The legal impacts of the rapidly evolving coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be far reaching, as will the effects on the legal community at large. While we are making every effort to support and maintain the health and well-being of our employees, clients, and friends, we are also focused on ensuring that our clients’ businesses withstand this global challenge. The McCarter & English COVID-19 Task Force is dedicated to providing information and guidance on how COVID-19 may impact your business. We are covering a broad range of issues, including employment law and implications for the workforce, supply chain interruption, insurance coverage matters—such as risk mitigation and the enforceability of force majeure provisions—contract negotiations in unsteady environments, data privacy, and the fall out for the real estate industry, public companies, and more. We encourage you to return frequently as we continue to add new content.
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The State of Connecticut maintains a website which provides updates on resources made available to businesses and residents during the coronavirus crisis, including the following:
DECD’s COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit: The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) has created a COVID-19 Business Emergency Response Unit dedicated to assisting businesses navigate resources and develop new resources. A dedicated phone line is available at 860-500-2333 to provide assistance to Connecticut’s small businesses for this purpose.
Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program: To provide emergency cash flow relief to Connecticut small businesses and nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the global spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Lamont created the Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program. Administered by DECD, the program is for businesses and nonprofits that have fewer than 100 employees. Qualifying organizations can apply for zero-interest loans of up to $75,000 or three months of operating expenses (whichever is lesser). This $50 million short-term emergency loan program will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. As of March 27, 2020, the initial round of funding for this program is closed for applications to ensure that those that have been received so far can be processed efficiently and money distributed as quickly as possible. For those that have already submitted an application, additional documentation can be sent within seven days of submittal.
Tax filing extensions: The Department of Revenue Services has extended deadlines for filing and payments associated with certain state business tax returns. Details are on DRS’s website.
Business Interruption Insurance: A business interruption insurance policy should list or describe the types of events it covers. Events that are not described in the policy are typically not covered. It is important to review the policy exclusions, coverage limits, and applicable deductibles with your agent, broker or insurer. The Connecticut Insurance Department has an FAQ that provides more information.
Reimbursement of medical leave costs for small and medium-sized businesses: The Connecticut Department of Insurance reminds small and medium-sized employers of recent guidance from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) on COVID-19 – related medical leave.
Delaware’s Division of Small Business maintains a website for Businesses with various resources concerning the impact of COVID-19.
The state also launched an emergency loan program for hospitality industry small businesses.
The Baker-Polito Administration maintains a list of COVID-19 business resources and guidance, including the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program, administrative tax relief measures, MEMA’s Emergency Operations Center’s Private Sector Hotline, and Executive Office of Labor & Workforce Development Resources.
The New Jersey Economic Development Authority recently announced several new programs to support thousands of businesses and their workers facing economic hardship due to the outbreak of the novel coronavirus COVID-19. The initiatives include a grant program for small businesses, a zero-interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders, funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information. For more information, read this article.
New Jersey businesses are also eligible to apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs). These are working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the disaster.
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania provides various resources for businesses, including a new working capital access program under the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority’s Small Business First Fund.
The Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development offers working capital loans that could be of assistance to businesses impacted by COVID-19.
The Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry maintains a website dedicated to helping business across the Commonwealth navigate the current COVID-19 situation.
The District of Columbia maintains a website with updated businesses and non-profits resources, including recovery relief for DC small businesses. Mayor Bowser and the Council of the District of Columbia will invest $25 million in the COVID-19 Recovery Effort and the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program, which is housed in the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development. Pursuant to the “COVID-19 Response Emergency Amendment Act of 2020” effective March 17, 2020 (D.C. Act 23-247), the DC Small Business Recovery Microgrants Program will offer grants to small, local businesses, independent contractors, self-employed individuals, and nonprofits to meet their short-term financial needs. The grant can cover employee wages and benefits (including fringe benefits associated with employment, such as health insurance), accounts payable, fixed costs, inventory, rent, and utilities.
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For questions, contact our Coronavirus Task Force.