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Connecticut Offering “Bridge” Grants to Assist Hard-Hit Businesses Until PPP Aid is Available

  • Governor Ned Lamont announces $35 million in new grants to assist businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Program aims to support businesses in the short term until PPP funds are available under a newly passed federal stimulus package
  • Between 1,500 and 2,000 recipients will receive grants, with aid targeted at companies that were unable to qualify for a previous $50 million package

Governor Ned Lamont has announced a new round of grants to support the businesses that have been hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Lamont said the grants will serve as a bridge to sustain recipients until they can receive further funding under the newly revived Paycheck Protection Program.

A total of $35 million in business recovery grants will be allocated in amounts ranging from $10,000 to $30,000. The grants are funded through Connecticut’s share of federal funds received under the CARES Act, passed last spring to provide economic relief at the outset of the pandemic.

An anticipated pool of 1,500 to 2,000 recipients will receive grants, with funding going to companies that were too large to qualify for grants under a previous program. Connecticut provided $50 million in $5,000 to small businesses, with the number of applicants far outpacing the available funds. A smaller grant program was targeted at arts organizations.

The aid is targeted at businesses that have been hardest hit by the pandemic, including bars and restaurants, entertainment, lodging, food service, retail, and recreation. Eligible businesses must be experiencing an annual revenue loss of at least 20 percent, with grant amounts determined through a formula which incorporates tax and payroll data.

Lamont said the grants will be disbursed around Dec. 31, and will provide short-term funding until businesses can apply for loans under the Paycheck Protection Program. A federal stimulus bill passed on Monday revives this program with $284 billion, with Connecticut expected to receive about $3 billion. The loans are usually forgivable, but it typically takes a couple of months for lenders to process applications and make funds available.

While COVID-19 vaccine distribution is underway and there are hopes for a return to normalcy in 2021, businesses across the nation are experiencing a new round of restrictions due to a third wave of infections. Some industries are facing additional challenges, such as restaurants that can no longer offer outdoor dining due to frigid temperatures but are restricted in how many people they can accommodate indoors.

Lamont said there are no plans to further tighten Connecticut restrictions, which generally limit indoor capacities to 50 percent. Bars have been shuttered since the start of the pandemic, and theaters have largely remained closed as well due to expectations that it would not be profitable to hold performances at half capacity.

Lamont previously announced that the state would offer a new round of at least $25 million in grants. Connecticut Republicans have called for $50 million to support bars and restaurants, along with other relief such as a one-year suspension of liquor permitting and food licensing fees.

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