Suspension of non-essential in-person business operations: Governor Lamont has signed an executive order directing all non-essential businesses and not-for-profit entities in Connecticut to prohibit all in-person functions effective Monday, March 23, 2020 at 8:00 p.m.
The governor is encouraging all businesses to employ, to the maximum extent possible, any telecommuting or work-from-home procedures that they can safely implement. The order excludes any essential business or entity providing essential services or functions, such as healthcare, food service, law enforcement, and similar critical services.
Businesses and nonprofits seeking direction related to the order are urged to read the guidance provided by DECD.
The State of Connecticut is continuing to take major steps to protect our businesses and residents during the coronavirus crisis. Here are some updates:
- The Paycheck Protection Program prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. Small businesses and eligible nonprofit organizations, Veterans organizations, and Tribal businesses described in the Small Business Act, as well as individuals who are self-employed or are independent contractors, are eligible if they also meet program size standards. For more information and to apply, click here.
- DECD's COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit: The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has created a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit dedicated to assisting businesses navigate resources and develop new resources. A dedicated phone line is available at 860-500-2333 to provide assistance to Connecticut's small businesses for this purpose.
- Small business owner's guide to the CARES Act: On March 27, 2020, the United States Congress approved the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to provide the country with relief from the impact of COVID-19. For a guide about how the act will impact small businesses, click here.
- Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program: To provide emergency cash flow relief to Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lamont created the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program. Administered by DECD, the program is for businesses and nonprofits that have fewer than 100 employees. Qualifying organizations can apply for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 or three months of operating expenses (whichever is lesser). This $50 million short-term emergency loan program will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. As of March 27, 2020, the initial round of funding for this program is closed for applications to ensure that those that have been received so far can be processed efficiently and money distributed as quickly as possible. For those that have already submitted an application, additional documentation can be sent within seven days of submittal.
- SBA assistance: On March 16, the U.S. Small Business Administration approved Governor Lamont's request to begin offering disaster-relief loans to Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits. Companies in the state can now apply for loans of up to $2 million through a special page on the SBA website. SBA also has more valuable information for businesses.
- Tax filing extensions: The Department of Revenue Services has extended deadlines for filing and payments associated with certain state business tax returns. Details are on DRS’s website.
- Unemployment assistance: Workers directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic no longer must be actively searching for work to qualify for unemployment assistance. And employers who are furloughing workers can use the Department of Labor’s shared work program, which allows businesses to reduce working hours and have those wages supplemented with unemployment insurance. DOL has more information about these and other changes.
- Business Interruption Insurance: A business interruption insurance policy should list or describe the types of events it covers. Events that are not described in the policy are typically not covered. It is important to review the policy exclusions, coverage limits, and applicable deductibles with your agent, broker or insurer. The Connecticut Insurance Department has an FAQ that provides more information.
- Reimbursement of medical leave costs for small and medium-sized businesses: The Connecticut Department of Insurance reminds small and medium-sized employers of recent guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on COVID-19 - related medical leave.
On March 19, 2020, Governor Ned Lamont and DECD Commissioner David Lehman held a conference call with small business owners from across Connecticut to discuss efforts to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our state's businesses. This is the full audio of that call.
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