Growing up in Maine, you learn to be prepared, resourceful, and ready for anything.

When COVID hit, however, no one was prepared for what might happen to our economy, especially restaurant owners. We were suddenly closed, no way to generate revenue, and no clear timetable to reopen.

Sen. Susan Collins wrote the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). Within weeks, this new program pumped more than $2 billion into Maine’s economy, just when we needed it most.

As the owner and founder of Shipyard Brewing Co., I am grateful that Collins led this bipartisan solution. It literally saved our business, thousands of jobs, and relieved much anxiety and financial pressure. The PPP was just what we needed at just the right time. It also kept roughly 200,000 Mainers out of the slow-moving state unemployment system.

More recently, the restaurant industry needed some additional flexibility in this forgivable loan program, and Sens. Collins and Angus King worked together to get it done.

I am disappointed with Gov. Janet Mills’ current stance on the 14-day quarantine, however, and on keeping southern Maine counties closed with restrictive operational policies and practices. Legislators have been asking House Speaker Sara Gideon to reopen the Legislature so the people of Maine can voice their opinions regarding this shutdown. Gideon, however, has not taken the initiative to listen or act.

Although we are not out of the woods yet, Collins and King should be commended for their committed leadership, for without it, we wouldn’t have a fighting chance.  


Fred Forsley

owner, Shipyard Brewing Company


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