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Maine's tourism industry calls on state to spend $800M to help businesses recover from pandemic

(WABI)
Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 1:21 PM EDT
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Members of Maine’s hospitality industry are calling on the state to spend $800 million in CARES Act funding to help businesses recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

Several hospitality groups, including Hospitality Maine, released details of their hospitality, tourism and retail recovery plan Friday morning.

The plan calls for $710 million in emergency action grants to be offered to businesses. Those grants would allow businesses to pay for fixed costs like rent, mortgage payments and utilities.

Tourism industry leaders want $400 million to go to businesses with 50 current full-time employees or less. Grants would be capped at $50,000.

They want $300 million in grant money available for hospitality, retail and tourism businesses that have more than 50 full-time but average fewer than 500 full-time employees a year. Grants would be capped at $500,000.

The remaining $10 million would go to nonprofit organizations that service the tourism industry like chambers of commerce or trade organizations.

“Due to the devastation the state’s restrictions are causing, this emergency funding is crucial for business survival,” Hospitality Maine CEO Steve Hewins said. "Maine's hospitality industry is stepping up and acting quickly to help our inns and restaurants in this emergency so they can thrive in the future."

The plan also calls for $15 million to go to the Maine Office of Tourism and $50 million for employee relief.

Employees would be able to use the money to cover expenses like child care, rent and health care costs.

Tourism industry officials also want $10 million to reinvest into hospitality, retail and tourism-related business start-ups and workforce training costs.

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