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“We’re a lot further along in being proactive versus reactive -- and it’s beginning to pay dividends," says Peter Denious, president and CEO of AdvanceCT, the state government’s economic development entity.
This year, the governor said, “We will continue to emphasize our best-in-the-nation public schools and workforce development, making sure every child, regardless of zip code, race, color, or creed, has the best opportunity at the starting line of life.”
The $5,000 grants can be used for payroll, rent, utilities, inventory, purchase of machinery or equipment, or costs associated with compliance of the ongoing Reopen Connecticut Business Sector Rules.
All funds will be disbursed to approved applicants by Dec. 30, and will not require repayment.
“It will be important going forward that sports league or event organizers give their coaches and players the tools to mitigate risks of transmission as much as possible," said Department of Public Health Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford.
“Workforce development begins in kindergarten," says Kelli Vallieres, executive director of the newly-formed Connecticut Workforce Development Unit. "By talking with them at such a young age about what they’re interested in, you can find the fire that sparks their interest."
Within Fairfield County, "red zone" municipalities now include Bethel, Bridgeport, Brookfield, Danbury, Monroe, Norwalk, Shelton, Stamford, and Stratford.
Asked about their outlook for the Connecticut economy, 60% of respondents to a CBIA survey said they expect a contraction over the next 12 months.
“This pandemic has made this more relevant than ever," the governor said.
The program will provide businesses and nonprofits in Connecticut that have fewer than 20 employees, or a 2019 payroll of less than $1.5 million, with a one-time grant of $5,000.
Qualifying organizations will receive a base grant of $5,000. For organizations that have raised funds between March 10 and Nov. 1, the program will offer a supplemental match of 50% of contributed income during that period.
According to the new CBIA survey, 47% of businesses expect to see a profit this year – down considerably from 77% last year – with 28% forecasting a loss (versus 11% in 2019) and 25% hoping to break even (versus 13% last year).
“We’ll see how it plays out,” says Connecticut Restaurant Association Executive Director Scott Dolch.
Although one national forecast says that domestic travel spending will drop 40% this year, Connecticut Office of Tourism Director Randy Fiveash maintains that Connecticut's hospitality sector is “a very resilient industry,” and predicted that thousands of lost jobs will quickly be filled as the summer goes on.
Gov. Ned Lamont acknowledged that any coronavirus flare-ups and/or an increase in hospitalizations could negatively affect the situation. "Plan accordingly, knowing there's a fair amount of risk," he said.