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  • Erin Bruns

Second Round PPP!

We got lucky, very lucky and qualified for the 2nd round of PPP loans/grants. I was at my wits end, hadn’t paid myself for months, was thinking about starting a GoFundMe, selling my car, anything to be able to keep operating and paying my staff. The day I found out was a tough one, they all are, but thanks to Bath Savings and their quick service we had the funds to continue to serve our community.

I cried on the phone with our sweet loan officer. I couldn’t help myself. Then I cried when I told the staff that we were all going to have a weeks paid vacation. Most business owners would not have chosen that path, but we all work together five days a week, we all face the same struggles and we all needed a break during the coldest week of the winter. Getting through this pandemic as a business owner isn’t about profits it is about people. I want my staff to be safe, I want my customers to be well treated and happy and I just want to come out on the other side of this Pandemic knowing that I did nothing to contribute to the spread of Covid-19.


It has been one year since this epidemic arrived. I find myself constantly thinking about what could have been. If we had as a Country or even a State decided to take seriously what a Pandemic means. We closed our doors on March 13th and did not re-open until May 13th when we finally had enough information to re-open as safely as possible. Bruce had been in the same building as the first Maine Covid-19 case on March 11th. Luckily he did not contract it. We had no idea about transmission then, there was no coherent science about how to be safe. Since then I have been astounded by people’s reactions and behavior, how does a virus become a politically charged issue?

I already had a little historical context I had read Lois Lowry’s book “Like The Willow Tree: The Diary of Lydia Amelia Pierce” to our daughter Lily years ago. It is a fictionalized diary of a young girl in 1918 Portland who loses both parents to the Spanish Flu and is sent to live with the Shakers in New Gloucester. After I read that my old Medical Anthropology (almost) degree senses started tingling. I knew that my dear Nana, Celia Goff, had the Spanish Flu in 1918, as a child living in Portland. Obviously she survived or you would not be reading this. I have always wondered what it did to our family’s epigenetic’s. This curiosity led me to the book “Pale Rider” by Laura Spinney, an examination of the 1918 Flu Pandemic that is extraordinarily succinct and follows so many geographical threads of how the Flu was dealt with by the public and the Press.

None of this prepared me for how the Internet and humanity at large would behave during this time. The Spanish Flu killed 675,000 Americans over two years, we are currently at 500,00 and are only one year into this Pandemic. Our forebears had to arrest or fine non-maskers. Radiators were reconfigured to keep the Flu from passing from apartment to apartment and even hospitals kept their windows open in the Winter. Now instead of innovation we are still seeing Superspreader events all over the Nation, people protesting masks and even first responders refusing vaccinations.


Thank to PPP we are still here, wearing our masks, washing our hands and serving our community as safely as possible. The vaccines are also here! There is a light at the end of the tunnel. We can make it through this if we as a community decide to do so. Please stay safe, support local small businesses and one day soon we will all be able to see each other smile again.


Bruce’s Burritos is open Mon-Fri 11:30-7. Make parking lot reservations for curbside ordering at brucesburritos.Setmore.com. You book a reservation and when you arrive in one of our designated spots we will call you, take your order, credit card info and then deliver the food to your car quickly. This will continue to be our system until everyone on staff is able to get vaccinated.

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