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In Connecticut, COVID-Related Worker Complaints Are Many, But Feds Punish Few Employers

Oct 27, 2020

Since the coronavirus pandemic began its sweep of the state in March, hundreds of Connecticut workers filed COVID-related complaints with the federal agency tasked with policing health and safety laws.

But so far, only two Connecticut companies have been penalized for COVID-related negligence.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

In raincoats, plastic ponchos and masks, Backus Hospital workers and their families Tuesday lined both sides of Washington Street in Norwich near the facility’s entrance. They held signs, waved to oncoming traffic and chanted.

“Nurses united will never be divided!” 

Ingram Publishing / Thinkstock

The federal Paycheck Protection Program distributed funds to thousands of Connecticut companies earlier this year as a way to help keep them solvent during pandemic shutdowns. The deal was: Keep your employees on the books and what was initially a loan will be converted to a grant. Sounded like a simple idea. The catch was, the paperwork to obtain that loan forgiveness was anything but simple. 

Ali Warshavsky / Connecticut Public Radio

Thursday marked Phase 3 of reopening in Connecticut, allowing restaurants to increase indoor dining capacity to 75% and permitting venues -- for the first time since March -- to host indoor events, like weddings, of up to 100 people. 

Mike Mozart / Flickr

How often do you buy new clothing?

Stores like H&M and Forever 21 sell new styles at low prices, making it easy to constantly update your wardrobe. But, this hour, we listen back to a conversation about the environmental and social costs of "fast fashion". 

CT-N

The new leader of Connecticut’s largest business organization is now in his second month on the job. Chris DiPentima, CEO of the Connecticut Business and Industry Association, joined Connecticut Public Radio’s All Things Considered to talk about the tough act he has to follow, the current business climate statewide and his plans to make Connecticut businesses inclusive and equitable.

jwblinn/iStock / Thinkstock

After reviewing requests by Connecticut insurers to increase health insurance premiums, and considering public testimony, the state Insurance Department has approved next year’s rates at significantly lower levels than requested. 

theater closed sign
Corey Doctorow / Creative Commons

Hartford-area arts organizations impacted by COVID-19 can apply to participate in a new program aimed at building audience and capacity post-pandemic. The Hartford Foundation for Public Giving’s Catalyst for the Arts will feature six weekly group sessions, as well as private coaching sessions facilitated by HFPG and the consulting firms Fathom, CO:LAB and the Free Center.

Tropical Storm Isaias snapped this pole and damaged a transformer on Arlington Road in West Hartford.
Joe Amon / Connecticut Public

First July electric bills went through the roof. Then, hundreds of thousands of Connecticut residents lost power for days after a tropical storm. Today, ratepayer frustration with Connecticut’s largest electric utility, Eversource, are higher than ever.

After years of paying more for electricity with the promise that some would be used to “harden the grid”, many residents are wondering--where did that money go?

This hour, we talk with lawmakers and the state’s utility regulator about how Eversource responded after the recent tropical storm and what needs to change.

Are you an Eversource customer? How do you want to see the utility respond?

Renee McFarlin prepares her client, Jacob, for his dredlock retwist. McFarlin completes a thorough cleaning before each new client enters her Ansonia salon, Lisa's Beauty & Barber, and wears a mask throughout the appointment.
Ali Oshinskie / Connecticut Public Radio

Gov. Ned Lamont recently announced $1.5 million in loans available to women- and minority-owned small businesses in the Lower Naugatuck River Valley. The money comes from a public-private partnership created to address the needs of those more vulnerable businesses as they try to stay afloat in the COVID economy.