In this section you will find relevant state resources organized by category, and access the latest information on guidelines and reopening phases from the state.
Small Business Reopening Resource Guide
While Governor Lamont has indefinitely paused Phase 3, the State of Connecticut has released some new guidelines affecting many industries that are currently open for business. Below, we have provided links to the latest state-issued guidelines for your reference.
All documents relating to the reopening of the state amid COVID-19 can be found on the state’s coronavirus business recovery website.
Personal Services (updated)
Personal services businesses may open at 50% capacity, by appointment only, with waiting rooms closed. No services that require removal of mask are allowed in phase II.
Personal Services guidelines – click here
Sport Complexes & Gyms (updated)
Gyms and fitness centers may open at 50%. Outdoor sporting events may operate within certain limits and indoor sporting events will also have limitations.
Sports, sport complexes, gyms, and pool guidelines – click here
Hotels/ Lodging (updated)
Except as otherwise prohibited, outdoor gatherings are permitted as long as they comply with all rules and executive orders. Gathering size will be updated periodically by executive order periodically.
Outdoor events – click here
Restaurants may operate at 50% capacity indoors. Outdoor dining is still encouraged, not to exceed regular operating capacity & maintaining physical distancing.
Restaurants Guide – click here
Hair Salons & Barbershops (updated)
Partnership Loan Program
Mortgage Payment Relief
Governor Ned Lamont’s administration reached an agreement on March 31, 2020 with over 50 credit unions and banks in Connecticut to offer mortgage relief to the state’s residents and businesses who continue to face hardship caused by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Under the agreement, the following relief policies are being offered by participating financial institutions:
- 90-day grace period for all mortgage payments
- Relief from fees and charges for 90 days
- No new foreclosures for 60 days
- No credit score changes for accessing relief
For more details read the notice here.
Utilities & Telecom Relief
State regulators have announced that utilities will no longer be able to shut off the water, electricity or natural gas of residential customers if they don’t pay their bills. The order came after Gov. Ned Lamont declared a public health emergency in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
Electric utilities include Eversource and United Illuminating. Natural gas providers include Connecticut Natural Gas Corp. (CNG), Southern Connecticut Gas Co. and Eversource (formerly Yankee Gas Services Co.). Water utilities would include Aquarion, the Connecticut Water Co., the Avon Water Co., and the Torrington Water Co.
For the full press release click here.
Business Response Program
This program is no longer accepting applications, but there are many small businesses in our state who did apply. This fund was meant to provide additional assistance to minority and women-owned businesses with under 20 employees.
If you are one of those and either received or are waiting to receive funding, it is important to note in order to qualify for forgiveness, that you must use the funds in the way you described in your cash projections. These are consistent with what you were approved for, and so using the funds following those will facilitate the forgiveness process.
Know you can always reach out to us for help and to assist with questions.
CT Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program (MVP)
If you are looking for a loan to purchase new manufacturing equipment, Connecticut Center for Advanced Technology introduced the MVP program.
Eligible companies can apply for vouchers up to $50,000 for the purchase of specialized equipment and expertise that will help improve operations, including marketing, LEAN, compliance, and other technical needs.
As of May 1, the MVP program will no longer process applications marked with COVID as priority. Applications will continue to be reviewed on a first-come, first-served basis.
Learn more about this program here.
Tax Relief & Filing Assistance
Extension on Annual Tax Filings
“To support businesses during the COVID-19 outbreak,” the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is granting an automatic extension of filing and payment deadlines for certain annual tax returns due on or after March 15, 2020, and before June 1, 2020.
Please note for some only the payment deadlines have been extended and you still must file by April 15, 2020. For others, both the filing and payment deadline have been extended to July 15, 2020.
Please follow this link for additional details.
Extension on Sales Tax & Room Occupancy Filings
The Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is granting an automatic extension of filing and payment deadlines for Sales Tax and Room Occupancy Tax.
What small business taxpayers qualify for this relief?
Taxpayers that have $150,000 or less in annual Sales Tax liability or Room Occupancy Tax qualify for an automatic extension of time to file and pay. A taxpayer that collects both must evaluate each tax separately to determine eligibility for relief.
What returns are covered?
- For monthly Sales Tax and Room Occupancy Tax filers: returns and payments due March 31, 2020, and April 30, 2020, are extended to May 31, 2020.
- For quarterly Sales Tax and Room Occupancy Tax filers: returns and payments due April 30, 2020, are extended to May, 31, 2020.
Please click here for the full press release.
Labor & Unemployment Assistance
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is a program that temporarily expands unemployment insurance (UI) eligibility to self-employed workers, 1099 employees, “gig” workers, workers in jobs not covered by regular unemployment benefits, and independent contractors impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic in 2020.
It provides up to 39 weeks of benefits to qualifying individuals who are otherwise able to work and available for work within the meaning of applicable state unemployment compensation law, except that they are unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work due to one of the COVID-19 related reasons.
It is part of the CARES Act and federally funded, but processed by the state’s DOL. For more information click here.
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation
This is a federally funded emergency increase in unemployment benefits providing an additional $600 per week to individuals who receive a weekly benefit of at least $1 in the following unemployment benefits:
- Regular unemployment benefits
- Emergency unemployment benefits (PEUC)
- Extended Benefits
- Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
- Shared Work
- Trade Readjustment Allowance (TRA)
- Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA)
For details please see this document.
Unemployment Q&A for Employers
A common question we have been asked these days, is about employees refusing to go back to work for various reasons. Under the circumstances of a pandemic and depending on the individual employee, they may have legitimate concerns around their own health or that of vulnerable family members in their household.
If an employee refuses to go back to work, and you don’t believe they have a legitimate reason, you may protest the Notice of Potential Liability that you will receive from DOL indicating the claimant refused work. The matter will be then be scheduled for a fact finding to determine whether the claimant refused work without sufficient cause.
For more on this and other questions, please review this link.
Shared Work Program
For employers seeking an alternative to laying off employees due to the current economic slowdown, or capacity limitations, the Shared Work Program can be a great option. It allows employers to reduce the hours of full- time employees by as much as 60 percent, while their workers collect partial unemployment benefits to replace a portion of their lost wages.
All employers with two or more full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate in the program, which is not designed for seasonal separations. To qualify, the business’ reduction of work cannot be less than 10 percent or more than 60 percent.
For more information on this program, click here.
FEMA: Lost Wages Grant
It was recently announced the FEMA has approved Connecticut to pay an additional $300 in unemployment benefits to those unemployed due to COVID-19.
New unemployment claimants and existing state and extended benefits claimants will be required to self-certify that they are eligible under the federal guidelines. Existing Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) claimants have already self-certified.
The additional benefit will be retroactive to the claim week beginning July 26.
More information can be found here.
Health & Safety Assistance
As businesses are allowed to start reopening on a phased basis, the need for protective equipment may present a challenge to small businesses.
For a list of mostly Connecticut-based companies that can provide needed supplies in smaller quantities at a competitive prices, click here.
The following special distributions to different sectors will continue while supplies last.
- CBIA/CONNSTEP: Surgical Masks for Eligible, Essential Small Businesses with less than 50 Employees
- CBIA/CONNSTEP: Infrared Thermometer Distribution for Small Businesses
- State of Connecticut: Infrared Thermometer Distribution for Houses of Worship
Safe WorkplacesThe State released a series of guidelines to assist employers of essential businesses in maintaining a safe working environment during the current conditions. The guidance includes work-from-home accommodations for work that is able to be performed remotely, the use of protective equipment, and social distancing measures among others. Safe workplaces in essential businesses: These are legally binding statewide rules prescribing additional protective measures that every workplace in Connecticut deemed essential – and any other business or nonprofit allowed to remain open – must follow. Such rules will be mandatory throughout the state. Click here for the full list of guidelines.
Safe Store Rules
Similarly to the Safe Workplaces rules, the State released a series of guidelines to assist stores deemed essential with guidance on maintaining a healthy and safe environment.
The guidelines include protective measures based on the store layout and managing occupancy and customer flow, ensuring everyone is aware of requirements by installing signs, requiring masks for employees and customers alike, and other protective measures.
Click here for the full list.