Legislature extends its closure
Governor issues another EO
Connecticut Bridge Loan Program Launched
Important news and notes from around State Government
Ct Coronavirus virus update
One more thing

Earlier this week legislative leaders announced that the State Capitol complex will extend its closure to April 13th

  • When the State Capitol was closed in mid-March, in the midst of the legislative session, legislators hoped to return by the end of the month. But that return date has now been pushed back to April 13, at the earliest.
  • The CRMA legislative committee will hold our bi-weekly conference call this upcoming week to bring members up-to-date on any new developments that might be taking place at the State Capitol.
  • We know that legislative leaders are continuing to talk about what the remaining session will look like, if and when members are called back into session.
  • We will keep you posted on any legislative developments.

Governor Seeks Disaster Declaration

  • Ned Lamont is seeking a presidential major disaster declaration for all of Connecticut due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the state.
  • If the declaration is approved, Connecticut residents as well as state and local governments, would gain access to additional federal assistance. Hartford Courant has details. 

Governor Lamont Issued his 15th Executive Order:

  • Late last night the Governor issued another Executive Order, this one aimed directly at some of our members.
  • The order requires all retail establishments that have been allowed to remain open and permit customers inside to take appropriate and reasonable measures to ensure customers maintain six feet of distance between each other and to manage any resulting lines to maintain such distance while people are waiting to enter.
  • It also requires these establishments, where reasonably practical, to employ touchless payment technology if they already have such technology available and the customer has such technology available.
  • Another key part of the Executive Order is the suspension of tax on single-use checkout bags.
  • The order temporarily suspends certain state statutes in order to suspend any tax on single-use plastic checkout bags at grocery stores and other retail businesses.
  • The order also prohibits employers of any grocery store or retail business from requiring their employees to bag items into a customer-provided reusable bag. Customers are still permitted to use reusable bags, but they may need to bag their own items.
  • You can look at the order for yourself by going here.

CT Bridge Loan announced

  • This week the Lamont’s administration Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) launched a zero-interest loan program to help Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been impacted by COVID-19. 
  • The Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program will be administered by the Department of Economic and Community Development and will make $25 million available to businesses and nonprofits in the state that have fewer than 100 employees. 
  • Loans will represent three months of operating expenses for a business and will be capped at $75,000. Companies will have 18 months to pay back the loans. 
  • For further information, you can contact our office by emailing CRMA President Tim Phelan, tim@crmaonline.com or 860 -527-1044.
  • You can also contact DECD at (860) 500-2333 or via email at decdctrecovery@ct.gov. Email is recommended due to high volume on phone lines. Additional eligibility information and guidance on the application process will be published soon at ct.gov/coronavirus. The DECD information on the program is here and the application is here.

Other news and notes from around the State

  • DRS anticipates updating the page regularly. As we noted in previous FF, DRS extended the filing deadline for certain annual state business tax returns.  Details here.
  • The state legislature’s nonpartisan Office of Fiscal Analysis has projected an increasing deficit in the current fiscal year and anticipates the current crisis will “negatively impact multiple fiscal years.” CTNewsJunkie has more.
  • The state Department of Labor has received an ‘unprecedented’ 99,000 unemployment insurance claims through Monday, officials said at a press conference Wednesday. The number of claims is about 20 times the normal level and the state now has a three-week backlog. Hartford Courant has more.
  • A record 3.28 million workers applied for unemployment benefits last week nationwide, marking the end of a decade-long job expansion.

Federal Update:

  • This week, the U.S. Senate Passed the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. House action is expected today. 
  • Among the key provisions of that act, include $350 billion to support loans through a new Paycheck Protection Program for Small Employers with 500 employees or fewer, as well as those that meet the current Small Business Administration (SBA) size standards; the size of the loans would equal 250 percent of an employer’s average monthly payroll.
  • The bill also includes correction of an error in the 2017 Tax Act on improvements made to stores and restaurants, allowing retailers to amend returns and get refunds for taxes overpaid in 2018 and 2019. 
  • Our friends at The National Retail Federation have a breakdown of the bill’s key provisions. NRF has more information here and a summary of key provisions here.

Coronavirus Update:

  • Coronavirus Numbers Continue Climb in CT
  • There are 1,012 confirmed cases in Connecticut as of Thursday afternoon. Across the state, 21 people have died with confirmed COVID-19 and 125 are hospitalized. In total, there have been more than 6,500 tests reported in Connecticut. Details available here.
  • The Connecticut Department of Public Health deployed mobile field hospitals on the grounds of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and Danbury Hospital. A third mobile field hospital is being prepared for deployment at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown.
  • The state Office of Health Strategy approved its first two requests from hospitals in Stamford and Rockville to expand bed capacity. Hartford HealthCare plans to lease the hockey arena at Trinity College in anticipation of a surge of COVID-19 patients.
  • One more item in the Governor’s latest Executive Order to tell you about.
  • The order also reduces the number of people in social gatherings to no more than five people, through at least April 30, 2020.
  • This does not apply to government operations, private workplaces, retail establishments, or other activities that are not social or recreational gatherings.
  • For the most up-to-date information from the State of Connecticut on COVID-19, including an FAQ and other guidance and resources, residents are encouraged to visit ct.gov/coronavirus

One more thing:

  • This week we heard from a friend and former Board Member of CRMA is who offering his services to help any CRMA members thru this difficult time.
  • Don Jones of Verite Capital Partners in Ridgefield is offering CRMA retailers an hour of free consultation to assist in navigating their way through these challenging times.
  • The firm works with women and minorities to gain access to capital, information, and other resources to enhance the performance of their business. You can Contact Don at djonesverite@gmail.com. Just mention you are with CRMA and Don will help you any way he can.
  • If you have any services or advice that you want to share with other retailers who are going thru these difficult times, please feel free to reach out to us at tim@crmaronline.com or call our office at 860-527-1044.

 

CRMA is your voice at the State Capitol.  Tell us how state government can help your retail business.  Contact Tim Phelan at tim@crmaonline.com