Governor Opens COVID Testing, Grants Money to Schools, Businesses
The governor's administration has announced more widespread testing for COVID-19, and grant money being distributed to schools and businesses.
Governor Janet Mills says COVID-19 testing is now open to anyone who feels they have been exposed, regardless of whether they have a separate order from a healthcare provider. This will allow testing for people who don't have a primary care provider or who are unable to communicate with their doctor, as well as people who are visiting Maine or are just returning to the state.
"Increased access to testing is a critical part of the strategy to mitigate the spread of this deadly virus, to return kids to school safely, and to ensure that our economy stays up and running," Mills said in a media release. "This expanded order is another step forward in our ongoing battle against COVID-19 as Maine continues to be a national leader in testing capacity."
Department of Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeanne Lambrew adds that, while this is a big step forward, it does not replace basic safety guidelines. Mainers should continue to wear face coverings, avoid public gatherings, and socially distance to slow the spread of the virus.
On Wednesday, Governor Mills announced an additional $164 million of CARES ACT Coronavirus Relief Funds that will be distributed to Maine schools, to support their efforts in keeping students safe.
Pender Makin, Commissioner of Education said in a media release, "These funds are critically important to address the immediate need for increased staffing, supplies, and technology to ensure that schools can safely and flexibly meet the educational, social-emotional and nutritional needs of their students during these unprecedented times."
BUSINESS and NONPROFIT GRANTS
Starting on Wednesday, the Mills' administration is launching a second phase of the Maine Economic Recovery Grant Program for businesses. $95 million will be distributed to businesses and nonprofits, to help sustain them, as the pandemic continues. New this time around, up to $5 million of that money will be reserved for businesses that are less than a year old. Larger businesses and nonprofits,(employing up to 250 people) license childcare and behavioral health organizations, which were excluded previously, are eligible for this round of grants. Find more information about applying for a grant on the Maine Department of Economic & Community Development website.