In Portland, our city’s pulse is our small-business community. In recent weeks, that pulse has slowed. Today, walking through the Old Port and beyond feels surreal, with shuttered shops and empty streets.
Nicole Wolf, a Portland photographer, has been documenting these empty storefronts and the faces behind them through a series called “Behind Closed Doors.” These images remind
us that behind every empty business is a family, a household budget and individuals impacted by the economic fallout of this crisis.
It can be easy to see these scenes around us and feel helpless. Fortunately, Mainers are working to support these businesses and their employees in this time of need. The website Pay It Forward Maine is helping Mainers buy gift certificates to impacted businesses. Service Industry Tips is helping Mainers provide direct relief to bartenders and servers in our community. And Portland Food Map has made a list of restaurants offering takeout and delivery.
Our state government is also stepping up. The Finance Authority of Maine is offering limited loans for businesses affected by COVID-19. FAME is also offering loans to businesses while they wait for more substantial assistance from the federal Small Business Administration.
Mainers are resilient, and we will make it through this crisis, but we will all need to support our local businesses to make sure that our community comes out of this situation even stronger than ever.