Here's a quick summary of a call with Governor Lamont and DECD Commissioner David Lehman and Connecticut business community.
Commissioner Lehman announced results of survey of Connecticut businesses that DECD, AdvanceCT and CBIA conducted and received over 3,000 responses as of today.
The survey results are:
- 80% Connecticut businesses expect sales/revenue declines
- 50% reported utilizing remote work arrangements
- 45% have experienced disruption in their supply chain
- 50% remain open at full capacity
- 36% are running at reduced capacity
- 12% are closed
Business impact of COVID-19
Governor Lamont opened by saying that this is far different than the 2008 recession.
Unemployment claims are "far worse" now, with 12,000 unemployment claims filed on Wednesday, alone. In the last recession, claims maxed out at 5,000 a week.
On the plus side,
banks are much better capitalized now than they were in 2008.
"We are working hard with banks to make sure credit remains available."
he will do everything he can to backstop federal paid sick leave legislation. "If your employees feel sick, tell them to go home."
READY SET GO
Commissioner Lehman said that Connecticut was one of the
first states to gain SBA "emergency" status, allowing small businesses to qualify for up to $2 million in disaster relief loans at 3.75%.
Said the state's top business priority is
rolling out a small business bridge loan program.
He said the state is in "constant contact with federal agencies," and noted the need for more stimulus initiatives, "particularly for small and mid-sized businesses. Lehman also pointed out actions that the state has taken already:
State extending business tax filing deadline by three months to June 15.
State has relaxed unemployment benefit requirements. "This is the primary safety net for individuals who have been laid off."
DECD is providing a three-month state loan relief, and urged private sector lenders to also help small businesses manage their fixed costs.
State "looking to provide regulatory relief in a sensible way" for Connecticut businesses.
PURA is providing businesses with protection from utility shut-offs until at least May 1.
What people wanted to know - Q and A (Most questions posed by the business audience centered on possible future restrictions on business activity in the state)
Q: Is the state considering closing manufacturing plants or so-called "non-essential" businesses.
A: Lamont: "Not at this point. We are trying to keep as much of the economy going as possible."
Q: There are rumors of a coming total statewide shut down. Is that a possibility?
A: "I really hope not," Lamont replied, saying he is working very closely with other governors in the region on getting the message out for people to stay at home if they can and practice social distancing. "If you can stay home, stay home," he said, stressing the importance of social distancing and limiting large gatherings. "I know this is hardship to small businesses, but it's the most effective thing we're doing."
"I hope it's nothing more draconian than that."
"I appreciate what you're all doing for Connecticut."
The Governor wrapped up the call with an upbeat tone, applauding the growing unity of purpose with both parties in the state legislature and the business community.
"Business and state government haven't always been on the same page in this state. I think we're all on the same page with this crisis-we're all in this together, and I appreciate what you're all doing for Connecticut."