CRMA needs your input. CRMA is here for you. Member of the General Assembly contracts Coronavirus. Latest updates on the coronavirus. Other news and notes. Links to live by.

We need your input… CRMA is in contact with state officials, and there are discussions underway at the Capitol on how to help business like yours that have been, and will be, impacted.

Please let us know, or as soon as possible, what actions you’d like to see from state government that will help your business.  Send email directly to CRMA President Tim Phelan at tim@crmaonline.com

  • At CRMA we pledge to do our level best to provide you with information regarding the coronavirus and the impact it is having on the retail community. No matter what type of retailer you are, or what size retailer you are, CRMA is here to help you. So, please don’t hesitate to call or email us.
  • As we mentioned above, we have been in contact with members of the General Assembly and their staff and have urged them to not forget the devastating impact this crisis is having on our members. We will continue to reach out them.
  • Also, due to the fast-moving news that is accompanying the coronavirus outbreak, we are modifying our FF to try and give you a little more depth on what we know.

Member of General Assembly contract coronavirus.

  • The virus has hit a member of the CT General Assembly. Rep. Jane Garibay of Windsor emailed her colleagues Thursday night confirming the news.
  • Remember, the General Assembly closed down last week, in part to take some time to figure out what next steps the state should take to deal with the virus, but also so that the Capitol Complex could go under a deep cleaning.
  • Now that one member has contracted coronavirus it is possible that others might as well and that could force changes in how and when the General Assembly will go back into session.
  • Speaking of the General Assembly, in our discussion with some legislative leaders this week, it is still unclear on when they will go back into session. They had targeted the end of March, but that seems optimistic to us. 

Review of Ct action on coronavirus this week.

  • A lot has transpired for retailers in just a few days. Here is a quick summary:
  • Shopping Malls Close: The states of CT, NY, NJ and PA have jointly agreed, as of Thursday March 19 at 8 PM, to close large shopping malls through April 30, and unless earlier modified, extended, or terminated, any stores, pharmacies, restaurants, or other establishments located within or connected to large shopping malls must be closed to the public. Gov. Lamont’s executive order can be seen here.  It also applies to bowling alleys and amusement parks.
  • Temporarily Halt Enforcement of Bottle Redemption Requirements: Effective March 17, 2020, the Connecticut Department of Energy & Environmental Protection (DEEP) temporarily suspended enforcement actions against Connecticut retailers for failing to accept empty beverage containers for redemption under the law known as the “bottle bill.”  During this time, if stores do not accept empty beverage containers, DEEP will not issue them a notice of violation. More info is available here.
  • More closures: Lamont has directed the temporary closure of barbershops, hair salons, tattoo or piercing parlors, and related businesses effective 8PM Friday. And the state presidential primary has been moved from April 28 to June 2.
  • Bridge Loan Program in the Works: State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Commissioner David Lehman, on a conference call with Gov. Lamont and business leaders, indicated that a short-term, low interest bridge recovery loan program is being developed by his department, which they anticipate will be rolled out early next week. They are looking to have loans cover approximately 3 months of operating expenses to assist businesses.  Lehman also anticipated support and assistance for small businesses from private financial institutions in the state. CTNewsJunkie has details here.
  • CRMA is going to reach out directly to Commissioner Lehman’s office to discuss its program’s impact on retailers. We are concerned that these types of programs often do not reach the business that really need the assistance.

Federal Update

  • While the General Assembly and Governor Lamont’s office are talking about what items to take up when the General Assembly goes back into session, Congress is poised to take some action that might help CT retailers.
  • As part of the Congressional discussions, our friends at the National Retail Federation Urged the President, Congress to Assist Retail Recovery:
  • NRF is asking President Donald Trump and congressional leaders to provide a government-backed loan program, stays on defaults and foreclosures, and other measures to help retailers and their employees survive the coronavirus outbreak. “Our members tell us that the most important support they can get from the federal government would be access to credit that can sustain them until consumers are back in the marketplace,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay wrote in a letter. A copy of the letter can be seen here.
  • As news from D.C. comes to us, we will keep you up to date as best we can.

Other news and notes:

  • Our friends at Eversource Energy Responds to COVID-19: Eversource is taking steps to alleviate any financial concerns its customers may face, and a series of operational actions to assure preparedness. Southington Observer reports details here.
  • Number of COVID-19 Cases Increasing in CT:   A third CT resident has died from coronavirus, Gov. Ned Lamont announced Thursday, and the number of confirmed cases in the state rose to 159, including 102 in Fairfield County and 23 in New Haven County.  Details at CT Mirror here.
  • In the no surprise department: Unemployment Jumps More Than 10-Fold: The state Department of Labor continued to receive unemployment claims at unprecedented levels Thursday, topping 14,000. Officials received 2,000 claims on Friday, 8,000 over the weekend, 10,000 each on Monday and Tuesday, and 12,000 on Wednesday.  A few weeks ago, before most coronavirus-related closures had happened, the department had been receiving roughly 3,000 new jobless claims per week. CT Mirror has the story. 
  • CT in Strong Financial Position: Connecticut state government’s cash flow — and therefore its ability to respond to the economic impact of the coronavirus — remains very strong, according to State Treasurer Shawn Wooden.  CT Mirror has more.

Important Coronavirus links to live by:

  • Official State Website: 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 gov/coronavirus. The state has also set up a dedicated 2-1-1 hotline and an email address, COVID19.jic@ct.gov, to answer questions and provide information on available testing. People can also text “COVID19” to 898211 for information.  Department of Labor information, for employers and employees, is available here.
  • Jackson Labs steps up: CTNewsJunkie has a good look at what Jackson Labs in Farmington is doing to help with testing for COVID-19. You can go here for that.
  • Governor orders changes in liquor delivery: Governor Lamont also allowed for restaurants and other liquor permittees to sell sealed alcoholic beverages off premise. The Courant has more on that here.
  • CRMA will continue to keep you as up-to-date as possible with the fast-moving developments related to COVID-19. We will be sending you special editions of FF as events warrant, and as part of our usual update each Friday. 
  • We look forward to hearing from you. CRMA is your voice at the State Capitol!