Child Care Services, Additional Outdoor Activities to Resume in Coming Weeks

At today’s COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy said he is signing an executive order that will allow for the resumption of child care services on June 15, organized sports practices on June 22, and youth day camps, including municipal summer rec programs, on July 6.

Sports activities will be limited to outdoors only and only non-contact drills will be allowed.

Horse racing will also resume, with the first competitive races taking place next weekend. Fans however, will not be allowed inside the grandstands.

Child care centers have been opened throughout the emergency for essential workers only, but the order that the governor is signing will allow them to open their doors to all clients.

“As we prepare to take the first true steps of our restart and recovery, and as more and more workers prepare to get back out to their jobs, we must ensure a continuum of care for their children,” Murphy said.  

Last week, NJBIA and a New Jersey Business Coalition of more than 80 business and nonprofit groups submitted a letter to Governor Murphy urging that without a broader solution for child care, New Jersey would “run the risk of lacking workforce” as part of New Jersey’s overall reopening.

New Jersey Human Services Commissioner Carole Johnson also announced that $20 million in grants will be available to assist child care centers and youth camps in meeting health and safety guidelines in response to COVID-19.

Child care centers can receive up to $5,000, while youth camps can receive up to $2,000.

The money can be used to purchase additional cleaning products, personal protective equipment such as masks, gloves and thermometers, and other products and services to assist centers in complying with appropriate guidelines.

Separately, Murphy also said that if public health data continues to trend in the right direction, he anticipates raising limits to allow for greater indoor religious services to take place as early as June 12.

$100-million Rental Assistance Program

Also announced was the use of $100 million of federal CARES Act funding to create a temporary rental assistance program to assist low- to moderate-income families that have faced a substantial reduction of income as a result of COVID-19.

A portion of the funding will serve those who have a“very low income,” according to Lt. Gov. Sheila Oliver. The remainder of the participants will be selected via an online lottery system that will open in July. These individuals would receive up to six months of rental assistance.

The lottery will show preference to households that are making less than 80% of their area’s median income, and will focus on those who are currently unemployed.

The COVID-19 Short Term Rental Assistance Program website will launch on June 15 with additional information.

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