NJ’s Restart Continues as Murphy Increases Outdoor Gathering Limit Ahead of Holiday

Amid record breaking COVID-19 numbers in some states across the country as well as the postponement of reopening indoor dining in New Jersey, today still marks a big day in the Garden State’s economic restart, as casinos, outdoor amusement and water parks, museums, libraries, indoor recreation activities, and individualized training at gyms, are now allowed to open.

At today’s COVID-19 press briefing, Gov. Phil Murphy urged those that will be partaking in any activities over the holiday weekend to do so responsibly and to wear face coverings.

The governor also signed two executive orders, the first of which raises the limit on outdoor gatherings from 250 people to 500 people effective tomorrow. The second extends the state’s public health emergency by 30 days.

Unemployment Update

Additionally, this morning, the New Jersey Department of Labor (DOL) released its latest unemployment figures, which revealed that there were approximately 28,000 claims last week, which marks a decrease in claims by roughly 5,000 from the week prior.

Overall, more than 1.3 million claims have been filed over the course of the past three and a half months. 

According to Murphy, 96% of all who have been deemed monetarily eligible have received an unemployment payment, and a total of $9.1 billion has been paid out to New Jerseyans.

This includes $612 million in federal relief to self employed and gig economy New Jerseyans who would have not qualified for unemployment, and $170 million in extended federal benefits for those who had exhausted their prior eligibility.

Murphy noted that DOL has extended benefits by an additional 20 weeks.

EDA Aiding Small Businesses

New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan said that the organization has assisted 6,700 companies and provided $26.3 million in grants and loans through a variety of programs.

“Under Phase 2 of our Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program we have now awarded 3,300 grants for more than $11 million,” Sullivan said, adding that 22.3% of businesses assisted are minority-owned and 26.8% are women-owned.

“I am confident that the payoff of these investments will come in a state economy that is stronger and more resilient,” Murphy said.

To access more business news, visit NJB News Now.

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