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#PayItForwardMaine Campaign

Apr 24, 2020
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Small businesses make up 99% of the business community in Maine. The #PayItForwardMaine effort, launched by the Portland Chamber of Commerce and community partners, asks individuals, businesses and organizations to continue supporting local businesses and their employees in our new world of closed storefronts and physical distancing. Your favorite local businesses have been there for you through thick and thin. Now it’s time for all of us to come together and return their service and support.

#PayItForwardMaine is encouraging everyone to consider ways to show their support. That can include spending your time and effort or using the hashtag to share posts, photos, and actions.

Suggested ways to contribute:

  • Buy a gift card, gift certificate, class pass, etc.
  • Utilize take-out and curbside to-go services (Always call first and consider tipping more than usual!)
  • Purchase merchandise from the business’s website
  • See if your service providers offer virtual options
  • If you can’t afford to show monetary support, share the website or social media account of your favorite business or organization and encourage others to support them.
  • Offer up to help in any way you can…
    • Help deliver products to those in need
    • Volunteer your time to help feed the hungry
    • Put together packets for school children
    • Provide child-care for those still working (especially those in health care and medical fields) and in need of a helping hand
    • Post a video of teaching others about a favorite skill or technique

Maine people count on small businesses every day, not just for goods and services, but for the contributions they make to our economy and our communities,” said Dana Connors, President and CEO of the Maine State Chamber of Commerce. “Our local businesses and their employees and families need our support now more than ever. Think of the impact if we all take action to #PayItForwardMaine.”

Learn more at


Community Health Options (Health Options) gathered for its 2020 Annual Member Meeting via webinar on November 19. Typically an in-person gathering, this year’s virtual meeting was made notable with Health Options’ having the honor of hosting Maine Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) Director, Dr. Nirav Shah, as guest speaker.

Health Options’ CEO and President Kevin Lewis provided a review of newly elected board members, 2020 achievements and financial results, and welcomed Dr. Shah, who shared his perspective on leading Maine’s statewide response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, from early public health actions to small town outbreaks and the current resurgence.

Dr. Shah has gained local and national notoriety for his no-nonsense approach to educating Maine people about the risks and necessary precautions of living with COVID-19. In an interview with Scientific American, he said sharing hard facts and asking for simple calls to action, such as mask-wearing, helped keep infection rates low.

“In public health, our first and most important job is to get the people behind us,” said Dr. Shah.

Dr. Shah gave advice for planning safe holiday gatherings:

  • It’s best to postpone big holiday gatherings this year, or gather for socially-distanced outdoor activities, if you are able.
  • If you have college children or family members traveling from other parts of the country, a recommended timeline for testing is 72 hours before travel, followed by 14 days of quarantine.
  • Don’t overthink face masks: the best face mask has multiple layers, is washable, fits snugly and is designed to cover the nose and mouth.
  • With effective vaccines on the near horizon, we can look forward to more holiday gatherings in 2021, but must bear in mind that national vaccine distribution will be a massive effort and will take many months to reach the general population.

“It’s a critical time to be part of the healthcare community. From local pharmacies, to state and national healthcare policy makers, we are all in this together,” said Lewis. “Dr. Shah reminded us that each of our actions count when it comes to keeping our communities as safe and healthy as possible through the holidays and beyond. As a community-oriented non-profit healthcare insurance provider, working together is something we take seriously every day, especially now.”