The Chamber is working to keep our business community informed of the resources and tools available to them during the COVID-19 national emergency. In response to Governor Lamont’s executive order, the Chamber offices are closed at this time. All staff are available via email.
We would appreciate your feedback on how we can help you during this time. Click here to participate in our survey.
Please click the following links for information:
NEWEST INFO ADDED:
Important Information on Re-opening!
Self-Certify your Business to Re-open
Businesses must self-certify and commit to comply with the Sector Rules established to keep their employees and customers safe. Once complete, you will be provided with signage and a badge that you can voluntarily post at your place of business or website.
Sector Rules and Certification for May 20th Re-open
Use the link below to view and download rules and regulations on the following sectors:
- Hair Salons & Barbershops
- Museums and Zoos (Outdoor Only)
- Restaurants (Outdoor Only)
- Retail & Malls
CT Business Reopening and Recovery Center
This guide is your one-stop resource to help your business prepare, rebuild, and grow during the State’s emergency Coronavirus response. Information available includes Top Business Resources, Recent Developments, and Popular Links.
Governor Lamont Announces Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group to Hold Business Roundtable Thursday at 10am.
Struggling to get your workforce to return to the job?
If you have called back an employee who failed to return, follow the steps below.
On your company letterhead include:
- Employee name
- Employee Social Security number
- Scheduled return date
- Date they refused the job
- Company’s name address telephone number and their UI tax ID number
This can be faxed to the Department of Labor merit rating unit at 860-263-6723
This will result in the immediate stop the payment of unemployment benefits. Then both the employer and the employee will receive a packet of information from the Department of Labor regarding their rights to a hearing and to give a statement ( written) and a hearing will be set once the document is received.
DEMHS Region V Regional Coordination Center
Surgical Masks for Essential Small Businesses
Over the weekend, the State of Connecticut and the Connecticut Business & Industry Association (CBIA) announced a program where businesses listed by the state as essential and with less than 50 employees are eligible to receive surgical masks to help ensure the safety and continuity of their operations. You do not need to be a member of CBIA to place an order. If your business is eligible and in need please follow the link and fill out the form. Any masks that are ordered will be distributed to your local municipality/EMD office this Thursday afternoon. Delivery or pickup will then be determined by the municipality. We suggest you place your order immediately to ensure you are included in the program.
The link to the form is: https://www.ctcovidresponse.org/request-masks-for-ct-small-business
For more details to determine eligibility visit: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Business-Exemptions-for-Coronavirus
CAREER RESOURCES INC. IN PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NORTHWEST REGIONAL WORKFORCE INVESTMENT BOARD
MAY 7, 2020 10AM TO 2PM
Due to COVID-19, many have lost their jobs and there is a need for employment. We are confident it will be a beneficial first time experience for both employers and jobseekers.
Here is how to access our Virtual Career Fair
Click link below: (Register in advance for this meeting:
After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.)
For more information contact: Ismary Szegedi Job Developer at 203-574-6971
LABOR DEPARTMENT LAUNCHES NEW SYSTEM TODAY FOR
SELF-EMPLOYED TO APPLY FOR FEDERAL UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS
April 30, 2020
WETHERSFIELD– Today, the Connecticut Department of Labor began accepting claim applications for the self-employed, many who are eligible to collect unemployment insurance benefits under the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.
“Our agency is proud of the work it has accomplished in order to serve the self-employed – individuals who have not been eligible to apply for unemployment benefits in the past, but are now facing workplace situations never seen prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Labor Commissioner Kurt Westby. “The new online ReEmployCT system meets mandated integrity requirements while providing a federally-required two-step application process.”
Federal guidelines require that self-employed individuals, including independent contractors and “gig” workers, first apply through the Connecticut unemployment system located on www.filectui.com. Applicants must receive a determination notice in the mail from the Connecticut Department of Labor before they can apply on the newly-designed Pandemic Unemployment Assistance online system that will also be located at www.filect.com.
Self-employed individuals will follow this two-step application process:
Step 1). Beginning April 30:
· File a regular state claim application with the Connecticut Department of Labor at www.filectui.com, using the BLUE button to file.
· NOTE: Self-employed individuals who already filed a claim application through this system SHOULD NOT file again. The agency has these original claims and a duplicate is not needed.
· After completing and submitting your application, look for an email from CTDOL:
· “Thank you for submitting your online application for unemployment compensation benefits with the Connecticut Department of Labor. … Please look for a CONFIRMATION EMAIL notifying you that your claim has been processed. This email will include your NEXT STEPS information including instructions for when to start filing your weekly claims.
· Look for a second email from CTDOL:
“Your claim for benefits has been processed if this is a new claim then we are sending information regarding your claim via US mail.”
· Look for your eligibility determination (Form UC-58 Monetary Determination) that must be sent through the US mail service.
If the UC-58 Monetary Determination shows that you have a “zero” weekly benefit rate (which means you do not have wage earnings in the state system) you are not eligible for state benefits and are eligible to file in the ReEmployCT system for self-employed individuals.
· If the UC-58 Monetary Determination shows a weekly benefit rate, you have wage earnings in the state system and are entitled to collect state unemployment benefits.
Step 2). Once You Receive Your UC-58 in the Mail:
· Go to CTDOL www.filectui.comfor the link to PUA button.
· The PUA system will have a record of your state benefit ineligibility status.
Complete the PUA application
· Applicants will need 2019 IRS forms, 1099, 2019 W-2s, and Schedule C. Applicants will be asked to provide earnings for 2019, broken down by quarters. Those without tax records for 2019 can self-attest their earnings, but will be subject to audit.
· Applicants will be asked the date when COVID-19 impacted their employment. Federal guidelines allow this to go back to Feb. 2, 2020. If an unemployed status goes back to retroactive weeks, the system asks the claimant for weekly earnings through the current week filing.
· Once the PUA application is completed, if applicants did not select a payment method when filing under the state unemployment system, they will select their method of payment (direct deposit or debit card – the agency recommends direct deposit for much faster payment). Payment selection is made by returning to www.filectui.comand selecting the “method of payment” green button.
FAQs located on the agency’s homepage are being updated to include a section on the PUA application process, guidelines and additional details.
“With hard work and determination, our agency has been able to process many of the 430,000 state applications received in the past six weeks, and we continue to work on responding to customers with questions about their claim or the unemployment process,” Westby noted. “We recognize the important role unemployment benefits play in helping our residents weather the pandemic, and we are committed to providing the best service possible during this crisis.”
Connecticut Department of Labor
Eversource COVID-19 Update: Financial Resources for your Business
To our business customers:
During this challenging time, Eversource is committed to providing programs and resources to lessen the financial hardship on small businesses – the backbone of our communities.
If you need support, Eversource can help:
- We’re offering a special, extended payment arrangement for any past-due amount, with $0 down payment, 12 months to pay and the first payment not due until June 1, 2020.
- We can also connect you with state and federal assistance programs for which your business may be eligible. With new federal funding just announced, if you have not reviewed these programs, we encourage you to do so as soon as possible.
Visit Eversource.com for more information or contact us at 844-275-3301 for guidance specific to your business. In these uncertain times, we’re here when you need us.
Stephen Silver | Specialist
Community Relations & Economic Development | Eversource Energy
174 Franklin Street Torrington, CT 06790 | 860-496-5223 (office) | 203-446-7423 (cell)
* firstname.lastname@example.org ˖
CT Protective Measures in the Workplace – Masks
Following the announcement last Monday that made masks or cloth face coverings mandatory in the workplace we received a number of inquiries about the availability of disposable masks. The TEAM at Resource Development Associates made introductions directly to A Custom Style LLC, a supplier we have worked with in the past, and helped to assure nearly 60,000 disposable masks were delivered to CT manufactures and businesses.
This weekend that supplier advised us that although more masks are expected to be inventoried in the coming weeks, their domestic supply designated for CT is down to 75,000 masks. Based on requests we expect that supply may be exhausted this week and as such we are suggesting if you need masks now or anticipate a need in the next ten days, consider placing your order with a proven supplier.
As you might imagine, demand for disposable masks is high. Employers calling RDA have shared concerns over extended delivery, authenticity of supply, quality of masks and the ability to source at all. If you need assistance, see the information below.
We hope this information is helpful. Stay well, stay productive and look to better days we will have ahead and please, never hesitate to ask the questions you have of us…
Rich DuPont President
Resource Development Associates
DEMHS Region 5: PPE Rollout to Small Businesses
Dear Municipal EMDs and CEOs:
The State of Connecticut has partnered with CBIA-CONNSTEP to assist in the distribution of donated surgical masks to eligible, essential small businesses with 50 employees or less. This email is to inform you that a distribution of surgical masks to eligible, essential small businesses will occur within DEMHS Region 5 on Thursday, April 30, 2020 between 9:00 AM and 3:00 PM. These eligible, essential small businesses and their employees located within your municipalities are the backbone of our economies and these masks will help to ensure their continuity.
Supplies for eligible, essential small businesses will be distributed to designated municipal representatives at the established Region 5 Point of Distribution located at the following addresses:
- Northern Site
116 Old Middle St
Goshen, CT 06756
- Southern Site
300 Christian Street
Oxford, CT 06478
|Region 5- Level 2,3 & 4 PPE POD’s – 4/26/2020|
116 Old Middle Street Goshen, CT
300 Christian Street Oxford, CT
|Canaan (Falls Village)||Bridgewater|
Each municipality in Region 5 will pick up their “community pack” on Thursday, April 30, 2020. This “community pack” will contain masks for eligible, essential businesses that requested them through the CBIA-CONNSTEP portal. Businesses must not be directed to the Regional Points of Distribution, they will be turned away. It will be the responsibility of each municipality to determine how these masks will be distributed to the businesses within their community; a distribution roster will be included in each business pack to assist the municipalities with this distribution.
We thank you for your continued partnership as we support all of our communities and stakeholders during the COVID-19 response and recovery phases. Healthcare workers and first responders continue to be a priority with our distribution strategy for varying types of PPE.
Please direct all questions to your DEMHS Region 5 Coordinator, John Field.
Frequently Asked Questions:
What are eligible, essential small businesses?
Eligible, essential small businesses must have 50 employees or less with a need for surgical masks.
The list of essential businesses is available here: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Business-Exemptions-for-Coronavirus
Should all eligible, essential small businesses request masks?
Eligible, essential small businesses and employees that have limited contact with the public are strongly urged to create their own facemasks following CDC guidelines. We must ensure the limited supply of surgical masks is available to eligible, essential businesses that need them the most.
How many times can surgical masks be used?
The CDC recommends the preservation of necessary PPE by instituting extended use policies. Additionally, FEMA, recommends preservation methods to reduce, reuse and repurpose PPE. Both FEMA and CDC guidelines can be found here.
Is there a limit to the number of Surgical Masks that can be requested?
Eligible, essential small businesses must limit their total request to 2 surgical masks per employee. The maximum request should not exceed 100 masks.
How do eligible, essential small businesses make a request?
Eligible, essential small businesses can make a request on the CBIA-CONNSTEP Portal at the following link: https://www.ctcovidresponse.org/ct-smb-surgical-mask-requests. At this time, only surgical masks are available to eligible, essential small businesses.
Are healthcare workers and first responders receiving PPE?
Yes, healthcare workers and first responders continue to receive priority distributions of varying types of PPE as they are made available. First responders should continue to make resource requests through the local Emergency Management Director.
How often will this distribution to small businesses be occurring?
At this time, this is a one-time distribution of masks to eligible, essential small businesses in Connecticut.
Will every requestor receive masks?
Supplies are limited at this time; therefore, it is possible that not all requestors will receive the masks they request.
The U.S. Congress has now passed a $480B spending bill that expands funding to critical COVID-19 relief programs.
$370B has been set aside for small businesses.
I encourage you to act quickly to secure funding for your business as demand for these programs has been extraordinarily high.
- $310B for Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Forgivable loans to small businesses with less than 500 employees; apply through SBA-approved banks, credit unions or fintechs
- $60B for Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants (EIDL); Low-interest loans and grants up to $10,000 for small businesses and non-profits; apply for these directly through the SBA
Program details, eligibility requirements and application information can be found on the SBA’s coronavirus relief options website.
We will continue to provide updates on important state and federal programs as new information becomes available.
David Lehman, Commissioner
email@example.com, (860) 500-2310
Resource Development Associates – Update from RDA on COVID-19
CT Protective Measures in the Workplace
As you likely know, the State Department of Economic and Community Development made significant revisions to mandatory rules outlining additional protective measures that every workplace deemed essential – and any other business or nonprofit allowed to remain open – must follow and that took effect as of 8 pm on Monday, April 21st.
The new revisions state that “all employees must wear a face mask or face cloth covering at all times in the workplace”.
Employers are required to issue masks or cloth face coverings to employees. If that is not possible because of shortages or supply chain difficulties, employers must provide materials – or compensate employees for the cost – to make their own and share the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for making cloth face coverings.
Masks or face coverings are not requited if wearing one compromises the health or safety of an employee because of a medical condition. An employee is not required to produce medical documentation in such a case.
Customers must also wear cloth face coverings while on premises. Businesses may provide face coverings to customers and visitors. The medical exemption applies for customers, with additional guidance for children.
Resource Development Associates is providing you with this update in an effort to expedite the procurement of Surgical Masks for your workplace. Due to the very high demand for this product and the Covid-19 workplace rules for CT, the TEAM at RDA will be assisting in the processing of orders for these Surgical Masks as Follows:
Simply complete the ORDER FORM below and email back to either Rich@RDAnow.com or Chris@RDAnow.com (or both). We will connect you directly with the supplier who will confirm your order and provide an invoice payable by credit card, check or wire transfer.
PLEASE NOTE: Delivery has been averaging 5-7 business days given the high demand for masks. Although we do expect to announce a greatly improved delivery soon, please plan accordingly for your delivery requirements.
We are hopeful this information is helpful in these trying times and remind you to never hesitate to ask the questions you have of Resource Development Associates.
COVID-19 Eversource Update
Eversource Provides Updates to Customers During COVID-19 Pandemic
Energy company has suspended customer disconnections, waived all late fees and takes additional social distancing steps
BERLIN, Conn. (March 19, 2020) – With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to evolve, Eversource is reassuring customers that the energy company is well prepared to continue providing safe, reliable energy while also safeguarding the health and well-being of employees and the communities it serves. The energy company has taken the following steps:
- Suspended all customer disconnections for non-payment
- Waived late payment charges
- Began offering a special, flexible payment plan for any past due bills
- Offered additional energy-saving tips to help reduce energy use while people are spending more time at home.
“As a member of the communities we serve across New England, we’re here to support our customers through this unprecedented time, while also safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees,” said Eversource Chairman, President and CEO Jim Judge. “Whether it’s our hospitals providing critical care to patients, students learning remotely, or people working from home, we’re taking every possible step to ensure that our customers have the energy they need during this challenging period.”
While as many Eversource employees as possible are working from home, for those jobs that can’t be done remotely the energy company has taken a wide variety of steps to ensure their safety. Eversource has reconfigured desk arrangements to create appropriate social space for employees and has enhanced cleaning and sanitation procedures at all facilities and in all vehicles.
Eversource field crews will continue working on projects to ensure continued reliability for all customers including hospitals, nursing homes and grocery stores. Energy company field employees will report directly to job sites whenever possible, ensuring fast response to emergencies while limiting group interactions at company work centers. All work and appointments that require a technician to enter a home or come in close contact with others have been suspended, except for critical work to ensure the safety and reliability of the system.
Nationally recognized as the #1 utility for its leadership on the environment and corporate responsibility, Eversource is working every day to advance clean energy for its customers in New England. The energy company has set an industry-leading goal to be carbon neutral by 2030, offers award-winning energy efficiency solutions as the #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, and is a leader in successfully integrating new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage into the electric system.
For more information on Eversource’s preparedness efforts and response to COVID-19, including FAQs for customers, ways to save, and more please visit Eversource.com.
Eversource (NYSE: ES), celebrated as a national leader for its corporate citizenship, is the #1 energy company in Newsweek’s list of America’s Most Responsible Companies for 2020 and recognized as one of America’s Most JUST Companies and the top utility by Forbes and JUST Capital. Eversource transmits and delivers electricity to 1.25 million customers in 149 cities and towns, provides natural gas to 237,000 customers in 74 communities, and supplies water to approximately 198,000 customers in 51 communities across Connecticut. Eversource harnesses the commitment of approximately 8,300 employees across three states to build a single, united company around the mission of safely delivering reliable energy and water with superior customer service. The #1 energy efficiency provider in the nation, the company is empowering a clean energy future in the Northeast, with nationally-recognized energy efficiency solutions and successful programs to integrate new clean energy resources like solar, offshore wind, electric vehicles and battery storage, into the electric system. For more information, please visit our website (www.eversource.com) and follow us on Twitter (@EversourceCT) and Facebook (facebook.com/EversourceCT). For more information on our water services, visit www.aquarionwater.com.
Tricia Taskey Modifica
New COVID-19 Relief Funds for Small Business
Act quickly to take advantage of this business relief program. Please call JoAnn at 860-309-3318 with any questions.
Letter from David Lehman:
Yesterday, the U.S. Senate passed a $480B spending bill that expands COVID-19 business relief programs. While final passage is expected tomorrow, we want to give you a heads up to prepare as we know this funding is absolutely critical for our Connecticut businesses.
- This latest round of federal funding includes an additional $310B to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and $60B for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) including $10B in grants.
- The PPP provides forgivable loans to small businesses with less than 500 employees. 75% of the loan must be used for payroll expenses, with the remaining used on rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Companies apply for this program through SBA-approved banks, credit unions and online financial lenders, or fintechs. Fintechs are a critically important tool for small businesses who do not have banking relationships. Applicants can use their smartphones to apply for funding.
Authorized fintech lenders include: PayPal, QuickBooks, Bluevine, Funding Circle, Kabbage, OnDeck, and Square.
- The EIDL provides low-interest loans and grants up to $10,000 to small businesses and non-profits to cover payroll, sick leave, production costs or business obligations, like rent or mortgage payments. Funds are made available within just a few days of your application being accepted. Companies apply for this program directly through the SBA.
Demand for these relief programs remains incredibly high. We encourage you to act quickly and, whenever possible, work with a financial professional to determine which programs are best for your organization. If you have not previously applied for these programs, now is the time to look into it.
Also importantly, tomorrow, April 23, at 2:00 p.m., the CT SBA in partnership with HEDCO will host a live Zoom meeting for Latino small business owners in Spanish to discuss funding sources including the PPP, EIDL and the COVID-19 Business Response Program line of credit. To join tomorrow visit: https://t.co/blhdXtOgvX.
David Lehman, Commissioner
firstname.lastname@example.org, (860) 500-2310
- The City of Torrington’s Economic Development office announced a FREE ADVERTISING PROGRAM for businesses.
- Click here to read an important message to the community from Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.
- Nuvance Health – Sharon Hospital is seeking volunteers for their Medical Professional Reserves. Click here for info.
- The U.S. Department of Labor released a temporary rule implementing the paid sick leave and paid family leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The law provides refundable tax credits for employers with fewer than 500 employees to cover the costs of providing paid leave to their employees for reasons related to COVID-19. For information about the temporary rule, fact sheets on the new paid leave provisions for employers and employees, and a U.S. Department of Labor FAQ page, click here.
- Paycheck Protection Program link to the US Treasury Department
- Video Conference Call Tips from Ed Davis of Systems Support Group
- Brian Thompson of defendid shares warnings for scams in the wake of COVID-19.
- Connecticut Department of Revenue extends Sales & Use Tax Return deadline.
- US Chamber of Commerce Guide to the CARES Act.
- From Sharon Hospital – Nuvance Health
First and foremost – Sharon Hospital and Nuvance Health are here for you. We remain committed to keeping you safe, healthy and informed.
Nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus is designed to keep our communities informed with the latest updates and information on steps to take if you have symptoms or concerns about possible exposure to COVID-19, changes to visitation policies, how to contact the COVID-19 Community Hotline, donating supplies to our facilities, and news about our specimen collection sites in New York and Connecticut.Our dedicated teams are working around-the-clock to ensure a safe environment for all amid this global outbreak. We continue to work in partnership with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local and state health departments to stay abreast of the latest developments and take necessary precautions.Please follow us on social media @SharonHospital and @NuvanceHealth for updates and health and wellness tips. Together, we can help mitigate the spread and impact of COVID-19 in our communities.
- Eversource Energy COVID-19 Information
- The Small Business Guide to the CARES Act
- Thomaston Savings Bank is offering assistance to small businesses:
- Thomaston Savings Bank’s financial condition is strong and has been built to withstand adversity. The Bank has taken proactive measures to help mitigate the spread of illness and as such our Branch Lobbies are currently closed to walk-in traffic. Our drive–up service remains accessible as well as our ATMs. We strongly encourage our customers to use our digital tools and other resources for self-service banking and 24/7 account access. We will meet with customers by appointment for bank services that cannot be completed through drive-up or other self-service channels. If you are experiencing financial hardship, please call us at 855-344-1874 or visit our website at thomastonsb.com/covid19 for the latest updates and resources.
- Access Health CT has established a special open enrollment period:
- Dear Community Partners, As the Coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to threaten public health, Access Health CT announced a NEW SPECIAL ENROLLMENT PERIOD for these exceptional circumstances available from March 19 through April 2, 2020 for qualified uninsured Connecticut residents. Residents can see if they qualify by calling 1-855-365-2428 (Monday – Friday, 8 am – 5 pm). We will not be able to process enrollments online for the New Special Enrollment Period, however you can still enroll online if you have a Qualifying Life Event or qualify for Medicaid/CHIP.
- Salisbury VNA Offers Help During COVID-19
- New Connecticut Bridge Recovery Loan Program Available for Small Businesses Through CT DECD
- Update from Senator Murphy
- Corona Virus and the Workplace – Information for Employers from Secor, Cassidy & McPartland, PC
- Hartford Healthcare Coronavirus Hotline 1-833-621-0600
- Thanks to Roberts Tax Group for notifying us of the COVID-19 Tax Credits and Paid Relief for Workers that is now available. Click here for details. In addition, The IRS unveiled the People First Initative offering more help!
- One of our member’s clients, Chuck Richards of CoreValue is offering a free webinar – “Small Business Triage – Taking Control of your Business during times of Crisis” on Thursday, March 26th at 10:30 a.m. Click here to register. Details: “Many business owners are struggling and in panic mode as more and more cities across the U.S. go into lockdown due to COVID-19. We’ll talk about how to find opportunity during times of crisis and we are here to help business owners find it. It’s 30 minutes and we’ll share 5 steps to help your clients assess, adjust, and excel over the next several months.”
Also for your reference:
- General information on COVID-19.
- Connecticut Department of Labor FAQ on COVID-19.
- Small Business Administration’s Disaster Assistance
- You can call the SBA directly at 800-659-2955 or click here to email them.
- DECD has launched a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit, which will be dedicated to helping businesses in Connecticut navigate the resources available to them during this crisis. Small businesses seeking guidance can reach the unit by calling 860-500-2333. In addition, DECD and Advance CT, a nonprofit organization that works to advance economic competitiveness in Connecticut today began distributing a comprehensive survey to businesses to get information on what types of resources they need through the duration of this pandemic. This will help the state gather important information on the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses interested in participating in the survey can access it here.
- Connecticut Department of Revenue Services has extended certain filing deadlines. Click here for information.
- Resources & News From Your Fellow Members:
- Hartford HealthCare Vistor Info & Elective Surgery
- Comcast Opens Xfinity WiFi Network Nationally for Free
- Deene Morris of Inspire Leadership: “Why We Should All Hoard Toilet Paper: The Upside to a Shitty Situation”
- Deene Morris of Inspire Leadership: “Innovation Dis-ease and 3 Steps to Greater Vitality”
- SCORE Counseling is available remotely by appointment. Call the Chamber to make an appointment 860.482.6586.