Many small businesses got loans during COVID as some states devised ways to offer critical funding

When a large swath of Connecticut was forced to shut down during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic, state officials quickly created an emergency loan program from scratch, hoping to help small businesses — pizza shops, yoga studios and more — weather the economic crisis.

Months later, records obtained by the Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show the fledgling Connecticut Recovery Bridge Loan Program ultimately funded 2,123 one-year, no-interest loans, averaging $19,705 a piece. Because of the massive flood of applications, officials decided to cap loan amounts at $37,500 — half of the $75,000 originally promised when the program was launched in March — to help twice the number of businesses.

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