COVID – 19 May Updates

Federal Daily Update from Senator Chris Murphy

May 12th:

  • Senator Murphy pressed Anthony Fauci and other administration officials from the White House Coronavirus Taskforce on our nation’s preparedness and their response to COVID-19 during the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee hearing titled “Covid-19: Getting Back to Work and Back to School.” You can watch video of Murphy’s questioning here

 

The Connecticut State Legislative, Executive, Regulatory, & Local 

May 13th:

  • Governor Ned Lamont announced that members of the Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group’s business committee will hold a roundtable discussion on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 10:00 a.m. regarding the impact of COVID-19 on the state’s business community.
  • Members of the public who have questions for the panel can email their inquiries to reopen@ct.gov. The discussion will be broadcast live by the Connecticut Network (CT-N) and available to watch on its cable television channel and through a live stream on CT-N.com.
Some of the members of the advisory group’s business committee who will participate in this roundtable include:
  • Moderator: David Lehman, Commissioner of the Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development
  • Joe Brennan, President and CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association
  •  Oni Chukwu, Executive Chairman of Aventri
  • Dan Meiser, Chairman of the Connecticut Restaurant Association
  • Fran Pastore, President and CEO of the Women’s Business Development Council
  • Meredith Reuben, CEO of EBP Supply Solutions
  • David Roche, President of the Connecticut Building Trades
  • Garrett Sheehan, President and CEO of the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce
Earlier this week, members of the advisory group’s education committee held a similar roundtable discussion regarding the impact of COVID-19 on schools. Video of that discussion can be watched online here.
The Reopen Connecticut Advisory Group is a panel of local health, business, workforce, and education experts who are consulting with the Lamont administration and legislative leadership on the reopening of Connecticut’s economy and education system as the nation emerges from the unprecedented public health emergency caused by COVID-19. The group is providing Governor Lamont with recommendations, which the governor is using to inform his decisions on the reopening of the state.

May 12th:

Governor Lamont  signed another executive order – the 40th since he enacted the emergency declarations – that builds upon his efforts to encourage mitigation strategies that slow down transmission of the virus. Executive Order No. 7MM enacts the following provisions:

  • Allows municipalities to expedite changes to their zoning rules or other ordinances to expand outdoor dining
  • Creates an expedited approval process for restaurants and other establishments that serve food to get fast-tracked permission to create or expand outdoor dining areas
  • Allows other businesses such as retail stores to get fast-tracked permission to sell goods on the sidewalk or in other outdoor areas, including shared spaces or spaces provided by municipalities
  • Allows restaurants and other businesses who already have liquor permits to serve alcohol only with food without applying for a separate patio or extension of use permit
  • Allows private clubs to sell alcohol only to their members for delivery or pickup
  • NOTE: A separate executive order will provide for the Phase I reopening of businesses and other activity, including those that are subject to today’s order. All of the Phase I reopening activity will be subject to operating rules issued by the Department of Economic and Community Development.

May 8th:

Guidance for Phase 1 of reopening plans

  • During his news briefing this afternoon, Governor Lamont and Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner David Lehman outlined some of the details his administration is considering for Phase 1 of Connecticut’s reopening plans on May 20. Documents containing guidance for businesses about those plans are currently being finalized and are anticipated to be released later Friday evening or on Saturday. As soon as those documents are ready, they will be published online at ct.gov/coronavirus and publicly noticed so that businesses can have an opportunity to review the details.

Additional $3 million in funding available for COVID-19 Business Response Program

  • The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has committed an additional $3 million to the COVID-19 Business Response Program, which provides financial relief to minority-owned and women-owned small businesses negatively impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The program, administered by the Hartford Economic Development Corporation (HEDCO), provides zero-interest lines of credit of up to $20,000 to small businesses with 20 or fewer employees. Since the program was announced last month, HEDCO has received 607 applications and 137 small businesses have been approved for $1.6 million in assistance.
  • DECD, by increasing its financial commitment from $2 million to $5 million, will more than double the number of companies receiving financial support during this difficult time. HEDCO is no longer accepting applications for the program – the additional $3 million will be directed to applications previously received.

Department of Revenue Services extends deadlines for certain administrative protests and tax appeals

Face coverings remain available for essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees

  • The State of Connecticut is continuing to distribute free face coverings to essential small businesses with fewer than 50 employees through a partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and its affiliate CONNSTEP. Eligible businesses include those defined as essential by the Department of Economic and Community Development.
  • Eligible essential small businesses can request up to two free face coverings per employee by filling out the form at ctcovidresponse.org.

May 7th:

Self-employed residents seeking aid can now apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance

  • The Connecticut Department of Labor today announced that it has made active the filing site so those who are self-employed can complete the necessary filing applications for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Those seeking to apply should visit www.filectui.com and locate the red button labeled with the PUA designation. The site will accept applications from self-employed individuals, including independent contractors and “gig” workers who have already applied through the state unemployment system and have received a determination notice in the mail.
  • The first step, which requires individuals to file an application on the state unemployment system, generates a determination notice that is sent by applications via mail. The notice, also known as a UC-58, notifies those eligible to file as a self-employed person that wage data is not available and disqualifies them for state benefits. Under guidelines set by the federal government, this two-step process ensures accurate accounting and integrity measures.
  • Because self-employed individuals already applied through the state unemployment system, the newly-built PUA site will have a record of a person’s state benefit ineligibility status. The PUA system requires applicants to create an account with a unique password and ID. The secure site also collects the applicant’s name, birthdate, and social security number, in addition to wage information.
  • Applicants will also be asked the date when COVID-19 impacted their employment. Federal guidelines allow this to go back to February 2, 2020. If an unemployed status goes back to retroactive weeks, the system requires applicants to provide weekly earnings through the current week filing.
  • For more information on how to apply for benefits under the PUA system, read the press release issued today by the Connecticut Department of Labor.
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