A man rides a moped past a hotel sign in downtown Bar Harbor on June 17. Credit: Bill Trotter / BDN

When one of her employees with no symptoms tested positive for COVID-19 last week, Jean Ginn Marvin got her staff at The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport tested the next morning.

Marvin, who owns the inn, credited that instinct to act fast to a certificate course on coronavirus readiness offered online by the industry group HospitalityMaine and co-developed by the Maine Community College System and The Opportunity Alliance. That program, which started in May, trains owners and workers on safety precautions, how to develop a response plan if workers test positive and how to handle stressful situations.

So far, more than 2,700 business owners and employees have taken the HospitalityMaine programs focused on lodging, restaurants and health care aimed at reopening businesses during the pandemic. Those who pass online courses and a test get a sticker to display at their business to help assure visitors they are trained to operate safely.

“Everyone at The Nonantum knew exactly what was going to happen because we had a protocol in place,” Marvin, who took the online course for lodging readiness, said Thursday during a subcommittee meeting of the governor’s economic recovery panel. “If we hadn’t had a plan in place, it could have just been a complete mess.”

The test result turned out to be a false positive upon further testing, she said. None of the other employees tested positive. Marvin called the certificate program a “huge insurance policy” for her business.

The certificate program is paid for by Maine Quality Centers workforce training grants run by the Maine Community College System.

Dan Belyea, chief workforce development officer at the college system, said the programs are already gaining attention outside of Maine, with New Hampshire’s community college system adopting elements of it.

He said programs for the Ski Maine Association and Goodwill of Northern New England will be launched in the next 30 to 45 days.

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