loaning a testing instrument to the Maine CDC’s laboratory to help accommodate the higher testing volume and is generously donating enough test kits to conduct 3,500 tests.

    “This is a game changer,” said Dr. Nirav D. Shah, Director of the Maine CDC. “It will allow us to move to a next level of testing that is crucial to monitoring the public health implications of a phased reopening of Maine businesses and gathering places.”

    This significant expansion of testing will ultimately allow Maine CDC to eliminate its testing prioritization system, which most states have had to implement as a result of the limited national supply of testing materials. After testing with the new instrument and materials is operational, which is expected as early as the end of next week, health care providers in Maine will be able to seek testing for anyone they suspect of having COVID-19. This 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 breakthrough will also allow the State to more fully implement universal testing in congregate care settings, such as nursing facilities and shelters, and enable the State to work with providers to conduct voluntary sentinel testing, or “spot checks”, on patients in different parts of the health care system.

    The tests will be run at Maine CDC’s Health and Environmental Testing Laboratory (HETL) in Augusta. Maine CDC is hiring additional staff at HETL to support the expansion.

    The expansion of testing is also crucial to gradually restarting the economy and is one of the four guiding principles in the Governor’s vision for reopening Maine. With this additional capacity, Maine CDC will be able to better gauge the prevalence of the virus throughout the State. These data will help inform the appropriateness of lifting restrictions and moving through reopening stages.

    Even with this announcement, the Administration will continue its efforts to secure more testing as part of its ongoing commitment to Maine’s public health. For example, Maine CDC has also recently received testing supplies for its second King Fisher testing platform, which will further expand capacity. 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 swabs, to collect samples from patients for testing.

  • 05/08/2020 3:26 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Mills Convenes Expert Committee to Advise on State’s Economic Recovery

    May 6, 2020

    Business leaders, education officials, non-profits, labor and tribal representatives, economic development experts, and elected officials to shape economic recovery

    Governor Janet Mills announced today that she is convening an Economic Recovery Committee charged with developing recommendations to mitigate the damage to Maine’s economy caused by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and to jumpstart a long-term economic recovery for Maine people, businesses, and organizations.

    The thirty-seven member Committee, co-chaired by Laurie Lachance, former Maine State Economist and President of Thomas College in Waterville, and Josh Broder, CEO of Tilson, includes representatives of small businesses, non-profits, financial institutions, unions, municipalities, tribal and immigrant communities, hospitality and tourism industries, and educational institutions as well as a bipartisan delegation of legislative designees.

    “This pandemic is wreaking havoc on our national economy and dealing heavy losses to businesses of all sizes and millions of people who find themselves newly unemployed. Like all states, Maine will be impacted both in the short- and long-term,” said Governor Mills.  “While we work to protect public health and safely restart Maine’s economy, I am convening a committee of experts and stakeholders from various industries and with vast experiences to develop recommendations that can guide our economic recovery. Together, drawing on the hard work and resilience of Maine people, we will rebuild and strengthen our economy and rise from this unprecedented challenge to be a stronger state.”

    “I’m honored to serve Maine in helping to plan for the future,” said Josh Broder, Co-Chair of the Committee and CEO of Tilson. “This emergency has devastated families and our economy in unprecedented ways. We will have to be strategic in our investments, harness all of the diverse capacity in state, and be competitive in our approach to stimulus.”

    “In this time when it feels like there is little we can do as individuals, I am deeply honored to work closely with such an experienced and passionate group of leaders to use our collective wisdom and ideas to help move Maine past this extremely disruptive period,” said Laurie Lachance, Co-Chair of the Committee and President of Thomas College. “As we have seen so many times in our history, with focus and hard work, Maine can and will emerge stronger and will move towards the vision we share of a more prosperous economy.”

    The Economic Recovery Committee, which the Governor established by Executive Order today, will gather input from experts and industry sector representatives on the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on Maine’s economy and offer specific policy recommendations to mitigate those impacts. Those recommendations should address essential issues such as:

    1. Strengthening Maine’s key industries and small businesses;
    2. Strengthening workforce development;
    3. Improving opportunities for lower-and middle-income families;
    4. Expanding economic opportunities for rural communities; and
    5. Attracting new investments and innovations in key sectors such as business, communication, health care, recreation and education.

    The Committee will not address public health matters, including the reopening timeframe; however, it will provide guidance on the importance of good public health as a precondition for good economic growth. 

    The Committee will convene its first meeting as soon as practicable and deliver a preliminary report no later than July 15, 2020 and a final report by December 1, 2020. The Committee may also form subcommittees at the discretion of the co-chairs. All meetings of the Committee and any subcommittees will be conducted virtually in a manner accessible to the public with advance online notice. To allow for public input, the Committee will create a portal to receive public comments.

    The Committee may also call upon economists and other experts, including the Maine State Economist, to inform its members. The Committee may also continue to meet after delivering its final report if requested by the Governor. 

    These recommendations will serve in part as a bridge between the economic emergency caused by the pandemic to the restart of the State’s 10-year economic development strategy released last year.

    Photo of Josh Broder

    A native of Cumberland, Maine, Josh Broder serves as CEO of Tilson, a leading information infrastructure development firm which under his leadership has grown from less than 10 employees to more than 500. Prior to joining Tilson, Josh served as an Army Signal Office on missions in Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia where he was awarded a bronze star for his service.

    Photo of Laurie Lachance

    A native of Dover-Foxcroft, Maine, Laurie Lachance is Thomas College’s 5th President and the first female and alumna to lead the College in its 126-year history. From 2004-2012, Laurie served as President and CEO of the Maine Development Foundation. Prior to MDF, Laurie served three governors as the Maine State Economist.

    The complete membership of the Economic Recovery Committee is as follows:


    • Josh Broder, Co-Chair, CEO of Tilson
    • Laurie Lachance, Co-Chair, President of Thomas College


    • Representative Joshua Morris, R-Turner
    • Representative Brian Hubbell, D-Bar Harbor
    • Senator Lisa Keim, R-Oxford
    • Senator Michael Carpenter, D-Aroostook      

    Economic Development:

    • Lee Umphrey, President & CEO of Eastern Maine Development Corporation
    • Betsy Biemann, CEO of Coastal Enterprises Inc


    • Curtis Picard, President and CEO of Retail Association of Maine
    • Dana Connors, President of the Maine Chamber of Commerce
    • Meredith Strang Burgess, President and CEO of Burgess Advertising and Marketing
    • Ben Waxman, Co-Founder American Roots
    • Jessica Masse, Partner, Design Lab
    • Steve Schley, Board Chair, FOR Maine Initiative
    • Vaughan Woodruff, Owner of InSource Renewables
    • Jean Ginn Marvin, Owner of Nonantum Resort, Board Chair, Maine Community College Board of Trustees
    • Kevin Raye, Realtor and Former Senate President
    • Deanna Sherman, President and CEO of Dead River Company
    • Wick Johnson, President of Kennebec Technologies
    • Robert Dorko, Utilities & Recovery Manager at Sappi North America
    • Luke Holden, Co-Founder and CEO of Luke’s Lobster

    Financial Institutions:

    • Bob Montgomery-Rice, President and CEO of Bangor Savings Bank
    • Sam May, Maine Harvest Federal Credit Union Board Chair
    • Larry Shaw, CEO of MMG Insurance
    • Tim Agnew, Masthead Venture Partners

    Municipal, Immigrant and Tribal Community Representatives:

    • Tae Chong, Councilor, City of Portland, and Social Enterprise & Workforce Development Manager for Catholic Charities Maine
    • Lincoln Jeffers, Economic Development Director for the City of Lewiston
    • Angela Okafor, Councilor, City of Bangor
    • Susan Hammond, Executive Director of Four Directions Development Corporation

    Health Care

    • Bill Burke, Chair of the MaineHealth Board of Trustees and the Portland Sea Dogs 


    • Jim Herbert, President of the University of New England
    • Rebecca Wyke, President of the University of Maine at Augusta
    • Joe Cassidy, President of Southern Maine Community College


    • James Myall, Policy Analyst for the Maine Center for Economic Policy
    • Jennifer Hutchinson, Executive Director of the Maine Association of Nonprofits
    • Susan Corbett, Founder and Director of the National Digital Equity Center


    • Matt Schlobohm, Executive Director of the Maine AFL-CIO

    Members of Maine’s Congressional Delegation are also invited to participate in an ex-officio capacity.

  • 05/08/2020 3:23 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Chris Sununu Proclaims Teacher Appreciation Week

    May 7, 2020

    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued the following statement after having proclaimed May 4-8, 2020 as Teacher Appreciation Week in the State of New Hampshire:

    "New Hampshire's educators have gone above and beyond to ensure that students in the Granite State continue to receive a quality education as we confront the COVID-19 pandemic," said Governor Chris Sununu. "Thanks to their dedication - not just during these unordinary times, but every day - our students are receiving one of the best educations in the country. We can't thank our educators enough for all that they do."

    "There are many paths to bright futures, and it's easier for students to find their paths with a great teacher," said Education Commissioner Frank Edelblut. "During Teacher Appreciation Week, we pause to thank the dedicated educators who do so much to teach New Hampshire Students."

  • 05/08/2020 3:19 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Governor Chris Sununu Issues Emergency Order #41

    May 5, 2020

    Concord, NH – Today, Governor Chris Sununu issued Emergency Order #41 as part of the state's efforts to respond to COVID-19.

    Emergency Order #41 pdf file: Additional Medicaid Eligibility for Uninsured

  • 05/08/2020 11:34 AM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    A Message from Gregory Walker, President & CEO of Wentworth-Douglass Hospital:
    Spring of 2020 has not been easy for any of us. Here at Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, we turned our world upside down and inside out to care for the most vulnerable in our community as the COVID-19 crisis became more prevalent.

    Thank you for supporting our need to postpone your surgery, test or appointment so we could prepare our facility and our teams for the COVID-19 unknown that we were facing. Thank you for trusting Wentworth-Douglass to provide continued care for those whose care could not wait during this crisis. Thank you for providing countless donations and gifts for our care team as we dealt with the most anxious time in our history. 

    Over the last several weeks, we were prepared to care for a large influx of COVID-19 patients. However, we did not see the level of COVID-19 care needs that other areas of the country experienced. In fact, since the crisis started, only 20 confirmed COVID-19 patients have needed hospitalization at Wentworth-Douglass. We performed over 2,300 COVID-19 tests, and only had 139 (or just over 6%) testing positive. All indicators are forecasting minimal COVID-19 cases for our community in the near future. We will continue to watch this, but we are now readying several service lines for re-opening using a gradual approach. Please know, we have processes in place to quickly pivot should a COVID-19 microburst or surge present in our community and our team is ready to respond.

    While we did not experience a complete shut-down of services during the crisis and we remained available for urgent patient needs, we did pause a fair amount of services. We are working hard to put new processes and plans in place so we can fully open these services again. This week, we started a phased-in approach to providing time-sensitive care needs in surgical services, imaging and cardiology before planning to ramp up in other areas of the organization over the coming weeks. 
    At Wentworth-Douglass Hospital, a new healthcare experience awaits, centered on your safety and superb clinical care

    For those who are familiar our with organization, it may feel a little different as you now enter the hospital. We are supporting social distancing needs and requiring protective measures for all who enter, including providing masks, supporting visitor restrictions and spacing out waiting areas and common areas. This is done to support the health and wellness of all. 

    To stay up-to-date on service openings, or to learn more about what we are doing to provide a safe environment, please visit our Service Updates page. Thank you for putting your trust in us and making Wentworth-Douglass Hospital your choice for health care needs.

     Gregory Walker, FACHE
    President & CEO, Wentworth-Douglass Hospital                

  • 05/07/2020 12:57 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    Businesses in need of disposable masks may submit a form to request masks from the State of New Hampshire.

    To start, select the location below where you would like to pick up your mask request and fill out the form. Masks are provided to New Hampshire businesses at no cost. It is the responsibility of the business to re-order masks as needed.


    Colebrook DMV (17 Bridge Street)

    Concord DMV (23 Hazen Drive)

    Dover DMV (50 Boston Harbor Road)

    Epping DMV (315 Calef Highway)

    Gorham DMV (491 Main Street)

    Keene DMV (15 Ash Brook Court)

    Manchester DMV (377 South Willow Street)

    Milford DMV (4 Meadowbrook Drive)

    Nashua DMV (110 Broad Street)

    Newport DMV (20 North Main Street)

    North Haverhill DMV (3785 Dartmouth College Highway)

    Salem DMV (154 Main Street)

    Tamworth DMV (1864 White Mountain Highway)

    Twin Mountain DMV (549 Route 302 West)

  • 05/05/2020 2:38 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    And now, more than ever, we’re dedicated to supporting you. That’s why we’ve teamed up to launch Stand for Small.

    Stand for Small is a one-stop shop with resources, offers, and tools from a growing group of companies that want to help your small business get back to business. Whether you’re shifting your business online or switching to takeout and delivery, Stand for Small hopes to help you navigate the current climate.

    Get valuable resources for your business

    Visit the hub for tools to help you manage expenses, strengthen your online presence, track shipping and deliveries, and more – because your business helps our communities thrive.

    Learn More

  • 05/04/2020 5:53 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    EIDL Reopens for U.S Agricultural Businesses

    SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs.

    SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today and begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying.

    All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.


    News Release

    SBA to Make Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available to U.S. Agricultural Businesses Impacted by COVID-19 Pandemic

    WASHINGTON – U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today that agricultural businesses are now eligible for SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance programs. SBA’s EIDL portal will reopen today as a result of funding authorized by Congress through the Paycheck Protection Program and Healthcare Enhancement Act. The legislation, signed into law by the President one week ago, provided additional funding for farmers and ranchers and certain other agricultural businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

    “For more than 30 years, SBA has been prohibited by law from providing disaster assistance to agricultural businesses; however, as a result of the unprecedented legislation enacted by President Trump, American farmers, ranchers and other agricultural businesses will now have access to emergency working capital,” said Administrator Carranza. “These low-interest, long-term loans will help keep agricultural businesses viable while bringing stability to the nation’s vitally important food supply chains.”

    Agricultural businesses include businesses engaged in the legal production of food and fiber, ranching, and raising of livestock, aquaculture, and all other farming and agricultural related industries (as defined by section 18(b) of the Small Business Act (15 U.S.C. 647(b)). Eligible agricultural businesses must have 500 or fewer employees.

    The SBA will begin accepting new EIDL applications on a limited basis only, in order to provide unprecedented relief to U.S. agricultural businesses. For agricultural businesses that submitted an EIDL loan application through the streamlined application portal prior to the legislative change, SBA will move forward and process these applications without the need for re-applying. All other EIDL loan applications that were submitted before the portal stopped accepting new applications on April 15 will be processed on a first-in, first-out basis.

    For more information, please visit:

  • 05/04/2020 5:01 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    COAST to Resume Fixed Route Bus Service on Monday, May 11

    Dover, NH – COAST is resuming fixed route bus services, and Route 7 On Demand, on Monday, May 11.

    Unlike the Manchester Transit Authority (MTA) and Nashua Transit System (NTS), which were both able to continue to provide essential service for the general public using their demand response services, without such operational capacity COAST has been working diligently to resume some level of essential public transit services for the general public since suspending services on April 1.

    Due to staffing shortages as a result of COVID-19, not all services will return to normal operations on May 11. For a full list of services to resume, please see COAST’s website at

    In order to promote safe interactions between passengers and staff, COAST will also be implementing a series of new guidelines and processes for traveling on the public transit system. By following these guidelines and respecting social distancing recommendations, the organization believes a safe resumption of service for essential trips is possible.

    New Guidelines for Safe Travel with COAST:

    • For the time being, COAST requests that passengers only use the bus system for essential trip purposes, such as work, doctor’s appointments, pharmacy, and groceries.
    • For everyone’s safety, passengers are strongly encouraged to wear a mask when riding in a COAST vehicle.
    • At times when close contact with passengers is unavoidable, COAST bus operators will be wearing masks, face shields, and gloves.
    • For everyone’s safety, COAST bus operators will be behind a clear protective barrier while passengers are boarding the vehicles.
    • When boarding the buses, there will be a supply of spray-on hand sanitizer that passengers are encouraged to use before moving to their seat.
    • COAST will no longer sell or accept 15-Ride Punch Tickets on their vehicles. If passengers have a 15-Ride Punch Ticket that was previously purchased, the bus operators will help passengers exchange their Punch Ticket for the equivalent amount of Single Ride Tickets, as a contactless fare payment alternative.
    • When moving to seats, passengers are asked to please respect the caution tape that will be used to help maintain social distance between passengers.
    • Passengers will be asked to please not approach the bus operator while the bus is in motion, or when the clear protective barrier is open.
    • New ‘Stand Behind’ lines will be positioned further back in the cabin of the buses, away from the bus operators.
    • There will be new guidelines for getting on and off the buses in a way that promotes safety and social distancing.

    More information about these guidelines will be made available closer to May 11.

    COAST Executive Director, Rad Nichols, commented, “We look forward to resuming service and helping passengers get to where they need to be, whether that is an essential job, to access groceries, go to the pharmacy or go to a doctor’s appointment.” Nichols added, ”To all the employers, co-workers, family members, and friends helping our passengers get to and from work and other critical services during the past few weeks – we say thank you. During our service suspension you all have been amazing.”

    In recognition of the resumption of service mid-month, COAST monthly passes will be deeply discounted in May. COAST monthly passes will be sold for $30 vs. $52 and COAST Clipper monthly passes will besold for $155 vs. $255. Partial refunds will be issued to any passengers who have already purchased full price monthly passes for the month of May.

    For additional updates on COAST operations resuming on May 11, please follow COAST on Facebook and Twitter (@COASTbus), download the DoubleMap App, or visit

    The Cooperative Alliance for Seacoast Transportation (COAST) has provided public transit service to the Seacoast New Hampshire region since 1982. COAST is a non-profit agency, operating a regional public transit system that relies primarily on federal and local government support to operate. COAST is governed by a board of directors representing the communities served, two regional planning commissions, and many local and state agencies. COAST’s vision is to be an innovative leader in providing a broad range of public transportation services, connecting and coordinating a robust network of transportation options for everyone.

  • 05/04/2020 4:59 PM | Bonnie McNair (Administrator)

    WASHINGTON— U.S. Small Business Administration Administrator Jovita Carranza and U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven T. Mnuchin today issued the following statement on the success of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP):

    “The Paycheck Protection Program is providing critical support to millions of small businesses and tens of millions of hardworking Americans.

    “Since Round 2 of PPP loan processing began on April 27, 2.2 million loans have been made to small businesses which surpasses the number of all loans made in PPP Round 1.  The total value of these 2.2 million loans is over $175 billion.  Notably, the average loan size in Round 2 is $79,000, yet another indicator that the program is broadly based and assisting the smallest of small businesses. 

    “Nearly 500,000 of the loans were made by lenders with less than $1 billion in assets and non-banks.  These lenders include Community Development Financial Institutions, Certified Development Companies, Microlenders, Farm Credit lending institutions, and FinTechs.  Over 850,000 loans—about one third of the 2.2 million loans—were made by lenders with $10 billion of assets or less.  

    “Since the launch of PPP on April 3, SBA has processed over 3.8 million loans for more than half a trillion dollars of economic support in less than one month. 

    “SBA systems are processing loans so lenders can disburse funds quickly.  We encourage all eligible lenders to participate and all eligible borrowers that need this assistance to work with an approved lender to apply.

    “We are fully committed to ensuring that American workers and small businesses continue to get the resources they need to get through this challenging time.”

    In Maine, the Paycheck Protection Program has supported 9,026 loans, totaling $317.2 million, for an average loan size of $35,145. These funds have been critical in supporting the payrolls of Maine’s small businesses during this time.

    Click here to view the data


    About the U.S. Small Business Administration

    The U.S. Small Business Administration helps power the American dream of business ownership. As the only go-to resource and voice for small businesses backed by the strength of the federal government, the SBA empowers entrepreneurs and small business owners with the resources and support they need to start, grow or expand their businesses, or recover from a declared disaster. It delivers services through an extensive network of SBA field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations. To learn more, visit





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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