COVID-19 Business Resources
The Office of Business Development & Tourism is working remotely. Any questions can be directed to Sabrina Church at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Phase I Reopening Guidance
- As of May 20, 2020, Phase I businesses (hair salons, barbershops, museums, zoos, offices, restaurants, retail, and malls) will be allowed to reopen with strict health and safety guidelines that must be followed. The State Department of Community and Economic Development has released guidance in both English and Spanish on their website.
- Please note that all Phase I businesses are required to self-certify that they will follow these guidelines prior to opening May 20th with the State Department of Community and Economic Development. The certification process takes about 5 minutes and can be found here: https://service-ct.force.com/recovery/s/
Outdoor Dining & Retail Sales
In accordance with Executive Order 7MM, distanced outdoor dining and outdoor retail will be permitted on or after May 20th, 2020. Outdoor dining and retail applications will be available for completion online. Applicants will need the following information to complete the application process:
- A legible, to-scale site plan
- A narrative of the proposed use including, but not limited to, explanation of how any noise, waste management, light, odor, pollution or environmental impact will be handled
- If you are requesting to use City-owned property, a certificate of insurance
The outdoor retail sales application is available here. We have also provided an FAQ document that will ensure that you are prepared for the online submission process and includes specifics regarding the site plan and insurance documentation.
Once your application is submitted Planning and Zoning staff will review and forward all documentation to other necessary departments. You will receive confirmation via email once your application is reviewed and approved.
Outdoor Dining & Retail Webinar Presentation
Outdoor Dining & Retail Q&A Webinar YouTube Recording
PPE for BusinessesInfrared Thermometers
In partnership with the Connecticut Business and Industry Association and CONNSTEP, the state is distributing 50,000 infrared thermometers to eligible small businesses, nonprofits, and places of worship as they begin the reopening process. Organizations may request one thermometer per physical address. The equipment will be delivered and distributed via scheduled pick up in the municipalities where the organizations are located. Click the corresponding links below to request yours: https://www.ctcovidresponse.org/thermometer-request.
The State of Connecticut has partnered with CONNSTEP and CBIA to assist in the distribution of recently donated surgical masks to eligible businesses. Businesses are allowed to apply more than once for masks at the following website: https://www.ctcovidresponse.org/request-masks-for-ct-small-business.
For the most up to date information on COVID-19 visit norwalkct.org/citynews.
For the most up to date public health information visit the CDCs website.
For the most up to date information on state programs and guidance visit the State's COVID-19 portal.
For questions on any program or to see if your business is essential please contact the DECD Small Business Hotline by phone at 860-500-2333. Inquiries may also be sent via email to COVID19.JIC@ct.gov.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
- Division A, Title II includes $5 million for the Department of Labor to administer the emergency paid sick days program.
- Division D - creates a new federal emergency paid leave benefits program as Title VI of the Social Security Act.
- Division E - provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions.
- For more information see the Department of Labor’s Website
Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act)
The bipartisan legislation includes specific small business related funding:
- $260 billion for increased unemployment insurance that waives waiting periods and covers part-time, self-employed, and gig economy workers.
- $377 billion to rescue small businesses, including forgivable loans to small businesses and non-profits to maintain their workforce and help pay for other expenses like rent, mortgage, and utilities.
- For more information on how this will impact businesses see this helpful pamphlet.
- On April 24th funding was replenished by an additional spending bill - an additional $370 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program and Economic Injury Disaster Loans and Grants (EIDL)
Small Business Administration Financial Assistance
- Disaster Loans: Businesses can now apply for loans of up to $2 million through the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA). SBA also has valuable information for businesses. Here is a link to a webinar that explains how to apply for the SBA loan. There are also step by step instructions on completing the loan application. If your business needs assistance with SBA loans or any other program, call the business hotline at 860-500-2333.
- Small business owners and non-profits have the opportunity to receive up to a $10,000 Advance on an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This Advance may be available even if an EIDL application was declined or is still pending, and will be forgiven. In order to qualify for the Advance, a new application must be submitted, even if a previous EIDL application has been submitted. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow an existing application. To apply, click here.
- Paycheck Protection Program - This program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on payroll by providing each small business a loan up to $10 million for payroll and certain other expenses. For more information visit the SBA’s website on PPP.
- If all employees are kept on payroll for eight weeks, SBA will forgive the portion of the loans used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Up to 100 percent of the loan is forgivable.
- Small Business Debt Relief - Provides immediate relief to small businesses with non-disaster SBA loans, in particular 7(a), 504, and microloans. Under this program, the SBA will cover all loan payments on previously secured SBA loans, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months.
- Regular Capital Loans - SBA provides a number of loan resources for small businesses to utilize when operating their business.
- Microloan Program - Involves making loans through nonprofit lending organizations to under-served markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery & equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.
- 504 Loan Program - Designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition of eligible refinance of fixed assets.
- Community Advantage Loan Pilot Program - Allows mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in under-served markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
- Express Loan Program - Provides loans up to $350,000 for no more than 7 years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
- 7(a) Loan Program - Offers loan amounts up to $5,000,000 and is an all-inclusive loan program deployed by lending partners for eligible small businesses within the U.S. States and its territories. The uses of proceeds include working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; leasehold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
- Exporting Assistance Loans - SBA provides export loans to help small businesses achieve sales through exports and can help these businesses respond to opportunities and challenges associated with trade, such as COVID-19. The loans are available to U.S. small businesses that export directly overseas, or those that export indirectly by selling to a customer that then exports their products.
- International Trade Loan Program - Helps small businesses engaged in international trade to retool or expand to better compete and react to changing business conditions. It can also help exporting firms to expand their sales to new markets or to re-shore operations back to the U.S.
- Export Working Capital Program - Enables small businesses to fulfill export orders and finance international sales by providing revolving lines of credit or transaction-based financing of up to $5 million. Businesses could use a loan to obtain or retain overseas customers by offering attractive payment terms.
- Export Express Loan Program - Allows access to capital quickly for businesses that need financing up to $500,000. Businesses can apply for a line of credit or term note prior to finalizing an export sale or while pursuing opportunities overseas, such as identifying a new overseas customer should an export sale be lost due to COVID-19.
- Grants - SBA works with different organizations to provide federal financial assistance (grants) community resources for certain small businesses.
For more information on any of these programs visit the SBA website.
Business Financial Relief
- Mortgage Relief - Over 60 banks and credit unions have agreed to offer mortgage relief to homeowners and businesses facing hardship caused by the pandemic. Contact your lender for more guidance on how this applies to your specific situation.
- Filing Extensions: The Department of Revenue Services has extended deadlines for filing and for payments. Any business tax or state tax does not have to be repaid until July 15. More information is available on the DRS website.
- Utilities: There is a 30 day moratorium in place for non-payment shut offs until May 1 for all businesses.
- Temporary Regulatory Relief: Businesses that serve alcohol including restaurants and bars may sell sealed beverages for pickup and takeout only. Delivery of alcoholic beverages is being evaluated.
- State Debt: All state loans are in forbearance until further notice. This means that you do not have to pay in an effort for businesses to keep more cash on hand.
- Paid Sick Leave Federal Mandate: The new federal mandate on paid sick leave requires that employees be paid fully while taking sick time (up to $500/day) up to 80 hours. It also requires that individuals required to stay home with a sickly individual or a child in the time of e-learning be paid two-thirds wages (up to $200/day). This is also true for independent contracts and gig employees.
Business Financial Assistance through the State Department of Economic and Community Development
For questions please contact the DECD Small Business Hotline by phone at 860-500-2333. Inquiries may also be sent via email to COVID19.JIC@ct.gov.
- Small Business Express Program - This program provides loans and grants to Connecticut's small businesses to spur job creation and growth. The CT General Assembly passed a bill allowing businesses to utilize small business express loans to assist with paying business office rent.
- NO LONGER ACCEPTING APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME Small Business Express Bridge Loan Program – the bridge loan program has stopped taking applications due to high demand. This program is being reviewed and may become active in the future.
- Economic and Manufacturing Assistance Act (MAA) - This act makes available low-interest loans and incentive-driven direct loans for projects when there is strong economic development potential. Funding may be used for the purchase of equipment, furniture and fixtures, construction, leasehold improvements, training, and other eligible project-related activities.
- Minority Business Revolving Loan Fund - This fund provides loans and lines of credit to Connecticut businesses owned by minorities and/or women. Through this program, eligible applicants can apply for term loans and lines of credit from $10,000 to $100,000 with a fixed interest rate of 4%.
Unemployment and Insurance
- Unemployment Benefits - The funding for unemployment insurance benefits comes from taxes paid by employers. To qualify for unemployment benefits, you must have earned sufficient wages during a specified time. To collect benefits, you must meet certain legal eligibility requirements many of which have been lifted due to COVID-19. To file and for more information visit the Connecticut Department of Labor website.
- Shared Work Program - The Shared Work Program helps to save jobs and retain skilled workers by giving partial unemployment. The program allows employers to temporarily reduce employee hours and supplement lost wages with the help of partial unemployment benefits. For more information call: (860) 263-6660 or email: DOL.SharedWork@ct.gov. For more information the Shared Work Program page.
- Business Interruption Insurance - Review your policy exclusions, coverage limits, and applicable deductibles with your agent, broker or insurer. Events such as the health emergencies may be covered. View this helpful FAQ for more information.
Other Statewide/Regional Partners Offering Assistance
- Hello Alice - COVID-19 Emergency Grants - Hello Alice is offering $10,000 grants being distributed immediately to small business owners impacted by coronavirus, as part of our broader mission to ensure Business for All. In addition to funding, grant recipients will receive ongoing support from the Hello Alice community.
- NOT ACCEPTING ADDITIONAL APPLICATIONS AT THIS TIME U.S. Chamber - Save Small Business Grants - A unded by corporate and philanthropic partners. The Save Small Business Fund can provide up to $5,000 in grant funding to small employers.
- Minuteman Press - Bounce Back Norwalk - Bounce Back Norwalk serves to offer two to support Norwalk and surrounding communities as we all find a way through these unprecedented times. First, Minuteman Press is distributing a COVID-19 awareness and prevention posters at to all businesses in Norwalk. Second, they are providing a forum to stimulate business as we overcome the economic effects.
- Community Economic Development Fund (CEDF) - Provides loans and technical assistance to Connecticut small business owners, primarily in low-to-moderate income communities, who are not able to obtain traditional bank financing. They are prepared to assist with SBA and DECD program applications.
- Connecticut Community Investment Corporation (CTCIC) - Provides access to capital that may not be available elsewhere as well as financing opportunities for expanding businesses looking to purchase real estate and/or machinery and equipment.
- BDC Capital - BDC Capital provides financial assistance with loans, mezzanine and equity investments, guarantees, and financial services to businesses of every type and description.
- Women’s Business Development Council - WBDC is prepared to assist clients who will apply for the SBA Small Business Disaster Relief Loan.
- Connecticut Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) - The center has 14 Business Advisors available to assist with the SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan application. Advisors provide no-cost, confidential assistance with forecasting loss, explaining impacting, reviewing statements, and discussing other loan and assistance options. CTSBDC continues to offer online training courses and assistance with business plans, marketing strategies, and market research. You can register for EIDL assistance at https://ctsbdc.com/request-advising/grow-a-business/.