CT small businesses continue to struggle in Phase 2 reopening as Phase 3 is delayed

New Haven

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Businesses and jobless alike are not feeling the optimism coming from Washington.

“We have been here over 60 years,” said Jim Civitello, owner of Enson’s Gentlemen’s Fashion. “We love providing this service to the greater New Haven Community.”

Civitello is relying on his regulars to get through the pandemic. But his tailor’s station sits empty, the scissors and sewing machine stationary until Civitello can bring his employees back full time.

“The streets are literally empty. Even with the Phase Two reopening it hasn’t helped that much,” said Civitello. “We’re hoping in September when the students, some of the students, do come back it’s going to bring the parents, the faculty, the staff back to where we’re able to do a little more business.”

RELATED: CTDOL: near 651,000 applications processed since March, high weekly application volume continues

The Connecticut Department of Labor says the number of weekly jobless claims for both state and federal programs is holding steady at 300,000. Though the national economy added nearly 5 million jobs in June and the national unemployment rate has dropped to 11% from 13%, this is nothing close to pre-pandemic levels.

“It’s great if there’s been a resurgence, but I still know plenty of people out of work,” said Nick Civitello, who is now helping his father run Enson’s.

As the Northeast corridor reacts to virus spikes in the Sun Belt, small businesses here are bracing for impact. Governor Ned Lamont just officially confirmed a delay for the rollout of Phase 3, which would have allowed bars to reopen.

“Safety is the first concern,” said New Haven’s Olives and Oil General Manager Dave St. Onge. “It’s a little bit disappointing for us.”

St. Onge is eager to bring back his full staff of cooks, hosts, and waiters, but for now, all he can tell them is, “We’re trying to get busy enough to hire you back.”

Updated state jobless numbers are expected on July 12. The latest data shows Connecticut with a 19% unemployment rate prior to June.

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