State Senator Will Haskell says:
Many families in our area are struggling with the economic repercussions of temporary unemployment. Person-to-Person (P2P) serves residents of Fairfield County who are affected by the outbreak. No proof of income is required for those who are seeking food assistance.
Free shelf-stable groceries including produce, protein and dairy are available to employees furloughed due to COVID-19 and residents with incomes below 235 percent of federal poverty guidelines. Call 203-655-0048 to make an appointment. Locations in Darien, Norwalk and Stamford supply food to the public with varying hours.
P2P is also supplying emergency financial assistance for those who need help with rent, security deposits, utilities and small emergency expenses. Call 203-655-0048 for more information.
If you’re not struggling to put food on the table, consider helping others by donating food, toiletries, paper goods, diapers or gift cards. These supplies can be dropped off at 1864 Post Road in Darien or 76 South Main Street in Norwalk from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, Saturdays from 9 a.m. to noon, and after hours by appointment. For more details, call 203-621-0703.
Finally, you can donate to a virtual food drive at www.p2phelps.org. Person-to-Person can purchase more than $3 worth of food with every dollar donated.
Unemployment and Layoffs
Unfortunately, an increasing number of businesses will be laying off staff and reducing hours. The financial repercussions of this health crisis could be tremendous. The Connecticut Department of Labor asks that you follow these steps if you are a worker or business owner who needs to file for unemployment:
If you are a worker: Visit www.filectui.com to file for unemployment as soon as possible. It is important to file as soon as you become unemployed. If you need help completing your application, email email@example.com.
If you contract COVID-19 and need to take time off work or are fired, you may file for unemployment benefits. You may also file for unemployment benefits if you are required to self-quarantine, your employer closes during this outbreak or a family member becomes ill. The outcome will depend on a case-by-case basis.
If your employer only permits you to work part-time instead of full-time or you work multiple jobs and your full-time employer closes, you may be eligible for partial unemployment.
If your employer retaliates against you for filing unemployment, you may file a complaint under the Connecticut Unemployment Compensation Act.
The Department of Labor is also suspending federal work search programs requiring unemployment recipients to meet one-on-one for assistance and is suspending work search requirements for unemployment benefits. Furloughed employees are eligible for at least six weeks of benefits.
If you are an employer: If one of your employees is sick with COVID-19, you can require them to stay home, though you should issue them an Unemployment Separation Package.
If you must close your business due to illness or quarantine, direct your employees to www.filectui.com.
The Department of Labor offers a SharedWork program for employers seeing business slow down. This is an alternative to a layoff, allowing employers to reduce full-time employees’ wages by up to 60 percent while workers collect partial unemployment. All employers with at least two full-time or permanent part-time employees can participate. A reduction of work must be between 10 and 60 percent of activities.
More details, including information about paid sick leave, wages and hours, and family medical leave, can be found at this link.
Small businesses are the cornerstone of Connecticut’s economy, employing roughly 700,00 residents. That’s why Connecticut’s Department of Economic and Community Development announced that the 800 small business owners who owe loan payments to the state’s Small Business Express program can defer payment for three months.
Yesterday Governor Lamont submitted a request to the U.S. Small Business Administration, asking the federal agency to issue a declaration that will enable Connecticut’s small business owners to receive economic injury disaster loans. Once these loans become available, I will spread the word on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Starting Thursday, Stop & Shop will offer seniors-only shopping from 6 a.m. to 7:30. Only customers 60 and over — the most vulnerable group for acquiring the virus — will be allowed in the store then.
The decision was made, the chain says, to “practice effective social distancing.”
In addition, starting today, all Stop & Shop stores will now close at 8 p.m. That will give employees more time to unload inventory and stock shelves.
(Hat tip: Paula Lacy)
Nathaniel Brogadir of Delivery.com is offering local restaurant owners no fees for 30 days. Owners should email firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Westport’s Parks & Recreation Department has closed its office until further notice.
All programs and program registration is postponed indefinitely.
Beach emblem sales are postponed until April 1. They can be ordered online then. If assistance is needed, call 203-341-5090.