Resources for COVID-19 National Emergency

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:

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Update to Include more Small Businesses and Non-Profits

February 23, 2021- Yesterday the White House announced targeted changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) that will provide minority-owned businesses, “mom-and-pop” businesses, and very small nonprofits with access to the support they need.

Businesses and nonprofits with fewer than 20 employees will have a two-week exclusive window to apply for PPP loans starting Wednesday, February 24. This period of exclusivity will give lenders and community partners more time to work with the smallest businesses to submit their applications and ensure these organizations are prioritized.

Other changes include:

  • Self-employed and sole proprietors can now use gross income (versus net income) to calculate the PPP loan amount, increasing potential loan size.
  • Business owners behind on their federal student loan payments are now eligible for PPP loan forgiveness.
  • Clarification that non-citizen small business owners who are lawful U.S. residents can use an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN) to apply for the PPP.
  • Small business owners with prior non-fraud felony convictions are no longer excluded from applying for PPP loans.

Click here to read the announcement and learn more about the steps that are being taken to promote equitable access to this important program. The SBA website also includes tools to help you get matched with a lender or find lenders in your area.

I encourage you to act quickly. Unless the federal government extends the deadline, the PPP will expire on March 31, 2021.

Sincerely,

David Lehman, Commissioner
david.lehman@ct.gov, (860) 500-2310


February 23, 2021


Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant

*Online applications estimated to be available week of November 9*

The State of CT has launched its latest program to assist small businesses and nonprofits through the economic downturn caused by COVID-19. Eligible small businesses and nonprofits can receive a one-time $5,000 grant by December 30, 2020.  There will be minimal eligibility requirements the online application will have an open and close date. The application process and the funding will be administered and disbursed by SoFi.

Which small businesses/nonprofits ARE eligible?

  • 20 or less full-time employees OR annual payroll of less than $1.5 million as of 12/31/19
  • 20% or more loss in revenue year to date as of September 30, 2020 compared with the same period in 2019
  • Established by October 1, 2019 and still active
  • Must be in good tax standing with DRS or current on a payment plan as of 12/31/19
  • Home-based businesses and Sole Proprietors
  • Those who already received federal PPP, EIDL and/or CT Bridge loans are still eligible

Which small businesses/nonprofits are NOT eligible?

  • Medical marijuana; liquor stores and alcohol distributors; adult businesses such as strip clubs; vape retailers; tobacco shops and smoking lounges; businesses having to do with gambling; gun stores and ranges; cash advance, check cashing, or pawn shops; bail bonds; collection agencies or services; and auction or bankruptcy or fire or “lost-our-lease” or “going-out-of-business” or similar sale.
  • Arts/cultural organizations that have already applied for CARES grants

How do you Apply? Online applications estimated to be available week of November 9, 2020

 

Frequently Asked Questions

What documents are needed to complete the application?

The goal of the CT CARES grant application is to be straightforward and easy. It is not a loan that needs to be paid back. All applicants will receive funding by December 30, 2020. Minimally applicants will need:

  • Social Security number
  • Federal EIN number
  • State TAX ID number
  • Bank Routing Number

 

Am I eligible if I already received federal CARES funds, PPP, CT Bridge or EIDL loans?

The short answer – yes. However, you cannot use the CT CARES Small Business grant for the exact same expenses incurred or expected to occur between March 1, 2020 thru December 30, 2020. All expenses must be new such as:

  • Payroll
  • Rent/Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Inventory
  • Purchase of Machinery and/or Equipment
  • Cost associated to ensure compliance with CT Reopen Business Sector Rules

Will I qualify if I do not have very good credit?

Yes. Your personal credit score is not an eligibility requirement.

How do I demonstrate loss of revenue?

You will need to determine your revenue for the 3 months ending 9/30/19 and compare to your revenues ending year to date 2020.

What is the process once my application has been approved? How will the grant be disbursed?

This one-time $5,000 grant will be disbursed to all approved applicants by December 30, 2020 directly to the bank account you will provide in the application. You will receive an email from SoFi once approved. This is a grant that does not require repayment.

Will I be required to sign a legal grant agreement?

Yes. However, there are no fees or costs. This is not a loan that requires repayment.

Where can I go if I have more questions or need more information?

For additional questions, call the DECD hotline (860) 500-2333 or email DECDCTRecovery@ct.gov


November 4, 2020


Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program

The state has created the Connecticut CARES Small Business Grant Program to help small businesses and nonprofits that continue to be negatively impacted by COVID-19.

Small businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut with a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million OR 20 or fewer employees can apply for a one-time grant of $5,000. DECD will administer the program and online applications are estimated to begin the week of November 9. All funding will be disbursed by the end of the year.

Per Governor Lamont’s direction, half of the funds will be allocated to small businesses and nonprofits located in towns and cities that have been designated as distressed municipalities. The program is funded from Connecticut’s portion of the federal CARES Act.

DECD will also host webinars and online discussions in the coming weeks to assist businesses and nonprofits with the application process.
Additional information, along with eligibility requirements, can be found here.


October 21, 2020


FINALLY CT WILL OPEN UP TO PHASE 3: WHAT DOES THIS MEAN EXACTLY?

Governor Ned Lamont announced details for his plans to move Connecticut into Phase 3 of the state’s reopening amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The plan, which took effect on Thursday, October 8, 2020, will ease some of the restrictions that were put into place on businesses and gatherings, while ensuring that the state continues taking a safe approach to limit spread of the virus.

 

Business changes in Phase 3 will include:

  • Increase from 50 percent to 75 percent capacity indoors – subject to COVID-19 safety requirements – for restaurants, personal services, hair salons, barber shops, and libraries;
  • Outdoor event venues (e.g. amphitheaters, race tracks, etc.) will increase from 25 percent to 50 percent capacity with masks and social distancing requirements;
  • Indoor performing arts venues will be able to open at 50 percent capacity with masks and social distancing requirements; and
  • Bars and nightclubs will continue to remain closed.

In addition, Phase 3 also includes the following changes to the sizes of gatherings:

Private Gatherings – Social and Recreational

Occurs at commercial establishment / places of business:
INDOOR: 50% capacity, capped at 100 people (Currently 25)
OUTDOOR: Capped at 150 people (Currently 100)
Occurs at private residence, indoor and outdoor: capped at 25 people-no change

Graduations
INDOOR: 50% capacity, capped at 200, Masks/social distancing (Currently not allowed)
OUTDOOR: 50% capacity of 6-foot spacing, no cap, Masks/social distancing (Currently
One-time exemption capped at 150)

Religious
INDOOR: 50% capacity, capped at 200, Masks/social distancing (Currently 25% capacity, capped at 100 people)
OUTDOOR: 50% capacity and 6-foot spacing, no cap, masks/social distancing (Currently capped at 150 people)


October 8, 2020


Nuvance Health – Sharon Hospital updates visitation policy

Sharon Hospital welcomes back more visitors

Sharon, Conn. — June 23, 2020 — Sharon Hospital, part of Nuvance Health, has updated its visitation policy to bring back more visitors. The hospital can expand visitation following safety guidelines because the campus and the region are observing a decrease in the rate of new COVID-19 infections.

“Restrictions will be lifted in a phased approach over the next several weeks to ensure high levels of safety and security for staff, patients and the community,” said hospital president Dr. Mark Hirko.

Allowable visitors:

Effective Wednesday, June 24, the hospital will begin the first phase of visitation: One visitor per surgical patient is permitted in the outpatient surgical and procedural areas of the hospital at time of discharge.

People age 18 and older are allowed to visit if they meet specific requirements.

Requirements for approved visitation include:

  • A visitor may drop off a patient at the hospital but must wait outdoors for the duration of their procedure.
  • A single visitor per patient is allowed inside the facility only upon discharge to receive post-care instructions from their physician. This applies to the operating room, ambulatory care unit and interventional radiology.
  • Visitors must arrive wearing a medical face mask. Masks with a valve, or a bandana, scarf, or any other type of face covering are not permitted.
  • Visitors must pass screening for COVID-19 risk factors.
  • Visitors need to show a government-issued photo ID (examples: driver’s license, passport) to check-in. Their visit will be recorded for contact tracing purposes if necessary.
  • The duration of a daily visit is limited to two hours.

Exceptions apply for patients under age 21, maternity patients, and for those with extenuating circumstances.

Entrance and Visitation Hours
Monday through Friday, the Main Lobby is open from 5:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Patients can enter the hospital through the emergency department after 4:30 p.m.

Visitation hours are 5:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Visiting times for outpatient surgical and procedural areas may vary based on procedure scheduling.

No Visitation:

Sharon Hospital’s top priority is the health and safety of all patients, staff and visitors. That’s why no visitors are permitted for patients with suspected or confirmed COVID-19 who are receiving high flow oxygen, are on Bi-PAP or CPAP, or are unable to tolerate wearing a mask. No visitors are allowed for non-medical purposes such as going to the cafeteria.

“Over the next few weeks, we will be phasing in visitation to inpatient care areas and the emergency department,” Hirko said.

Nuvance Health will continue to reevaluate the visitation policy as conditions evolve. Please visit nuvancehealth.org/coronavirus for the latest updates about COVID-19, or find Sharon Hospital on social media @SharonHospital.

CONTACT

Marina Ballantine, Associate, Public and Community Affairs

(845) 554-1734 | Marina.Ballantine@nuvancehealth.org


June 23, 2020


BOARD OF REGENTS FUNDS FREE COMMUNITY COLLEGE PROGRAM FOR FALL 2020 SEMESTER

(HARTFORD, CT) – The Board of Regents for Higher Education (BOR) today allocated $3 million in one-time funding to launch the Pledge to Advance Connecticut (PACT). Passed as part of the 2019 biennial budget, but without a designated source of funding, PACT is Connecticut’s tuition and fee-free community college program. The BOR’s action is expected to cover PACT scholarships for eligible students for the fall 2020 semester, but additional state funding would be required for the program to continue in the spring.

“With the economic effects of the pandemic lingering, the opportunity for individuals to access a community college education is more imperative than ever,” said David Levinson, Interim President of Connecticut State Community College. “The Board of Regents’ action today is an important, albeit temporary, step to get the tuition and fee-free community college program up and running for the fall semester. We look forward to working with our legislative partners to find a permanent solution – and in the meantime, we encourage folks to apply to the community college nearest them.”

In order to qualify for PACT, potential students must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a graduate of a public or private Connecticut high school (GED and homeschooled students qualify).
  • Be a first-time college student (those who participated in dual enrollment programs while in high school are not excluded).
  • Fill out FAFSA and accept all awards.
  • Attend community college full-time (12 or more credits per semester).
  • Apply and register by July 15, 2020 for priority consideration.
  • Participate in a degree or credit-bearing certificate program.
  • Once enrolled, remain in good academic standing.

“For everyone from recent high school graduates to older adults seeking a college education for the first time, community college provides a high-quality educational option close to home,” said Alison Buckley, Vice President for Enrollment Management at Connecticut State Community College. “With first time students now eligible to pursue an associate degree tuition and fee-free, which can transfer seamlessly to a four-year university, there has never been a better time to apply and register at one of Connecticut’s community colleges.”

Potential students seeking to learn more about PACT can visit ct.edu/pact.


June 18, 2020


Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness

The updated U.S. Chamber Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness.  This guide reflects recent substantive changes made by Congress and the administration to the PPP program to provide borrowers with more flexibility.  These changes include:

  • Extending the time to spend PPP funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks;
  • Lowering the amount that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%;
  • Extending the deadline to restore FTEs and payroll from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020; and
  • Setting the repayment term for loans made after June 4, 2020 at five years.

The U.S. Chamber’s updated Guide to PPP Forgiveness reflects all of these changes, as well as others made in recent guidance issued by the Department of the Treasury.  It is designed to help your members more easily understand the forgiveness application process.  However, note that while this guide reflects all of the most recent changes, it is possible that further changes could be made.  Therefore, we will continue to update this guide as needed.


June 16, 2020


Governor Lamont Announced an Update on Phase 2 of Re-opening

Governor Lamont announced today, June 5, that he has moved up his Phase 2 reopening plans by three days, giving restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, hotels and other businesses a midweek start on Wednesday, June 17.

Additional safety guidance for businesses that fall under Phase 2 will be released in the next couple of days.

Phase 2 openings include:

  • Accommodation (no bar areas)
  • Gyms, fitness & sports clubs
  • All personal services (nail salons, tattoo parlors)
  • Outdoor arts, entertainment, and events (up to 50 people)
  • Outdoor amusement parks
  • Movie theaters
  • Bowling alleys
  • Social clubs, pools
  • All museums, zoos, aquariums
  • Restaurants (indoor dining at 50% capacity, no bar)

For more information, click here

PPP Updates

The Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act (PPPFA) has been voted into effect by the Senate.

This act is designed to ease Paycheck Protection Program loan terms and to provide business owners with more time to use PPP funds.

Changes to the program include:

  • Reduction in the amount of the loan needed to be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%, thus increasing the amount of funds available for other expenses from 25% to 40%
  • Extended time period to use funds from 8 to 24 weeks
  • A deadline extension from June 30 to December 31 for rehiring of workers
  • An ease in rehiring requirements
  • Extension of repayment term from 2 years to 5 years
  • Option to defer 50% of your portion of payroll taxes until 2021 with the remaining 50% until 2022

For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, click here


June 5, 2020


Department of Economic and Community Development – Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act

The U.S. Congress just passed a bipartisan bill called the Paycheck Protection Flexibility Act that makes several important changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).

The new law eases some of the program’s restrictions, giving small businesses more time to use their loans and letting borrowers spend more of their loans on non-payroll expenses.

Key changes to the PPP include:

·        Extends the period to use PPP funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks

·        Reduces the minimum payroll spend to 60% (from 75%)

·        Borrowers can now use the 24-week period to fully restore their workforce levels and wages (December 31 instead of June 30)

·        Businesses now have five years to repay the loan, instead of two

The new legislation also includes a number of updates and exceptions related to loan forgiveness, the rehiring of employees, and the payment of payroll taxes. We encourage businesses to read the new legislation and work with a financial professional to ensure they fully understand the updated requirements.

While demand for PPP loans has slowed, funding remains available. More information can be found on the SBA website, including a tool to find lenders that are still issuing PPP loans.

Sincerely,
David Lehman, Commissioner
david.lehman@ct.gov, (860) 500-2310


June 5, 2020