The federal bureau that approves labeling for every bottle or can of beer, cider, wine, spirit or other alcoholic beverage produced and sold in the United States is included in the shutdown. As long as it’s closed, it cannot approve any new labels for alcohol products. It cannot give the greenlight for new breweries to open, either. Breweries may have to hold off on launching new brews.
Bay Ferries needs to negotiate with U.S. Customs and Border Protection to determine the share of the agency’s costs it will cover at its new Bar Harbor terminal, where it plans to operate its Maine-to-Nova Scotia service. But with the federal government shut down, those negotiations cannot happen. The CAT ferry operator can’t finalize arrangements to move to Bar Harbor.
Most are unaffected by the shutdown and others look safe at least through January’s end. A spokesman for Gov. Janet Mills’ budget department said the state can operate through January without any impact on the state’s workforce, but things are more uncertain if the shutdown lasts into February. Other federal funding streams, such as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, have stopped, but that hasn’t yet translated into suspended benefits for low-income families. With 2,700 workers’ salaries federally funded, Maine state government can operate through January.
Meanwhile, businesses are offering federal workers relief. Businesses, including cafes, a natural gas utility and banks, have stepped up in different ways to offer federal workers some relief while they miss out on their paychecks. Summit Natural Gas of Maine, for example, will waive late fees. A handful of restaurants
are offering federal workers free meals. Some financial institutions are offering no- or low-interest loans and also waiving fees and penalties.
A Hancock seafood business can’t reopen as it awaits its Food and Drug Administration license . The five employees at Sullivan Harbor Farm have been trained to meet federal standards for handling seafoods, and the business has been through a series of FDA inspections. According to owner Leslie Harlow, the last permit the business needs to reopen is sitting on an FDA inspector’s desk, waiting to be mailed out. Meanwhile, her five freshly trained employees are idled and looking into other work options.
A farm that moved from Monmouth to Thomaston intended to use a government bridge loan . But the shutdown of the federal Farm Service Agency — which has reopened in a limited capacity — meant that the co-owners of Grace Pond Farm couldn’t complete the sale. The Farm Service Agency was the mortgage holder in this case, and the farm’s co-owners intended to rely on the agency for a bridge loan to pay for infrastructure on the new farm. Unable to complete the transaction or obtain the bridge loan, the farmers are holding onto two properties — and paying the requisite expenses — and they had to obtain a private bridge loan at an interest rate 5 percentage points higher.
Portland Pie Co.’s new location in Lewiston is on hold . The developers working on the new pizza restaurant’s location have applied for a Historic Preservation Tax Credit, and made all the required arrangements, but the National Park Service needs to sign off on the second phase of the application, according to the Lewiston Sun Journal. The tax credit accounts for a third of the cost of developing the old fire substation into the pizza restaurant.
Meanwhile, businesses are offering federal workers relief . Businesses, including restaurants, entertainment venues, a natural gas utility, banks, credit unions and more have stepped up in different ways to offer federal workers some relief while they miss out on their paychecks. Some restaurants are offering federal workers free or discounted meals, entertainment venues are offering discounted tickets, and some financial institutions are offering no- or low-interest loans and also waiving fees and penalties.