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FAIRFIELD, Maine — From a facility off Porter Hill Highway in Farmington, Don McIntire printed youngsters’s books, authorities contracts, flyers for native companies and a smattering of different paper merchandise for greater than three a long time.
Now the 72-year-old finds himself questioning how he’s going to eliminate a 55-gallon tank of used ink and repay a lease on a digital press after the printing enterprise he owned since 1987 went out of enterprise in mid-April.
McIntire, who lives in Fairfield and is the longtime proprietor of Heritage Printing, described the coronavirus outbreak because the “nail within the coffin” for his enterprise, which had managed to outlive a quickly altering business however not the sudden loss in income with out entry to a lifeline.
“Now I get up each morning apprehensive,” he mentioned, “and I don’t fear a lot.”
By the point the coronavirus disaster passes, he’s more likely to be considered one of many who shut their doorways. A national survey by Fundamental Road America discovered 30 % of small enterprise house owners thought they have been vulnerable to closing inside two months if enterprise disruptions continued on the present fee.
In Maine, front-facing companies within the retail and hospitality sectors have faced uncertainty after they have been ordered to shut in early April. Different companies like Heritage Printing have been hit by cratering demand for companies whereas attempting to entry swiftly assembled support packages which have been lifelines for a lot of companies, however might be exhausting to entry or contradictory.
Printing companies have been deemed important when Gov. Janet Mills, like governors throughout the nation, ordered most companies to close down in March. McIntire, whose purchasers have included hospitals, initially stayed open. With many consumers closed, nonetheless, he didn’t have a lot enterprise.
Whereas the printing business has been shaken by the expansion of the web and technological enhancements permitting extra firms to print in-house, his enterprise nonetheless noticed about $200,00zero in annual income over the previous few years, McIntire mentioned. The slowdown, coupled with the lack of a state authorities contract he had anticipated just a few weeks earlier, shortly turned his funds the other way up.
Initially, McIntire labored with the Maine Division of Labor to place his two staff on WorkShare, a state program permitting employees to gather some unemployment advantages when their hours have been decreased however they’re nonetheless working half time. He additionally started wanting into emergency reduction choices, such because the federal Paycheck Protection Program, which goals to supply small enterprise house owners with forgivable loans.
Almost 26,00zero Maine companies have already certified for a complete of $2.55 billion in loans by this system, in line with the workplace of Republican Sen. Susan Collins, who championed this system. However for McIntire, who had averted layoffs with assist from the WorkShare program, the small print introduced a conundrum.
A situation for mortgage forgiveness below the Paycheck Safety Program is that companies convey again staff to full-time equivalency inside eight weeks. The $2.2 trillion federal stimulus bill that created this system additionally expanded unemployment insurance coverage, together with funds for an extra $600 per week to any employee receiving state advantages.
Whereas McIntire was considering making use of for a federal mortgage in mid-April, his staff have been notified that they have been eligible for the extra money by unemployment, which might enable them to make way over they’d whereas working for him. Maine is the state the place the common employee on unemployment is making the most relative to their earlier wage, The New York Instances discovered.
If McIntire rehired his staff, each of whom had been with the enterprise for greater than a decade, they might come off of the workshare program and lose their unemployment advantages.
McIntire mentioned he additionally didn’t need to danger having to pay again a mortgage, notably at his age. “If the printing firm was operating, we might pay it again simply,” he mentioned. However he was undecided when that is likely to be.
So practically in a single day, he discovered himself shutting down the enterprise he had owned and operated since 1987.
Paul Mills, a Farmington lawyer and the governor’s brother, was amongst McIntire’s longtime prospects, utilizing his printing companies as lately as just a few weeks in the past. He additionally knew McIntire from work with the Rotary Membership of Farmington. He referred to as him an “inspiring civic chief” and mentioned it was unhappy to see the enterprise shut.
Shutting down his enterprise practically in a single day leaves McIntire in an odd limbo. He nonetheless has a $12,00zero lease on a digital press and ink that must be disposed of. Some gear might be bought, he thinks, however a lot of it is likely to be too previous to discover a purchaser. There are numerous federal and state support packages for companies which can be struggling, however fewer choices for these out of enterprise.
McIntire understands why Maine needed to all of a sudden shut down as a result of coronavirus. His spouse has a suppressed immune system, and he questions whether or not individuals will return to regular life as Maine slowly lifts restrictions on businesses when many are still concerned about the virus. As of Sunday, 57 people had died from the virus here whereas the state recorded 422 lively instances.
However he needs there was extra help out there to enterprise house owners like him. He was hopeful he would have the ability to obtain Pandemic Unemployment Help, a program launched Friday offering unemployment to individuals not historically eligible for unemployment, together with sole proprietors.
He has been pissed off by solutions that unemployed people pursue vocational coaching. He and his spouse — his highschool sweetheart from Lawrence Excessive in Fairfield — are each 72.
“Everybody says, ‘I’m going to help small enterprise,’” McIntire mentioned. “Nicely, they didn’t help this small enterprise.”
Watch: State labor commissioner speaks to unemployed Mainers
— to bangordailynews.com