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Business News Roundup, Dec. 22, 2021

Significant theft in COVID-19 relief programs, a request to modify CDC protocols on COVID-19 quarantines, falling confidence in the economy, small retailers’ hopes on holiday shopping, a review of Connecticut’s emergency powers laws, job growth trends in Connecticut, a delayed schedule in a major offshore wind project in Connecticut, and a Connecticut company’s selection for a Massachusetts offshore wind installation are among the top business news items this morning.


Thieves stole nearly $100 billion in COVID-19 relief funds, according to the U.S. Secret Service. The funds were stolen from the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, and a third program used to distribute unemployment benefits.

Business trends

Delta has asked the Centers for Disease Control to revise its quarantine protocols for breakthrough COVID-19 infections due to challenges the current guidance creates for its workforce. The CDC recommends that a person isolate for 10 days after testing positive for the virus, and the airline is looking to limit the quarantine to five days as the more contagious Omicron variant spreads.

A Gallup poll shows that Americans’ confidence in the economy has dipped to its lowest point since April 2020. The survey issued in early December found that 42 percent of respondents consider the economy to be poor and two-thirds believe it is worsening.

Smaller retailers are hoping to be buoyed up by last-minute holiday shoppers as Christmas approaches. Many independent stores stocked up on inventory months ago and are promoting their continued availability of goods.


A panel created by the Connecticut General Assembly will begin reviewing the state laws on public health and civil preparedness emergencies to determine how they should be updated. Governor Ned Lamont has held emergency powers since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic under the laws, with critics saying they have tipped too much power to the state’s executive branch.

Connecticut experienced steady job growth in 2021, but the total number of jobs is still down almost 74,000 compared to January 2020 while more than 100,000 people have exited the workforce entirely. Economists are suggesting that the state should focus on growing sectors with higher paying, more stable jobs.

While it has received a crucial federal permit necessary to complete dredging work, some construction at New London’s State Pier to redevelop the site will likely be delayed until late 2022. The project, which will redevelop the site to support offshore wind operations, is expected to cost $235 million.

The Connecticut-based company Avangrid has been selected to construct the proposed 1.2-gigawatt Commonwealth Wind installation off the Massachusetts coast. Avangrid is already involved in two wind projects which will provide power to Massachusetts and Connecticut.

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