Coronavirus

Iconic Maine businesses couldn’t survive the pandemic shutdown and restrictions

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A number of iconic Maine businesses have closed this year due to the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and Gov. Janet Mills’ response to it. 

Businesses all over the state have permanently closed their doors, unable to survive after the governor ordered their closure earlier this year and issued new mandates that affect their normal operations. 

Portland restaurants, unable to bring in enough revenue to maintain their employees and services, had no choice but to dissolve their businesses after years of serving the community. Restaurants already have a high rate of failure within the first year of business due to narrow profit margins and large overhead.   

Popular Portland restaurants closed their doors this year after realizing how difficult it would be to survive in the current economic environment. 

Five Fifty-Five in Portland, an early victim of the pandemic, closed in mid March after 17 years of business. 

To the 555 friends and family, Steve and I are sorry to say we have made the difficult decision to suspend service and…

Posted by Five Fifty-Five on Monday, March 16, 2020

The Drifter’s Wife, a recipient of several awards (including being named on Bon Appetit’s list of America’s Best New Restaurants in 2018), closed their doors for good in July after struggling for months to stay afloat with just take-out and curbside delivery. Owners Peter and Orenda Hale told their patrons on social media, “After 5 years in business, as of last fall, we were finally debt free. Now, just months into the Covid pandemic, that is no longer the case. We need to adapt to what is happening in the world right now.”

A Maine staple, Pat’s Pizza of Augusta, “shut their ovens off” in July after 30 years of business, saying goodbye to hundreds of loyal customers.

As many of you have already heard, Pat’s Pizza of Augusta will be turning off its oven for the last time at the end of…

Posted by Pats Pizza-Augusta on Thursday, July 23, 2020

Restaurants are not the only businesses to fall victim to the governors regulations. Because of restrictions on large gatherings, movie theaters and music halls have been greatly impacted. 

Smitty’s Cinema in Biddeford closed in May, unable to anticipate making it through the pandemic with the circumstances that COVID-19 presented. Smitty’s posted on their Facebook page in May to inform their customers that they will not be reopening due to financial troubles as a result of the pandemic shutdown. 

Hello everyone, The Covid 19 crisis that has hit our country has been difficult in many ways. In addition to the…

Posted by Smitty’s Cinema, Biddeford on Monday, May 4, 2020

Port City Music Hall, a beloved venue for concert goers and music enthusiasts, announced in July that they were unable to survive and would close down after eight years of business. General manager of the venue, Lauren Wayne, said the company had to lay off close to 150 employees. Wayne expressed her concerns to the Portland Press Herald, saying, “Sadly, if there isn’t some industry-targeted relief soon we will not be the last venue to close its doors in Maine.” 

Since the start of the pandemic, Maine Policy Institute has been tracking business closures across the state. An unofficial list of permanent business closures caused by pandemic can be found here.

Do you know about a permanent business closure that is not included on the list? Contact us to let us know.

About Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker serves as an intern at Maine Policy Institute. She currently attends the University of Southern Maine and will graduate this spring with an undergraduate degree in communications.

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