This article was updated on June 25, 2020.
What Is Connecticut Doing To Help Businesses?
To support businesses during the COVID-19 time, Connecticut has created the following resources.
DECD COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit
Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) put together a response unit to help businesses survive the COVID-19 outbreak. To seek their support, call 860-500-2333.
Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program
Governor Lamont also developed the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program, which supplies much-needed economic relief to small businesses and nonprofits.
However, due to a surge in interest, the program stopped accepting applications in late March.
Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program
Connecticut’s Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program gives grants to local manufacturing companies of up to $75,000. This program has $1.3 million of funding to distribute to any manufacturing companies that can produce COVID-19 equipment and supplies.
Visit their website to learn more about eligibility requirements and the application process.
What Types of Programs Are Being Offered By The Federal Government?
In addition to Connecticut-specific support, local businesses can utilize resources from the federal government’s Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. Approved on March 27th, this act funnels $1.8 trillion into many needed relief programs. The second round of funding came in the form of a $484 billion relief package—which sought to refuel the original act.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
The Small Business Association’s Paycheck Protection Program aims to help business owners keep their employees on the payroll. It does so by offering a forgivable loan of up to $10 million to small businesses that successfully pay their employees for at least eight weeks. However, for the loan to be forgiven, it must be used for:
- Payroll expenses (60% of the loan must go towards this expense)
- Mortgage interest
If the loan is not forgiven, due to a failure in following these guidelines, it will have a 1% interest rate.
Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
The next program available to Connecticut businesses is the Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This program gives loans to small businesses struggling to pay their operating expenses due to a disaster, such as the COVID-19 outbreak.
Here are some details about EIDL loans:
- They provide businesses with up to $2 million to cover operating expenses.
- They’re available to businesses with 500 employees or less, with some exceptions.
- They have an interest rate of 3.75%.
- Their payments are deferrable for the first year.
If your business needs money right away, you can also request an advance on your EIDL loan. This advance can range up to $10,000. Connecticut businesses should use this money towards:
- Sick leave pay
- Supply chain costs
- Rent and mortgage
- Debt payments
SBA Guaranteed Loan Payment Relief
If your business is struggling to pay its loans, you can apply for Guaranteed Loan Payment Relief from the SBA. If accepted, the SBA will take the burden of the payments off your hands. The following types of loans are eligible:
- 7(a) loans
- 504 loans
This loan relief can last up to 6 months.
SBA Express Bridge Loans
If your small business already uses an SBA Express Lender, it can qualify for the Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program. This program offers money to small businesses right away while they wait for their other loans to arrive. Express Bridge Loans can be up to $25,000. However, they must be repaid at an interest rate of 6.5%.
COVID-19 in Connecticut
As COVID-19 spreads throughout the United States, many business owners fear for the future. Connecticut businesses have suffered economically due to temporary shutdowns, leading them to seek support from the local and federal governments.
Fortunately, the state of Connecticut has developed a multitude of resources for local businesses. In conjunction with the federal government’s business loans, Connecticut businesses can secure their finances while the pandemic runs its course.
How Has COVID-19 Affected Connecticut?
Current COVID-19 case numbers can be found through Google’s tracking tool. Connecticut’s most densely-populated cities have been hit the hardest by the outbreak, since social distancing is less feasible in these areas. Here are the counties with the highest COVID-19 cases:
- New Haven
Governor Ned Lamont’s Response
Governor Lamont implemented a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” executive order on March 23rd that increased social distancing and closed all non-essential businesses through May 20th. The following activities were also banned through June 20th:
- Recreational gatherings of more than 5 people
- Religious congregations of more than 50 people
- School classes
Furthermore, on April 20th, Governor Lamont implemented a new executive order requiring all residents to wear face masks in public if they’re unable to keep 6 feet away from others, like in grocery stores and pharmacies.
Businesses that remain open must adhere to strict guidelines, including social distancing, proper sanitation, and wearing face coverings while on the job.
Reopening Businesses in Connecticut
Governor Lamont has expressed interest in getting Connecticut residents back to work safely. As a result, Connecticut and surrounding states have formed the Northeastern Regional Task Force. This task force is currently developing a regional strategy to reopen the economy in stages, implementing social distancing measures each step of the way.
On May 20th, Connecticut began to reopen outdoor businesses, as well as retail stores at 50% capacity.On June 17, Phase Two began, reopening the following businesses at reduced capacity:
- Indoor dining
- Movie theaters
- Personal services businesses
- Gyms and fitness studios
Now, gatherings of up to 25 are permitted indoors, and gatherings of up to 100 are permitted outdoors.
As the state reopens, the Governor’s office has launched industry-specific guides for small businesses to self-certify as safe for reopening.
In general, businesses must:
- Institute employee training for COVID safety protocols
- Operate at limited capacity to maintain social distancing
- Post clear signs throughout the business reflecting new policies
- Require both employees and customers to wear masks
- Install touchless appliances
- Provide hand sanitizer
- Clean and disinfect surfaces, bathrooms, and products
The state will continue to open businesses in line with declining case numbers throughout the summer.
Additionally, be sure to check with local ordinances regarding reopening your business. Some counties are opening slower or quicker than state and federal guidelines.
Nextdoor: Bringing Locals and Businesses Together
As you apply for these loans, find ways to boost your business presence in your local neighborhood. You can jumpstart this process by creating a Nextdoor Business Page. This helps your business get discovered by locals in your area so you can stay connected to and grow your customer base.
By tailoring your business offerings for COVID-19, either by running a promotion or adding in some complimentary essential items like hand sanitizer to your deliveries, you can show your local community how much you value their patronage.
Businesses throughout Connecticut and the entire country need support to make it through this pandemic. With multiple programs offered at the state and federal level, if you’re a business owner, you have options at your disposal. Stay informed, get creative, focus on your community, and you’ll be able to survive this era.
Connecticut’s Official State Website. Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). https://portal.ct.gov/Coronavirus
The Office of Governor Ned Lamont. Governor Lamont Signs Executive Order Asking Connecticut Businesses and Residents: ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’. https://portal.ct.gov/Office-of-the-Governor/News/Press-Releases/2020/03-2020/Governor-Lamont-Signs-Executive-Order-Asking-Connecticut-Businesses-and-Residents-Stay-Safe
STATE OF CONNECTICUT. EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 7BB. https://portal.ct.gov/-/media/Office-of-the-Governor/Executive-Orders/Lamont-Executive-Orders/Executive-Order-No-7BB.pdf?la=en
Connecticut’s Official State Website. Safe Workplace Rules for Essential Employers. https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Safe-Workplace-Rules-for-Essential-Employers
Patch. CT Coronavirus: 7 States Form Regional Council To Reopen Economy. https://patch.com/connecticut/across-ct/ct-coronavirus-7-states-form-regional-council-reopen-economy
Patch. CT Coronavirus: Leaders Share Reopening Plan, What Is Needed. https://patch.com/connecticut/across-ct/ct-coronavirus-leaders-share-reopening-plan-what-needed
Connecticut’s Official State Website. Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development. https://portal.ct.gov/DECD
Connecticut’s Official State Website. Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program. https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/CT-Recovery-Bridge-Loan-Program
Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology. Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program (MVP). https://ctmvp.ccat.us
U.S. Senate Committee on Small Business & Entrepreneurship. The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act. https://www.sbc.senate.gov/public/_cache/files/2/9/29fc1ae7-879a-4de0-97d5-ab0a0cb558c8/1BC9E5AB74965E686FC6EBC019EC358F.the-small-business-owner-s-guide-to-the-cares-act-final-.pdf
If you are a local business, claim your free Business Page to get started on Nextdoor. Resources on how to use Nextdoor to stay connected with your local customers during coronavirus, pertinent news affecting businesses, and more, are available in our Small Business Guide for Coronavirus Relief.