Posted By: Jennifer Jennings CHCC News,

 Important updates regarding COVID-19 and how it impacts your business

Connecticut Heating & Cooling Contractors Association
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Dear Fellow Industry Leader,

CHCC is the premiere HVAC Contractor's association in Connecticut, serving 180+ member companies statewide. CHCC Board of Directors and our Government Affairs Committee have participated on calls and engaged with various state agencies for the past several days communicating the need to help the self-employed and small business owners. Below is information on Federal, State & Local Levels. We will send a follow up email as information comes in.
Governor Lamont Regarding Connecticut Shutdown & HVAC Contractors:
Connecticut to close all non essential business! "TRADES PEOPLE AND SUPPLIES FOR TRADES PEOPLE WILL BE KEPT OPEN!" (Additional guidance will be released from DECD)
U.S. Department of Homeland Security essential critical infrastructure/workforce, several notable areas that should apply to the HVAC workforce, including but not limited to the following:
Transportation and Logistics Sector includes:
  • Employees of firms providing services that enable logistics operations, including cooling, storing, packaging, and distributing products for wholesale or retail sale or use.
Public Works Sector includes:
  • Workers such as plumbers, electricians, exterminators, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences.
Many businesses may be wondering:  
  • Am I required to shut-down operations?

    State and local officials may invoke public health codes requiring closure of certain businesses. When requiring closure or restrictions of business operations, public health orders may define the specific types of businesses affected. For example, several states are currently requiring closure of bars, gyms and or imposing restrictions like limiting restaurants to providing take-out service. 
Alternatively, a “shelter in place” order will require closure of all “non-essential businesses.” The order will then define what businesses are deemed “essential” and exempt from the general closure order. 
Most jurisdictions exempt:
  1. Grocery stores, agricultural, food processing, cultivation and distribution companies;
  2. Gas stations, banks, hardware stores, automotive repair, laundromats;
  3. Health care facilities, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, home-based care providers;
  4. Public works, construction or maintenance of housing, utilities;
  5. Plumbers, electricians, and other service providers essential for health and sanitation;
  6. Businesses that provide shelter and other necessities of life;
  7. Insurance offices and legal practices;
  8. Businesses supplying essential businesses with vital support and supplies.
NOTE: Exempt and non-exempt businesses vary in different states and localities. Contact state or local health officials if you are uncertain as to whether you are affected. You might also look to guidance from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security as to what constitutes essential critical infrastructure workforce.

In these unprecedented times we need robust protections for small business owners and the self-employed, this bill seeks to structure tax credits with a hope that financial relief will come quickly.

Recently, on the Federal Level the Senate passed emergency legislation that has gone to President Trump, who has said he will sign it into law.  Below is a brief summary.

Self-Employed, Small Business to be included in Emergency Aid Measures.

Included in the bill are expansions of paid sick leave and family medical leave for workers. In addition, a refundable tax credit for small businesses is designed to offset 100% of the employer’s share of the new benefits.
Self-employed persons are also eligible for a refundable tax credit to cover sick and family leave.
A stimulus measure is also in the works that could bring targeted relief to the economy, to certain industries, and to the American people.  

Additional Info: the Federal Housing Finance Agency announced today that it will suspend foreclosures and evictions on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA-insured mortgages until April 30. Follow all of HUD's updates at
CHCC and our Government Affairs Committee will continue to monitor, advocate on behalf of the construction industry and small business, especially here in CT.

For those of you who were unable to participate on yesterdays call with Governor Lamont and CEDC, below are some notes and takeaways. 

Contact info for the state Department of Economic and Community Development for questions and info regarding small business assistance during this time. Overview from Governor Lamont: 
  •  Payroll tax credits not first priority – benefits are too far out for most businesses 
  • Working to address fixed costs first and foremost
  • Encouraging businesses to try and work with landlords on rent
  • Talking to health insurance providers to see if payments may be deferred
  • Negotiating with utilities companies and Attorney General. Utilities have agreed to halt shutoffs for residential and commercial customers for the time being
  • DOL relaxed several requirements for unemployment
  • Shared work programs available
  • Significantly increase in volume
  • Hours increased, manpower reallocated to help address high demand
  • SBA loans available
  • DECD Payment relief & forbearance
  • 3-month payment relief for businesses in small business express & other similar programs
  • Banking Dept encouraging lenders to work with businesses on delaying payments where possible
  • Tax relief – CT pass through entity tax/corporate business tax delayed to June 15th
  • Individual income tax return delays being put into place
  • Temporary regulatory relief being put into place
  •  Paid federal sick leave – affords employers with less than 500 employees 2 weeks paid sick leave, up to 12 weeks family medical leave – govt picks up tab. Final details still being put reviewed, signed into law by President on 3.18
  • Federal action will likely be the first of several steps feds take
DECD response:
  • Covid-19 Business Emergency Response Unit to help businesses navigate resources and put together new resources. Survey created
  • 860-500-2333
  • Payment relief & forbearance program
  • SBA disaster loan funds; DECD team working to help navigate bureaucratic issues as they arise
Notice and link from DAS regarding STATE construction:

DAS Construction Managers at Risk (CMR) and General Contractors (GC):

These extraordinary times demand extra care to stop the spread of COVID-19.  Construction sites are, by design, concentrations of people.  As such we need to exercise practices to ensure the safety and wellbeing of our tradespeople, CMR and GC staff and their families.  Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines need to be incorporated into the daily routine of your workers to ensure their safety.  Social Distancing must be practiced, as well as the use of hand washing stations and hand sanitizing stations.  Daily tool box safety briefs must include topics and updates on COVID-19 protective measures and information.  Rely on your DAS Project Manager and the Construction Administrator for any questions, concerns or issues related to the jobsite, and COVID-19 effects at the jobsite.

DAS wishes to continue with active construction projects as long as possible, but not at the risk of the life and safety of our contractors, their workers and their family and friends. If circumstances appear to become beyond the control of the parties to protect all concerned, and jeopardize the health, safety and well-being of workers, staff and the general public, DAS will provide further direction and instructions to you.  In the meantime, please implement, if you have not already done so, the guidelines mentioned above immediately.

Noel Petra, DAS Deputy Commissioner
Real Estate & Construction Services

This is the key link, from here businesses can find information on the SBA loans and other info:

Connecticut announced that Access Health CT is opening a Special Enrollment Period, March 19 through April 2. Coverage is available for uninsured Connecticut residents who don’t otherwise receive insurance through their job or become unemployed. The only way to sign up for this Special Enrollment Period is by calling 855-365-2428.
Building Permits…. I have a call into the state and some local officials to see how the indivdual municipalities are handling permitting and inspections with the closure of some of the town halls.

Stay tunes as we will pass along the response and details as soon as they are available. 
It is important that your company continue to communicate with your customers and the community. Marketing is key. Whether it is promotional, Spring Tune Up Specials, Future Contracts... Continue to let your customers know you are here.
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