Phase 1: Effective May 20, certain sectors of the state's economy can reopen following specific health and safety protocols. Those sectors include hair salons and barbershops; museums and zoos (outdoor only); offices; restaurants (outdoor only); and retail stores. To read the guidelines for each sector, click here.
Latest Guidance Currently in Effect
Suspension of nonessential in-person business operations: Effective March 23, 2020, pursuant to Executive Order No. 7H, all nonessential businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut are required to prohibit in-person functions. The governor is encouraging 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. For detailed guidance on this order, click here. Pursuant to Executive Order No. 7X, this will remain in effect until at least May 20, 2020.
Essential Safe Stores Mandatory Statewide Rules: Effective April 3, 2020, every essential retail establishment in the state is required to take additional protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Executive Order No. 7S requires the commissioner of DECD to issue mandatory statewide rules prescribing such additional protective measures. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state and supersede and preempt any current or contemplated municipal order. DECD published the Essential Safe Stores Rules on its website, outlining guidance for retail establishments. (En Español -Reglas Para Tiendas Segura / Po Polsku - Nowe zasady bezpieczeństwa w sklepach)
Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers: Effective April 7, 2020, every essential workplace in the state is required to take additional protective measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. Executive Order No. 7V requires the commissioner of DECD to issue mandatory statewide rules prescribing such additional measures. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state and supersede and preempt any current or contemplated municipal order. DECD published the Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers on its website, outlining guidance for essential workplaces.
Response and Recovery
The State of Connecticut is continuing to take major steps to protect our businesses and residents during the coronavirus crisis. Here are some updates:
- Grants available to Connecticut manufacturers producing needed COVID-19 supplies: Connecticut manufacturers can now apply for grants of up to $75,000 to assist in the production of critical equipment and supplies needed to respond to the COVID-19 emergency. The grants, offered through the state’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program, can be used for working capital, new equipment, and other purposes that help companies build capacity or repurpose their operations. Applications for the funding will be reviewed and approved by the Department of Economic and Community Development, in partnership with the Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology, based on the state’s current needs for medical equipment and supplies related to the pandemic. Funding for this short-term program is limited to $1.3 million and requires a one-to-one match from participating businesses. Learn more about the program and the application process by visiting https://ctmvp.ccat.us.
- 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.
- 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 April 9, 2020, Governor Lamont, joined by representatives from the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Insurance Department, the Department of Banking, and the Small Business Administration, held a conference call with small business owners from across Connecticut to discuss the latest updates on COVID-19 relief for businesses. This is the full audio of that call.
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.