Over one-third of Connecticut's small businesses have closed their doors since January according to a new report from a Harvard University-based research institute.

The Opportunity Insights report found 37% of Connecticut small businesses closed this year because of COVID-19 disruptions and restrictions, sixth highest in the country.

The number of Connecticut small businesses open in December 2020 was 37% lower than in January 2020. Source: Opportunity Insights.

And Connecticut small business revenues are 39% lower than in January 2020, the 11th largest decline among the 50 states.

The nonpartisan research institute used a number of data sources, including credit card transactions to develop the report.

Restaurants are among the hardest hit small businesses in the state, with the leisure and hospitality sector losing 87,900 (56%) of industry jobs in March and April.

While the sector has since regained two-thirds of those lost jobs, surging coronavirus cases and government restrictions mean many more small businesses face a bleak winter.

Relief Measures

The latest coronavirus relief package adopted by Congress Dec. 21 is expected to provide short-term help, just as an earlier measure passed in April provided much-need support.

President Donald Trump has yet to sign the bill, and wants amendments that could place the entire package in jeopardy although it passed both the House and Senate with veto-proof majorities.

That relief measure includes a new round of Paycheck Protection Program loans for businesses with 300 or fewer employees.

The Lamont administration this week also announced another $35 million in emergency relief grants for small and mid-sized businesses.

"The federal and state relief measures will help many small businesses navigate what is expected to be a very challenging winter," CBIA president and CEO Chris DiPentima said.

"It is critical that state lawmakers use the pending legislative session to provide the long-term support and relief that small businesses so desperately need."

Rebuilding Connecticut

DiPentima said small business support was a critical component of CBIA's Rebuilding Connecticut policy agenda, which is supported by a bipartisan group of more than 50 state lawmakers.

"Small businesses will be critical in the rebuilding, reimagining, and the resurgence of Connecticut's economy," DiPentima said.

"Lawmakers must help them manage the high costs of the pandemic, create and retain jobs, and lead the rebuilding of our economy stronger and better than before."

"Lawmakers must help small businesses manage the high costs of the pandemic, create and retain jobs, and lead the rebuilding of our economy."

CBIA's Chris DiPentima

New London County experienced the highest percentage of closings, with 42% of small businesses shutting down operations.

Fairfield County saw 37% of small businesses close, followed by New Haven (36%), and Hartford (25%).

Small business revenues in Hartford County also declined less than the state overall, falling 16% this year.