CRMA Coronavirus Update March 31, 2020 

DECD suspends loan program
Norwalk order impacts retail business
Confusion over quarantine
Other coronavirus news
CT retailer steps up

  • Under great fanfare, last week the state announced an important bridge loan program that would be administered by the DECD.
  • The program was designed to help the thousands of CT businesses, including retailers, that are being negatively impacted by the forced shutdown by the state.
  • But two days after it was announced it was overwhelmed with requests and had to suspend taking applications due to the 40,000 business that applied. Soon after announcing the suspension, the state said it would double the funding amount dedicated to the program to $50 million. WTNH has more here.
  • The state Department of Revenue Services (DRS) announced Monday evening that taxpayers that have $150,000 or less in annual Sales Tax liability qualify for an automatic extension of time to file and pay. Returns and payments due March 31, 2020, and April 30, 2020, are extended to May 31, 2020. DRS website has details here (scroll down to Sales & Use Tax heading).

Norwalk taking action that impacts retailers

  • One of CT’s hardest hit towns, Norwalk, has announced Emergency Orders that will impact retail businesses.
  • Norwalk Mayor Harry Rilling issued a series of emergency orders, including reducing the maximum occupancy numbers inside all Norwalk businesses to 50 percent of the Fire Marshal’s previously established maximum occupancy numbers for each business.
  • City officials also asked stores to immediately develop policies that limit members of the public from lining up at check-out or outside stores.
  • Also under the emergency order, “Norwalk families are to limit themselves to only one family member at the same time per visit to a Norwalk store.” (Exemptions are made for single parents, caregivers, and other situations where it is not feasible to leave a person home.)  The emergency orders can be read here.

Confusion over quarantine

  • Also, over this weekend there was some confusion over a Tri-State Quarantine. The quarantine was considered by the White House, but ultimately, not implemented.
  • The president spoke, then he tweeted, about a possible quarantine in CT, NY and NJ. The result was eight hours of frantic calls between Hartford, Albany, Trenton and Washington, followed by a different decision from Washington. CT Mirror has the story here.

Other Coronavirus news in CT

  • Confirmed Cases Increasing, Particularly New Haven County: The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Connecticut has risen to 2,571, with 578 new positive tests, including 373 in New Haven County. “Not happily, New Haven County is now catching up quickly with Fairfield County in terms of where the new cases are being added at the fastest rate,” Gov. Lamont said at a Monday afternoon news conference.  A total of 36 people have died of COVID-19, according to state statistics. Hartford Courant has details here.
  • More Hospital Bed Locations Considered in CT: At least two federal agencies are working in CT to expand hospital overflow space including a possible 250-bed emergency facility at Southern Connecticut State University. Also, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is looking at two major locations for health facilities expansion: the Mohegan Sun resort and the Connecticut Convention Center in Hartford.  CT Post has details here.
  • Coronavirus Cases in CT, by Town: Norwalk (271), Danbury (218) and Stamford (157) have the largest number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Connecticut, according to the latest data.  CT Post has the town-by-town statewide breakdown here.

CRMA member steps up to help out

  • Here’s to CT-based retailer and CRMA member Brooks Brothers for their announcement today that it is in the process of converting its New York, North Carolina and Massachusetts factories from manufacturing ties, shirts and suits to now making masks and gowns. Brooks Brothers plan to use these facilities to make medical masks and protective gowns.
  • We are proud to be associated with Brooks Brothers for this effort.
  • Please let us know if you know of other retailers who are extending themselves during this challenging time. Contact Tim Phelan at tim@crmaonline.com

And this…

  • The National Retail Federation will host a retail members-only “CARES Act Update” webinar on Tuesday, March 31, at 2 p.m.  You can register for the webinar here.  CRMA is working on a webinar specifically for Connecticut retailers later this week.  Details soon.