Dear Neighbors and Friends,
I hope all is well with you and your family. I’m writing today with the latest updates in the state’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These resources may be useful for you, a family member or friend, so please feel free to share this information. I also want to share something that is not related to COVID-19 – and that’s the celebration of Earth Day.
Make Every Day Earth Day
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, all this week and through the weekend the Fairfield Sustainable Task Force is providing resources and hosting programs that cover everything from information about pollinators and EV cars, to how to compost and properly plant a tree! Visit www.FairfieldEarthDay.org to access it all. You’ll get some great ideas to help our environment and enjoy the outdoors.
Wear a Mask in Public
The governor’s executive order on wearing masks in public went into effect at 8:00 PM, Monday, April 20th. The new executive order will require everyone in this state to wear masks in places where they are close to others, from sidewalks to stores and mass transit. If you remain a 6 ft distance from non-household members while out walking or running, you do not need to wear a mask. Read the governor’s order here.
How to Make Your Own Mask
With little notice to purchase a mask, finding one has proved a challenge for many. If you sew, here is a tutorial that I use to make my own masks. Here is another tutorial for non-sewers.
New Testing for COVID-19
The State of Connecticut has formed a partnership with CVS Health in an initiative that will make free, rapid COVID-19 tests available to eligible Connecticut residents. This includes the state’s first rapid testing site at the former Gateway Community College campus at Long Wharf in New Haven. Read more about the testing and how to sign up here.
How We Feel App
This week Governor Lamont announced that the State of Connecticut is partnering with the developers of the How We Feel App to anonymously provide scientists with critical health information needed to understand the spread of COVID-19. The App is available to download for free in the Apple App Store and the Google Play store, it is supported by a nonprofit organization and does not require logging in or the sharing of any personal details, such as name or email address. In addition to being available to download to mobile devices, users can also complete the survey through a web version available at howwefeel.app.
Latest Information for Workers
Filing for Unemployment Benefits
As of April 22nd, the Connecticut Department of Labor (DOL) has processed more than 80% of the 397,000 unemployment claims it has received since March 13 – equivalent to what they would normally process over 2 years. By doubling its staff and implementing technology improvements, the DOL continues to speed processing time.
If you have any questions please go to the Department of Labor website where they created a FAQ sheet that is updated daily and a short video to help individuals who need to file for benefits.
Anyone who is filing for benefits is strongly encouraged to select direct deposit since this is the quickest method to receive the benefits. All claims will be retroactive to the week you filed. Read the DOL information here.
Additional federal stimulus benefits, including $600 in additional weekly payments, will begin April 27
The CT DOL announced it will begin processing for the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC), which adds $600 in federal stimulus funds to every weekly state benefit payment, starting with the week ending April 4, 2020, through the week ending July 25, 2020. The DOL expects those payments to be processed starting April 27. So, if your regular weekly benefit rate is $200, you will receive $800 that week. You will receive additional payments paid retroactively to the first week you filed for benefits after March 29, 2020. You do not need to take any additional action to apply for this benefit.
In addition, the DOL expects to begin accepting claim applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance – the federal program that provides benefits for self-employed individuals and independent contractors – by April 30. PLEASE NOTE: You will need to file for regular benefits at www.filectui.com before filing for PUA. Please refer to the DOL FAQ sheet for details.
Latest Information for Businesses
Paycheck Protection Program Resumes
With the passing of a second business relief package, the SBA will resume taking applications for business assistance under the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program Monday morning at 10:30.
The new package includes:
- An additional $320 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program with a greater focus on helping small businesses:
- Minimum of $30 billion in PPP will be set aside for community development financial institutions, banks and credit unions with less than $10 billion in assets.
- Another $30 billion in PPP at least will go to banks and credit unions with assets between $10 billion and $50 billion.
- An additional $60 billion in loans and grants for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program. (This program provides a $10,000 emergency grants as well as loans for eligible businesses)
Businesses should contact their banks as soon as possible to check on previously submitted applications or to file a new application.
Ways You Can Help
Helping Trumbull Neighbors in Need – Food Drive!
Trumbull residents continue to show their generosity by donating to the weekly Social Distancing Food Drive hosted by myself, fellow legislators, and the Trumbull EMS. This week we collected over $700 in cash, check and gift card contributions in addition to a nearly full truck of food and household items.
We will be back every Wednesday from 4 PM – 6 PM in the parking lot of the Trumbull Library at 33 Quality Street for as long as there is a need. Please come by and donate to help our neighbors in need.
Volunteer to Help Your Community
I hear from many individuals that they would like an opportunity to help out in some way during this pandemic. The Governor recently announced a new centralized program for residents to sign up to volunteer. Interested? You can find out more here.
The state maintains a web site that carries useful information and resources for many stakeholders. The site is updated regularly and includes a helpful “frequently asked questions” guide. I’m also providing a link to the executive orders issued to date by the Governor.
State’s coronavirus information site
Click here for frequently asked questions
Emergency Executive Orders issued by the Governor
You can also sign up for CTAlert, the state’s emergency alert system, which provides text message notifications to users. To subscribe, text the keyword COVIDCT to 888-777.
Updates from the Town of Fairfield are available here and from the Town of Trumbull here.
I also provide regular updates on Facebook and will continue to provide updates as this public health emergency changes. In the meantime, I welcome hearing from you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out by phone 860-240-8700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, please stay safe and stay home. Together we can flatten the curve.