Growing up in Maine, you learn to be prepared, resourceful and be ready for anything. When COVID-19 hit, however, no one was prepared for what might happen to the 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. Within weeks, this new program pumped more than $2 billion into Maine’s economy, just when it was needed most.

As the owner and founder of Shipyard Brewing Company, I am grateful that Collins led this bipartisan solution. It literally saved my business, thousands of jobs and relieved much anxiety and financial pressure. The PPP was just what was 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 that 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 Maine is 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, Portland

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