Gov. Phil Murphy today signed legislation that will provide $135 million of COVID-19 relief to small businesses. The bulk of the funding will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) as part of its Phase IV Emergency Grant and NJ Community Stage Relief Grant programs.
“The additional COVID-19 relief funding will be a lifeline to small businesses as they reopen and return to full capacity,” said EDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “Targeted funds for restaurants, arts and culture organizations, and child care providers will be particularly important in ensuring businesses that were severely impacted by the pandemic have the resources they need to make a full recovery.”
To date, the NJEDA has allocated more than $650 million in aid to small businesses across the state.
Murphy explained that the $135 million breaks down into multiple categories to be allocated as follows:
“Together with our partners at the federal level, the NJEDA and other departments have provided more than three quarters of a billion dollars to our small business community as we emerge from the pandemic,” Murphy said.
He added that the money could also indirectly help with the current labor shortage.
“New Jersey is overwhelmingly dependent on small businesses for employment, as 60% of our workforce works at small businesses,” Murphy said. “This money is also going to allow [small businesses] to hire and get their employment back to where it needs to be.”
The bill signing took place at Simply Vietnamese in Tenafly, a restaurant that received previous NJEDA relief after being hit hard by the pandemic.
“Business is picking up, and [the NJEDA money] really, really helped me,” said Simply Vietnamese Owner K.T. Tran, who said she was able to use the money to replace a broken exhaust fan in her restaurant.
Tran said that her business is trending in the right direction, and is about 70% to 80% of what it was prior to the pandemic.
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