I wanted to take this opportunity to share a summary of state, local and other useful information resources available to you in response to the coronavirus outbreak. If you need additional information, please contact me at Bill.Simanski@housegop.ct.gov. Although the Capitol is closed, legislators and staff continue to work from home.
General FAQ Sheet: Click Here.
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 and is updated on a continual basis.
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.
As the state continues its battle against COVID-19 and we brace for an impending peak in case rates, the House Republican Caucus created a website directory for families, business owners and employees seeking to navigate these extraordinary economic conditions. Click Here.
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidance: Click Here
Hartford Healthcare resources and information: Click Here
Additionally, the Connecticut Children’s Medical Center has released a coronavirus FAQs page for parents trying to navigate health care concerns during this evolving situation.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued travel guidance for Connecticut, New York and New Jersey urging residents to refrain from non-essential travel for 14 days. Click Here.
As part of the effort to slow the spread of coronavirus, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7BB requiring the use of cloth face coverings or higher level protection in public in situations where close contact is unavoidable. The order takes effect at 8:00 p.m. Monday, April 20th.
The use of masks has been encouraged by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) after recent studies indicated that the virus can be spread by asymptomatic and pre-symptomatic individuals interacting in close proximity.
Assistance and Information on Unemployment Claims
During this time, the Department of Labor (DOL), has received record numbers of claims for unemployment insurance and inquiries about benefits. Below are the recommendations for those seeking additional information and assistance with claims.
Visit the online assistance center at www.filectui.com
General questions can be submitted at email@example.com. A response can be expected in 3 to 5 business days, depending on volume.
American Job Centers are closed to in-person visits, but you may call 860- 263-6975 or 203-455-2653 for general information concerning your unemployment benefits. Unemployment claims cannot be processed or expedited by calling this telephone service.
Additional contact information is available on page 3 of the DOL FAQ Sheet
The state’s Department of Labor (DOL) has compiled general information for workers and employers who may have questions that arise from the COVID-19 outbreak. Click Here.
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. Click Here.
Moratorium on Utility Shut-Offs: Attorney General William Tong announced recently that the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority (PURA) has granted an emergency moratorium on electric, natural gas, and water utility shut-offs in response to the coronavirus pandemic. The Office of the Attorney General filed a formal petition seeking to cease all utility service terminations for a 30 day period subject to renewal to ensure all residents may safely remain home during the epidemic. Click Here.
In response to the challenges that many Americans are facing, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) announced the Keep Americans Connected Initiative to ensure that Americans do not lose their broadband or telephone connectivity. So far, more than 650 companies and associations have signed the pledge to Keep Americans Connected.
Consumers can visit their individual carriers’ websites for confirmation. Those known so far that have signed this pledge: Altice, Cox, Verizon, Charter Communications, Frontier, Xfinity/Comcast.
During civil preparedness and public health emergencies, price gouging is against Connecticut law. Price gouging or profiteering means increasing the price of an item for sale at retail by more than could be justified in the ordinary course of business market fluctuations. Click Here.
Avoiding Fraud and Scams
The Department of Consumer Protection (DCP) issued a statement warning Connecticut residents of faux ‘work from home’ employment schemes. In addition, DCP has issued warnings about potential profiteering schemes, false charity scams, and phishing attacks. The DCP has created a resource page with information and instructions on how to report incidences of potential fraud. Consumer Resources
Governor Ned Lamont announced that his administration has reached an agreement 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: Click Here.
Governor Lamont issued an executive order stating that landlords may not issue evictions to residential tenants before July 1, 2020 and must grant an automatic 60-day grace period for payment of April rent. Additionally, tenants may be granted a 60-day grace period for payment of May rent upon written request to their landlords, noting that the non-payment reason is COVID-19-related.
Please note that tenants remain liable for unpaid rent, and landlords and tenants must continue to comply with the terms of the original rental agreement. Read More
The administration announced in executive order 7S, “Beginning on April 1, 2020 for a period of 60 days, no insurer in Connecticut – including life, health, auto property, casualty, and other types – may lapse or terminate a covered insurance policy because a policyholder does not pay a premium or interest during this time. This grace period is not automatic. To be eligible, affected policyholders must provide additional information acceptable to their insurance carriers.” Read More
The Federal Government passed into law the “CARES Act” that offers relief in response to the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak. The US Chamber of Commerce has put together a helpful guide on the different aspects of the program and eligibility requirements. Click Here.
The Department of Economic and Community Development has also put together a guide for small businesses for how to navigate the programs. Click Here.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a federal initiative providing forgivable loans. This program is aimed specifically at small businesses with 500 or fewer employees, including nonprofit entities (including churches), veterans’ organizations, tribal concerns, self-employed individuals, sole proprietorships and independent contractors. Businesses with more than 500 employees are eligible in certain industries. Read More
Governor Lamont announced the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) will be accepting applications for loans of up to $2 million to help individual businesses that have been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.
For specific information on how to apply for the SBA’s disaster assistance loan you can Click Here or call 1-800-659-2955.
Businesses with questions about the SBA loan program or other assistance provided at the state level can call 860-500-2333 to speak directly with a Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) representative.
The Department of Revenue Services has also extended certain filing deadlines for businesses, to review the new guidelines you can Click Here.
The Connecticut Business and Industry Association (CBIA) has compiled a collection of guidance, resources, and information for employers. Click Here.
The National Federation of Independent Business has set up a website with access to articles, webinars, etc. NFIB advocates for small business at both the federal and state level and has a strong presence at the State Capitol. The site will be continually updated to reflect any new developments. Click Here.
Resources for Small Business
State agencies including representatives from the Department of Economic and Community Development, the Insurance Department, the Department of Banking, and the Small Business Administration held a conference call with small business owners to discuss the coronavirus outbreak and resources for economic recovery. Listen to the call below: Click Here.
Resources for Women and Minority Owned Businesses
The Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO) has partnered with the State of Connecticut, the CT Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD) and the CT Minority Business Initiative to provide financial relief to Connecticut minority-owned and women-owned small businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Under this COVID-19 Business Response Program, a qualifying small business with 20 or fewer employees may apply for a potentially forgivable zero-interest Line of Credit for up to $20,000 to provide working capital. Learn More
Grants for Manufacturing Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)
The Connecticut Manufacturing Innovation Fund Voucher Program (MVP) recently announced a new grant program of up to $75,000 for manufacturers that expand or realign production to meet critical needs for medical equipment and supplies. Needed supplies include, but are not limited to, eye protection, face shields, isolation gowns, face masks and respirators. Apply Here
All current executive orders from Governor Lamont: Click Here.
The Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has published industry-specific guidelines for businesses eligible for Phase One reopening. These guides outline best practices for keeping workers and customers safe. The ultimate decision to open will rest with the owners and/or management of these businesses and organizations.
Download Guides by Sector:
Please note that, businesses must self-certify and commit to comply with the Sector Rules established to keep their employees and customers safe. Once completed, businesses will be provided with signage and a badge that can be voluntarily posted at your place of business or website. The self-certification process can be accessed by clicking here.
State agencies held a roundtable discussion with the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Committee for businesses, a video recording of the conversation is available here.
The State of Connecticut has also launched an online reopening and recovery website for businesses. The website is a one-stop resource for information on coronavirus-related business restrictions, business assistance and relief, licensing and permit guidance, employee support and more. The site can be accessed at business.ct.gov/recovery.
During this difficult time there are many ways for us to come together as a community to protect our front-line providers during this outbreak. Below are just a few organizations and opportunities to be of service.
Masks for Heroes
In an effort to help protect first responders and front-line emergency workers, a statewide program Masks for Heroes has been launched by the Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven. Already, approximately 500,000 masks have been distributed to every corner the state but hundreds of thousands more will be needed.
The grassroots partnership distributes Level 1, FDA approved masks to hospitals, first responders and other front-line emergency workers to combat the COVID-19 virus.
100% of all donations go directly to protect medical staff, care-givers, and first responders throughout Connecticut. If you would like to donate, you can make your tax-deductible gift online or make your tax-deductible check payable to Jewish Federation of Greater New Haven and mail to 360 Amity Road, Woodbridge CT 06525 attention: Masks for Heroes. Click Here.
CT COVID-19 Charity Connection
The Connecticut COVID-19 Charity Connection known as 4-CT was founded with the mission of supporting non-profit and charitable organizations across the state. 4-CT is providing financial support to organizations that provide childcare for first responders, food banks and other front-line providers. Click Here.
Request for Personal Protective Equipment
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has organized an effort to collect Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to distribute to hospitals and long-term care facilities. Needed items include: protective clothing, helmets, goggles, or other garments or equipment designed to protect the wearer’s body from injury or infection that are utilized by people providing healthcare services. Click Here.
Request for Volunteers
As part of the effort to increase the capacity of our state’s healthcare system, the State of Connecticut is calling for medical and non-medical volunteers to help ensure that every community in our state can combat the pandemic. Click Here.