Download Governor Lamont's Coronavirus FAQ CLICK HERE


Coronavirus (Covid-19) Information and Resources


I want to take this opportunity to share state and local resources and information available to you in response to the coronavirus outbreak. The state of Connecticut has launched an extensive website portal.ct.gov/coronavirus with daily updates on the situation as it develops and serves as a directory to other helpful online resources. This website has helpful information for families, businesses and community groups.

Additionally, the state has launched a 24/7 hotline, in cooperation with United Way of Connecticut, for questions from the public regarding issues related to the spread of coronavirus. People with questions can call 2-1-1 or text “CTCOVID” to 898211 for the most up-to-date information. 

Governor Lamont has declared a civil preparedness and public health emergency for the State of Connecticut in response to recent cases of coronavirus, and he and public health officials will provide daily updates on the situation as it develops.

March 13th Update Click Here

March 14th Update Click Here 

March 15th Update Click Here

March 16th Update Click Here

March 17th Update Click Here

March 18th Update Click Here

March 18th Update No.2 Click Here

March 18th Update No.3 Click Here

March 19th Update Click Here

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March 20th Update Click Here

March 21st Update Click Here

March 22nd Update Click Here

March 22nd Update No.2 Click Here

March 22nd Update No.3 Click Here

March 23rd Update Click Here

March 24th Update No.1 Click Here

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March 25th Update: Click Here

March 26th Update No. 1 Click Here

March 26th Update No. 2 Click Here

March 26th Update No. 3 Click Here

March 27th Update Click Here

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March 29th Update No. 1 Click Here

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March 30th Update No. 1 Click Here

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April 1st Update Click Here

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May 1st Update Click Here

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May 15th Update Click Here

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May 23rdUpdate Click Here

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June 1st Update Click Here

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June 2nd Update NO. 2 Click Here

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June 24th Update Click Here

June 24th Update No. 2 Click Here

June 25th Update Click Here

June 25th Update No. 2 Click Here

*In Connecticut during the early months of this pandemic, it became increasingly clear that it would be necessary to track probable COVID-19 cases and deaths, in addition to laboratory-confirmed (RT- PCR) cases and deaths. This was needed to better measure the burden and impact of this disease in our communities and is now part of the national surveillance case definition for COVID-19. Probable cases of COVID-19 involve persons who have not had confirmatory laboratory testing (RT-PCR) performed for COVID-19, but whose symptoms indicate they are likely to have a COVID-19 infection. In Connecticut, most of the probable COVID-19 cases involve persons whose death certificates list COVID-19 disease or SARS-CoV-2 as a cause of death or a significant condition contributing to death. Prior to June 1, probable and confirmed cases were reported together.

Latest COVID-19 Testing Data in Connecticut

Updated 4:00 p.m. on Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Total patients who tested positive: 43954 confirmed/1959 probable

There have been 4287 COVID-19-associated fatalities.

Fairfield County: 15896/303

Hartford County: 10782/312

Litchfield County: 1406/20

Middlesex County: 1214/38

New Haven County: 11838/150

New London County: 1159/26

Tolland County: 828/14

Windham County: 581/1

Pending address validation: 250/0

Tables containing data about all of the test results completed to date, including a breakdown of the locations and ages of the patients, can be found by visiting ct.gov/coronavirus.

Governor Lamont’s Executive orders:

Executive Order No. 7

Executive Order No. 7A

Executive Order No. 7B

Executive Order No. 7C

Executive Order No. 7D

Executive Order No. 7E

Executive Order No. 7F

Executive Order No. 7G

Executive Order No. 7H

Executive Order No. 7I

Executive Order No. 7J

Executive Order No. 7K

Executive Order No. 7L

Executive Order No. 7M

Executive Order No. 7N

Executive Order No. 7O

Executive Order No. 7P

Executive Order No. 7Q

Executive Order No. 7R

Executive Order No. 7S

Executive Order No. 7T

Executive Order 7U

Executive Order No. 7V

Executive Order No. 7W

Executive Order No. 7X

Executive Order No. 7Y

Executive Order No. 7Z

Executive Order No. 7AA

Executive Order No. 7BB

Executive Order No. 7CC

Executive Order No. 7DD

Executive Order No. 7EE

Executive Order No. 7FF

Executive Order No. 7GG

Executive Order No. 7HH

Executive Order No. 7II

Executive Order No. 7JJ

Executive Order No. 7KK

Executive Order No. 7LL

Executive Order No. 7MM

Executive Order No. 7NN

Executive Order No. 7OO

Executive Order No. 7PP

Executive Order No. 7QQ

Executive Order No. 7RR

Executive Order No. 7SS

Executive Order No. 7TT

Executive Order NO 7UU

Executive Order No. 7VV

Executive Order No. 7WW

Executive Order No. 7XX

Executive Order No. 7YY

Executive Order No. 7ZZ

Executive Order No. 7AAA

Executive Order No. 7BBB

Executive Order No. 7CCC

The state’s Department of Public Health (DPH), with the support of several state agencies, launched the State of Connecticut Joint Information Center (JIC) as part of a coordinated effort to provide critical institutions playing a major role in the response with information on developments related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

The JIC is intended to provide all stakeholders – including the media, municipalities, school districts, hospitals, medical providers, colleges and universities, the business community, and others – with a resource to for specific information related to the State of Connecticut and its response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

The JIC can be contacted 24 hours a day, 7 days a week by calling 860-754-8342 or emailing COVID19.JIC@ct.gov.

Information from the JIC will also be shared on its Twitter account at @COVID19CT and on Facebook at CT COVID-19 Response.

The JIC has established operations within the State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Hartford and is being headed by DPH in coordination with the Office of the Governor, the Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection (including the Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the State Police), the Department of Economic and Community Development, the State Department of Education, the Office of Early Childhood, the Department of Children and Families, the Department of Social Services, and others.

Local Resources

Information for Businesses

Executive Order 7X Extends Certain Closures Until At Least May 20, 2020

In Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7X, he extended school closures and other previously declared non-essential businesses until May 20th, including:

  • restaurant, bar, and private club operations. Current take-out/delivery operations may continue
  • closing on-site operations at off-track betting facilities
  • closing operations at gyms, sports, fitness, and recreation facilities and movie theaters.
  • closing large shopping malls.
  • closing places of public amusement.

Connecticut Recovery Bridge Program

Governor Lamont announced the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Program, an emergency no-interest bridge loan program for Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits impacted by COVID-19. This new program, overseen by the Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD), will provide one-year, no-interest loans of up to $75,000 to qualified Connecticut small businesses and non-profits.

This first-come, first-served $25 million short-term emergency bridge loan program is designed to provide cash flow relief to struggling businesses and may be used for salaries and other operating expenses.

All loans will be due in a balloon payment at the end of 12 months, but may be pre-paid without penalty. Applicants are responsible for the payment of DECD’s legal costs to prepare the contract documents, even if the loan is not funded. Payment to DECD for these costs must occur before disbursement.

To be eligible a small business or non-profit must:

  • have no more than 100 employees
  • be in good standing with Department of Revenue Services and DECD
  • have been profitable prior to March 10, 2020
  • have no personal credit report 60 days past due in the past six months

A personal guarantee and credit score are required, and the DECD Commissioner has the authority to request collateral to secure any loan provided under this program.

Businesses ineligible to receive the loans include those involved in:

  • real estate
  • multi-level marketing
  • adult entertainment
  • cannabis
  • firearms

State elected public officials or state employees are also ineligible.

All eligibility and application information can be found on the state’s COVID-19 website at ct.gov/coronavirus.

An overview of the program can be found here: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/CT-Recovery-Bridge-Loan-Program

To Apply: https://portal.ct.gov/DECD/Content/Coronavirus-Business-Recovery/Emergency-Bridge-Loan-Application-Form

Disaster relief available to provide assistance for small business owners

Connecticut small businesses negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak can now apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (up to $2 million) through the U.S. Small Business Administration.

You can learn more about the program and its three-step process in English or Spanish at www.sba.gov/disaster, and begin the online application process here.  Or call the SBA at 1-800-659-2955.

Additionally, small business owners with questions about the SBA loan program or other types of state-level assistance can call 860-500-2333 to speak with a representative from the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development.

SBA DISASTER RELIEF LOANS – SIMPLIFYING YOUR STEPS TO APPLYING

From: Barbara Coleman-Hekeler, President, Southington Chamber of Commerce

Dear Business Owner:

Many of you have attempted to apply on the SBA website for the Disaster Relief Loans available due to the economic impact COVID-19 continues to have on your business.

If you are among those who received a message stating that your business is not part of the designated area, please consider the steps below.

I personally reached out to the SBA Customer Service Department and spoke with a specialist having her walk me through the steps so that I could help simplify this process for you.

Checking an incorrect box could deem your application ineligible.

STEPS TO APPLY:

  •    go to https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ – it will take you to the page needed
  •    here you will see three bubbles in Red, Blue and Green
  •    Click the red bubble – eligible disaster areas
  •    Type in Connecticut and choose your county
  •    Southington is in Hartford County
  •    Hit ‘filter’ – this will bring you to a list of eligible counties and contiguous counties – this is for you to verify your business  is in one of these areas. No action steps are taken here.
  •    Once you verified your county is here, click the bottom left ‘return to declaration’
  •    Now Click the Blue Bubble to apply

VERY IMPORTANT: DO NOT CLICK ANYTHING BUT “ECONOMIC INJURY” AS YOUR REASON FOR APPLYING (If you click anything but “Economic Injury” or anything in addition to “Economic Injury” you will be denied. These are working capital loans and any other reason you check automatically renders you ineligible. You will need to apply again properly for your application to even be reviewed.)

If after taking these proper steps you still have issues, please let me know. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions and responses regarding eligibility, loan amounts, need for collateral, interest rates, etc.

SBA Assistance:

The U.S. Small Business Administration approved Governor’s request to begin offering disaster-relief loans to small businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut. This announces that Connecticut businesses now have access to the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

How much can you borrow?

Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million.

The interest rates for this disaster are 3.75 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years.

Eligibility for these working capital loans are based on the size (must be a small business) and type of business and its financial resources.

How can you use the loans?

These are working capital loans that may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits for expansion.

What type of small businesses can apply?

Examples of eligible industries include but are not limited to hotels, recreational facilities, charter boats, manufacturers, sports vendors, owners of rental property, restaurants, retailers, souvenir shops, travel agencies, and wholesalers.

What other criteria is involved?

The applicant business must have a physical presence in the declared disaster area. An applicants economic presence alone in a declared area does not meet this requirement. The physical presence must be tangible and significant. Merely having a P.O. Box in the disaster area would not qualify as a physical presence.

Collateral Requirements!

Economic Injury Disaster Loans over $25,000 require collateral

SBA rakes real estate as collateral when it is available.

SBA will not decline a loan for lack collateral, but requires borrowers to pledge what is available.

How to apply!

Applicants do not go through a bank to apply. Instead apply directly to SBA’s Disaster Assistance Program at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/

There is no cost to apply.

There is no obligation to take the loan if offered.

The maximum unsecured loan is $25,000.

Applicants can have an existing SBA Disaster Loan and still qualify for an EIDL for this disaster, but the loans cannot be consolidated.

Please let me know if I may be of further assistance. These are uncertain times in uncharted territory for many of us. Your Chamber is working hard on your behalf to help meet the expressed needs of your business. Continue to reach out daily by phone or email. Together we will accomplish what no one person can alone.

Be Well!

Barbara Coleman-Hekeler

President, Southington Chamber of Commerce

www.southingtonchamber.com

DRS extends filing deadline for certain annual state business tax returns

Consistent with the emergency declarations, the Connecticut Department of Revenue Services (DRS) is granting an automatic extension of Connecticut filing deadlines for certain annual state tax returns as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Effective immediately, the filing deadlines for certain annual tax returns due on or after March 15, 2020, and before June 1, 2020, are extended by 30 days. In addition, the payments associated with these returns are also extended to the corresponding due date in June.

The impacted returns and the associated filing dates and payment deadlines are set forth below:

  • 2019 Form CT-1065/CT-1120 SI Connecticut Pass-Though Entity Tax Return – filing date extended to April 15, 2020; payment deadline extended to June 15, 2020
  • 2019 Form CT-990T Connecticut Unrelated Business Income Tax Return – filing date extended to June 15, 2020; payment deadline extended to June 15, 2020
  • 2019 Form CT-1120 and CT-1120CU Connecticut Corporation Business Return – filing date extended to June 15, 2020; payment deadline extended to June 15, 2020

Additional updates will be posted to the DRS website.

State working with small businesses impacted by coronavirus

The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is working with small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. Specifically, the agency will defer loan payments for all Small Business Express loans for three months. Additional details include:

  • The Small Business Express program has approximately 800 outstanding loans with an aggregate loan balance of approximately $110 million.
  • The average loan has a five-year remaining term.
  • Approximately $5 million in loan payments will be deferred.
  • In addition, the state agency is making efforts accommodate other businesses with DECD loans that are being impacted.
Department of Economic and Community Development launches COVID-19 business response unit
The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) is launching the 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 this unit by calling 860-500-2333.

Education Information, including school meal program

Meals available for students attending schools closed due to COVID-19

The Connecticut State Department of Education received a waiver from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to allow students who are enrolled in schools that are closed due to COVID-19 and who receive meals through the school lunch program to continue receiving those meals and for them to be consumed at home, allowing for social distancing. This action is effective immediately.

For more information, please go to the Southington Public School Covid-19 Information Page.

Learn at Home

Scholastic learn at home: https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html

Virtual College Tours:  https://www.youvisit.com/collegesearch/

Connecticut Children’s Medical Center: The Ultimate School Closure ToolKit
Update from CT State College System

In response to the Coronavirus and subsequent closure of colleges statewide, Connecticut State College and Universities (CSCU) system President Ojakian announced measures they are taking to assist families financially and to support relief efforts and medical staff responding to the crisis.

He announced:

  • Room and board refunds. The universities will credit student accounts for unused room and board by next week. Thereafter, any credit balance will be refunded to students. Each institution is currently in the process of reaching out to students to outline the timeline and procedures. We are taking this action under the CSCU system’s existing administrative authority. Our institutions will not refund tuition and fees because we are converting to an online instruction model for the remainder of the term in order to complete the coursework that our students have begun this semester.
  • University housing. We have been working closely with the state’s emergency response team and have received specific requests to use residence halls at Southern and Western to temporarily house homeless individuals. The institutions are currently in the process of clearing those spaces and expect them to be available by the end of the week. Central and Eastern are also preparing for similar requests in coming days and will make residence halls available to meet the state’s emergency needs.
  • Paying employees. We have made the determination that while the campuses and system office remain shuttered, employees are directed to telework and will receive their pay as normal. Student workers will continue to be paid through the end of the semester.
  • Hosting blood drives. The COVID-19 crisis has led to a critical shortage of the nation’s blood supply because of a lack of donations. CSCU is working with the Red Cross to organize blood drives on our community college campuses during the outbreak. We will share additional details as they become available.

Help with Federal Student Aid

With the uncertainty surrounding the Coronavirus outbreak and suspension of classes at many schools, colleges and universities nationwide, Federal Student Aid (an office of the U.S. Department of Education) updated their website with information specifically for people with questions regarding student loans.

According to their site, “If you’re concerned about your studies or loan repayment, we can help you understand what to do in certain circumstances. We’ll be adding information for students, borrowers, and parents to this page on a regular basis, so please check back frequently.”

If you have questions about student aid, please go to: https://studentaid.gov/announcements-events/coronavirus

Medicare Expansion of Telemedicine

Medicare has temporarily expanded its coverage of telehealth services to respond to the current Public Health Emergency. These services expand the current telehealth covered services, to help you have access from more places (including your home), with a wider range of communication tools (including smartphones), to interact with a range of providers (such as doctors, nurse practitioners, clinical psychologists, and licensed clinical social worker). During this time, you will be able to receive a specific set of services through telehealth including evaluation and management visits (common office visits), mental health counseling and preventive health screenings. This will help ensure you are able to visit with your doctor from your home, without having to go to a doctor’s office or hospital, which puts you and others at risk of exposure to COVID-19.

  • You may be able to communicate with your doctors or certain other practitioners without necessarily going to the doctor’s office in person for a full visit. Medicare pays for “virtual check-ins”—brief, virtual services with your established physician or certain practitioners where the communication isn’t related to a medical visit within the previous 7 days and doesn’t lead to a medical visit within the next 24 hours (or soonest appointment available).
  • You need to consent verbally to using virtual check-ins and your doctor must document that consent in your medical record before you use this service. You pay your usual Medicare coinsurance and deductible for these services.
  • Medicare also pays for you to communicate with your doctors using online patient portals without going to the doctor’s office. Like the virtual check-ins, you must initiate these individual communications.
  • If you live in a rural area, you may use communication technology to have full visits with your doctors. The law requires that these visits take place at specified sites of service, known as telehealth originating sites, and get services using a real-time audio and video communication system at the site to communicate with a remotely located doctor or certain other types of practitioners. Medicare pays for many medical visits through this telehealth benefit.

Click here for more information

Husky Health Services

Expansion of Telemedicine Coverage for Medicaid/HUSKY Health Services

The Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS) is implementing changes in Medicaid/HUSKY Health that will support Connecticut’s COVID-19 preparedness and response through increased access to health services.Specifically, for approximately 850,000 enrolled residents, DSS will cover identified telemedicine services, effective today.

DSS is also planning to cover testing for COVID-19; make prescription drug coverage more flexible; and eliminate cost sharing in the Children’s Health Insurance Program (HUSKY B) and for members enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

At this time, telemedicine coverage includes:

  • Real-time video conferencing, as can be enabled with a smart phone, between HUSKY Health members and their health care providers for specific medical and behavioral health services. This will enable many members and doctors to communicate remotely, with Medicaid covering the virtual visit.
  • Broadening video conferencing in general to include all primary care type evaluation and management services for medical and behavioral health.

Unemployment/Layoff Information

Connecticut Department of Labor modifies unemployment insurance, offers programs

The Connecticut Department of Labor (CTDOL) has created a helpful informational FAQ for employees and employers impacted by the coronavirus outbreak. This information includes guidance about unemployment insurance, paid sick leave and absences, wages and hours, and family medical leave. Click Here to access the FAQ page.

DOL Commissioner Westby is suspending the requirement that workers applying for new unemployment benefits directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic be actively searching for work.

Unemployment benefits are available to workers whose employer needs to temporarily shut down or slow down business. Employees who are furloughed by the emergency but expect to return to work can access up to at least six weeks of benefits. Employers reducing hours but not furloughing employees can partner with CTDOL’s Shared Work program, which allows employers to reduce employees’ work schedules by 10 percent to 60 percent and supplement lost wages with unemployment benefits.

Connecticut unemployment insurance already excluded the waiting period other states have removed.

For a document containing a list of Frequently Asked Questions for workers and businesses regarding unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.

The link includes important information regarding benefits, availability, recourse if you feel you’ve been wrongfully terminated and much more.

For example:

How do I apply for Unemployment Insurance benefits or get more information about the process and requirements?
  • Please go to www.filectui.com Do I need any paperwork from my employer before I can file for unemployment benefits?
  • Do not delay filing your claim for unemployment benefits even if your employer has not issued you any paperwork. It is important to file as soon as you become unemployed to avoid being denied benefits.
  • For faster processing of your claim, please have your employer’s registration number and a return to work date readily available when you file your claim online.

For a document containing a list of Frequently Asked Questions for workers and businesses regarding unemployment insurance during the COVID-19 outbreak, click here.

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac Offering Loan Assistance

Federal loan companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have prepared options to provide relief to homeowners struggling with work slowdowns, layoffs and job losses caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Some of their modifications include suspension of foreclosures and evictions, delayed reporting to credit bureaus and loan forbearance for up to 12 months, and more.

It’s important to note: these measures are NOT automatic and must be applied for, and you must have a loan secured by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.  You must contact your lender or servicer directly.

Fannie Mae

Under Fannie Mae’s guidelines for single-family mortgages:

  • Homeowners who are adversely impacted by this national emergency may request mortgage assistance by contacting their mortgage servicer
  • Foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers are suspended for 60 days
  • Homeowners impacted by this national emergency are eligible for a forbearance plan to reduce or suspend their mortgage payments for up to 12 months
  • Credit bureau reporting of past due payments of borrowers in a forbearance plan as a result of hardships attributable to this national emergency is suspended
  • Homeowners in a forbearance plan will not incur late fees
  • After forbearance, a servicer must work with the borrower on a permanent plan to help maintain or reduce monthly payment amounts as necessary, including a loan modification

More information can be found here: https://www.fanniemae.com/portal/media/corporate-news/2020/covid-homeowner-assistance-options-7000.html

Freddie Mac

We are taking action to help make sure homeowners with Freddie Mac-owned mortgages who are directly or indirectly impacted by COVID-19 are able to stay in their homes during this challenging time. This includes offering the following mortgage relief options for those who are unable to make their mortgage payments due to a decline in income:

  • Providing mortgage forbearance for up to 12 months,
  • Waiving assessments of penalties and late fees,
  • Halting all foreclosure sales and evictions of borrowers living in Freddie Mac-owned homes until at least May 17, 2020,
  • Suspending reporting to credit bureaus of delinquency related to forbearance,
  • Offering loan modification options that lower payments or keep payments the same after the forbearance period.

More information can be found here: http://www.freddiemac.com/about/covid-19.html

These measures apply to loans made with either Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac, but other lenders may have similar plans in place. If you need assistance please contact your lender directly.

This information is not intended to be legal or financial advice, as always, please check with your lender/servicer for relief options that may be available to you.

Help for Residential Renters

Governor Lamont’s Executive Order 7X provided potential relief for residential renters during the pandemic.

Section 1 – For residential renters – *this is NOT rent forgiveness*

  • Landlords may not issue a notice to quit (notice to vacate the unit) before July 1, 2020
  • Landlords must grant an automatic 60 day grace period for payment of April rent
  • Landlords must grant a 60 day grace period for payment of May rent *UPON WRITTEN REQUEST FROM TENANT* noting non-payment reason is COVID-19 related

* nothing in this order shall relieve a tenant of liability for unpaid rent or of the obligation to comply with other terms of a rental agreement.

* nothing in this order shall relieve a landlord of the obligation to comply with a rental agreement.

Beware of Scammers

The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) said it is working with the National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) to stop scammers.

In an email, they wrote: In times of uncertainty, people often seek financial security. Unfortunately, the pandemic has resulted in numerous scams. The National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors (NAIFA) is working with the National Business Emergency Operations Center (NBEOC) to assist the interagency crisis action task force. With members in every Congressional district, NAIFA is uniquely situated to help with situational intelligence and deliver credible resources.

NAIFA’s consumer site provides individuals and businesses with information to avoid scams, tips on who to contact regarding health claims/questions, as well as how to find licensed, knowledgeable, ethical professionals to assist with financial security planning.

Consumers can find more information at https://security.naifa.org/covid-19 or one of the many NAIFA members licensed in the state.

AccessHealthCT

Anyone who loses employment qualifies for health insurance through AccessHealthCT

Office of Health Strategy Executive Director Vicki Veltri is reminding all Connecticut residents that any worker in the state who receives health insurance through their employer, becomes unemployed, and loses minimum essential coverage or receives COBRA – whether it is due to the COVID-19 outbreak or otherwise – qualifies all year-long for open enrollment through AccessHealthCT, the state’s health insurance marketplace. Those interested in applying can find more information at learn.accesshealthct.com/special.

AccessHealthCT also announced a NEW Special Enrollment Period for certain uninsured Connecticut residents to sign up for a health insurance plan offered by either of AHCT’s two insurance carriers.

  • Uninsured individuals can sign up for health insurance coverage through Access Health CT during the NEW Special Enrollment Period from Thursday, March 19 – Thursday, April 2, 2020.
  • The effective date of coverage for all enrollments during the NEW Special Enrollment Period will be April 1, 2020.
  • The only way to sign up for this NEW Special Enrollment Period is by calling 855-365-2428.
  • Individuals who experience a Qualifying Life Event (e.g. loss of coverage due to job change or unemployment) or qualify for Medicaid/Children’s Health Program (CHIP), can ALWAYS enroll online, in-person or over the phone and all help is free.

https://www.accesshealthct.com/AHCT/LandingPageCTHIX

Utilities Information

Connecticut Public Utility Regulatory Authority orders moratorium on shut-offs

In response to a petition filed by Attorney General William Tong, the Connecticut Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has ordered the gas, electric, and water public service companies it regulates to implement a shut-off moratorium and refrain from terminating utility service to residential customers, except for reasons of public safety, for a 30-day period subject to renewal to ensure all residents may safely remain home during the epidemic.

State Closures

Temporary suspension of certain state agency programs and services

Several Connecticut state agencies have made the decision to temporarily suspend certain programs and services in order to minimize the spread of COVID-19 to state employees and the public. The closures include:

  • Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP)

DEEP is closing all of its visitor centers and facilities associates with its State Parks that are open to the public and receive significant visitor traffic throughout the day. Examples include the visitor center at Dinosaur State Park and the Meigs Point Nature Center at Hammonasset State Park. The closures are effective immediately.

DEEP is also immediately suspending large gatherings at all of their facilities and parks. These include, for example, weddings that are held at Harkness Memorial State Park. The agency is typically required to provide custodial and other facilities support for these kinds of events. DEEP is sending cancellation notices to the groups that made reservations for these large gatherings through at least the end of April.

  • Department of Labor (CTDOL)

CTDOL is suspending the federal RESEA work-search program effective immediately. This program involves a more intensive process that mandates recipients of unemployment insurance go to the American Job Centers in person and receive one-on-one help. The agency anticipated serving 9,030 people this year. Suspending this program will reduce traffic in the centers and help limit in-person contact with the public. The agency still anticipates reaching its goal of serving 9,030 people this year.

Other Things To Do

Social distancing doesn’t have to be boring, and there are myriad activities available from taking a walk or a hike, riding a bicycle, reading a good book or taking a virtual tour of a magnificent gallery or museum. The links below offer great starting points, but I know you’ll also find other fun things to do.

Click here for great kid-friendly resources, complete with interactive games and quizzes, that may help your little ones understand the virus.

CT Trails: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Listing-of-State-Parks

Hike at a land preserve: http://www.ctconservation.org/findalandtrust

Find a hiking trail : https://www.ctwoodlands.org/

Online tours:

Museum of Natural History:  http://naturalhistory.si.edu/visit/virtual-tour

Guggenheim Museum: https://www.guggenheim.org/blogs/checklist/extending-the-museum-experience-with-virtual-reality

https://artsandculture.google.com/project/streetviews

Science Fun for Everyone: http://www.sciencefun.org/kidszone/experiments/

British Museum Virtual Tour: https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/
EBooks/Audiobooks from the Silas Bronson: http://www.bronsonlibrary.org/ebooks

Live presentations from the New England Aquarium:  https://www.neaq.org/visit/at-home-events-and-activities/

Can’t make it to Disney? Well, here are first-person videos of some of their famous rides! 
More museums 
Smithsonian Natural History: https://naturalhistory2.si.edu/vt3/NMNH/
Animals:
Houston Zoo (various animal cameras): https://www.houstonzoo.org/explore/webcams/
San Diego Zoo Animal Cams: https://kids.sandiegozoo.org/videos

Providing Continuing Information to Connecticut Residents

For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including guidance and other resources, all residents in the state are encouraged to visit  https://portal.ct.gov/coronavirus

Individuals who have general questions that are not answered on the website can also call 2-1-1 for assistance. The information line is available 24 hours a day and has multilingual assistance and TDD/TTY access for those with a hearing impairment. The hotline only intended to be used by individuals who are not experiencing symptoms but may have general questions related to COVID-19. Anyone experiencing symptoms is strongly urged to contact their medical provider to seek treatment.

Legislative Business

As part of the effort to slow the spread of the outbreak, the legislative leaders have announced the closure of the Legislative Office Building and State Capitol until Monday, March 30th. During this time the building will undergo a thorough cleaning and employees will continue working remotely. The General Assembly is currently convened in the “short session” which runs from February 5th through May 6th. Leaders of the House and Senate Republican and Democrat caucuses will continue to meet and discuss the extension of committee deadlines and how to proceed with legislative business.

Please share these resources with anyone you think may benefit from this information.