A portrait in resiliency – The Ellsworth American

17July 2020

We’ve heard a lot about the fragility of Maine’s economy. An Oxford Economics analysis mentions Maine as the state most likely to experience severe financial fallout from the pandemic due to its older demographics, high percentage of small businesses and reliance on tourism and retail operations. Coastal Maine in specific depends upon tourist and the boost it gives to year-round and seasonal companies alike.

Indeed, Maine companies, especially accommodations, restaurants and independent retail, have actually been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic and associated closures and restrictions. Many had to lay off workers and some are discovering it challenging to bring them back now that things are picking up a bit. Improved unemployment benefits, child-care problems and health issues are among the elements keeping some Mainers from instantly rejoining the labor force.

For the week ending June 27, the Maine Department of Labor fielded about 3,000 brand-new claims for state joblessness insurance coverage, and an extra 2,200 preliminary claims for federal Pandemic Unemployment Help (PUA). That is on top of the roughly 62,300 weekly accreditations, or continued claims, filed that week for state unemployment and about 28,000 weekly certifications submitted under PUA. In between March 15 and June 27, the Maine DOL has gotten about 165,000 preliminary claims for the state unemployment program and 74,600 for the federal program. Some companies have actually closed; others are teetering at the edge.

Maine’s economy is vulnerable, but private businesses have actually exhibited incredible strength. By adjusting to present conditions and pivoting to serve consumers in brand-new methods, these companies have actually demonstrated their durability and capability to flex and not break. Some have altered their services and products while others have actually fine-tuned the delivery models. Some have rather actually taken their business to the streets, sculpting outdoor dining or retail space out of walkways and parking spaces. Clients have actually been introduced to and cheerfully assisted through new purchasing and payment platforms. Routine old windows became pick-up windows. Automobile car dealerships pick up your vehicle for service and sterilize it too.

These services are combating with everything they have to survive. As they come to grips with fulfilling new standards (and the costs related to them) while bringing in less money, another barrier occurs: irritable customers. Last month, the Retail Association of Maine, Portland Regional Chamber of Commerce and Maine Grocers and Food Producers Association released a statewide project advising consumers to follow security preventative measures and “practice generosity towards workers and each other.” The campaign’s name, “Let’s Be Kind,” sounds like something for an elementary school audience, but there are grownups that need to hearken the message. Selecting a fight with a store clerk about mask wearing is bullying, not standing up for your rights.

Small companies make our community strong and they have earned our regard. Let’s show it by adjusting with them.Source: ellsworthamerican.com

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