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COVID-19 Business Resources

The US Small Business Administration officially opened the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) application portal. Due to technical difficulties, the portal was temporarily suspended but meanwhile you can register for a new account. The SBA is working to reopen the portal as soon as possible. 

This funding is for operators of live venues, live performing arts organizations, museums and movie theatres, as well as live venue promoters, theatrical producers and talent representatives to apply for critical economic relief, as those eligible entities are some of the first that had to shutter their doors a year ago in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The SBA is accepting SVOG applications on a first-in, first-out basis and allocating applicants to respective priority periods as it receives applications. The first 14 days of SVOG awards, which are expected to begin in late April, will be dedicated to entities that suffered a 90% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second 14 days (days 15-28) will include entities that suffered a 70% or greater revenue loss between April and December 2020. Following those periods, SVOG awards will include entities that suffered a 25% or greater revenue loss between one quarter of 2019 and the corresponding quarter of 2020.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed by Congress 3/27/20, is a relief package that is intended to assist business owners and employees with immediate needs as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

Here are some of the highlights for small businesses and nonprofits that are still available:

  • Emergency Economic Injury Grant: An emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private nonprofits harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. Grants and loans may be used to keep employees on payroll, pay for sick leave, meet obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Available now!
     
  • Small Business Debt Relief Program: 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.
     
  • Employee Retention Credit for Employers Subject to Closure or Experiencing Economic Hardship: A refundable payroll tax credit for 50% of wages paid by eligible employers to certain employees during COVID-19 crisis.
     
  • Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes: Allows taxpayers to defer paying the employer a portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020, with all 2020 deferred amounts due in two equal installments, one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022.
     
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources on the SBA's webpage for further details and updates.

For business owners who are substantially impacted by COVID-19, you may be eligible to apply for an SBA Disaster Loan Assistance. The US Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can't be paid because of the disaster's impact.

The CT Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) will be offering support to businesses interested in applying for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well as assisting businesses with additional access to capital and navigate available resources.

The SBA has announced automatic deferments through December 31, 2020 for borrowers who are currently paying back SBA loan from previous disasters. For more information, visit their website.

The CT Small Business Development Center (CTSBDC) will be offering support to businesses interested in applying for SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans as well as assisting businesses with additional access to capital and navigate available resources.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Policy Update

The U.S. Small Business Administration, in consultation with the Treasury Department, announced on January 8, that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will re-open the week of January 11 for new borrowers and certain existing PPP borrowers. To promote access to capital, initially only community financial institutions will be able to make First Draw PPP Loans on Monday, January 11, and Second Draw PPP Loans on Wednesday, January 13. The PPP will open to all participating lenders shortly thereafter. Updated PPP guidance outlining Program changes to enhance its effectiveness and accessibility was released on January 6 in accordance with the Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act.

“To efficiently and effectively implement the Economic Aid Act and to ensure increased access to PPP for minority, underserved, veteran, and women-owned business concerns, SBA is accepting PPP loan applications only from community financial institutions (CFI) for at least the first two days starting today, Monday January 11, 2021. In Connecticut, as of now, New Haven Bank and Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union are participating”, stated Catherine Marx, SBA, Connecticut District Director.  

This round of the PPP continues to prioritize millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $284 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses through March 31, 2021, and by allowing certain existing PPP borrowers to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan.

Key PPP updates include:
  • PPP borrowers can set their PPP loan’s covered period to be any length between 8 and 24 weeks to best meet their business needs; 
  • PPP loans will cover additional expenses, including operations expenditures, property damage costs, supplier costs, and worker protection expenditures;
  • The Program’s eligibility is expanded to include 501(c)(6)s, housing cooperatives, destination marketing organizations, among other types of organizations;
  • The PPP provides greater flexibility for seasonal employees;
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers can request to modify their First Draw PPP Loan amount; and
  • Certain existing PPP borrowers are now eligible to apply for a Second Draw PPP Loan. 
  • A borrower is generally eligible for a Second Draw PPP Loan if the borrower:
  •  Previously received a First Draw PPP Loan and will or has used the full amount only for authorized uses;
  • Has no more than 300 employees; and
  • Can demonstrate at least a 25% reduction in gross receipts between comparable quarters in 2019 and 2020.

SBA, in consultation with the Treasury Department, has recently released additional PPP forms and guidance: 

Guidance & Resources
Updated First Draw Forms
Second Draw Forms
Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)

Department of Community and Economic Development (DECD) working with federal partners, has several programs and initiatives in place to assist businesses during this period. They have established the DECD Small Business Hotline at 860-500-2333 which can also be reached by email at COVID19.JIC@ct.gov, where staff are available to answer specific questions related to small business and guide them through available programs based on their specific needs.

Small Business Express Program is available through the Department of Economic and Community (DECD). This program provides an array of financing options to businesses that cover capital purchases, working capital, and other business-related expenses.

Department of Labor

The Department of Labor offers the Shared Work CT Program for employers who are reducing work between 10%-60% for their employees. The program allows employers to temporarily reduce employee hours and supplement lost wages with the help of partial unemployment benefits. This allows businesses alternatives to laying off employees, helping save jobs and retain skilled workers. For more information, employers can visit their website, call 860-263-6660 or email DOL.SharedWork@ct.gov

Frequently Asked Questions about COVID-19 for workers and employers from the Connecticut Department of Labor, including Unemployment Insurance, Paid Sick Leave (PSL) and Other Absences, Wages and Hours, and Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA).

Additional Support

The Department of Revenue Services has extended deadlines for filing and payments associated with certain state business tax returns. For more information, visit their website.

Visit our partner's at the West Hartford Chamber of Commerce to learn more about their ongoing business support services.