At today’s state COVID-19 press briefing, New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO Tim Sullivan reported that the agency’s new Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program was fully subscribed within hours. “The application window for the program opened at 9:00 a.m. this morning,” Sullivan said. “By 10:16 a.m., we had 10,000 applications … by 1:30 p.m., we had 16,500 applications. “We were expecting it to be oversubscribed, but I don’t think in our wildest imagination did we think it would go as quickly as it has.”
Under the grant program, businesses with 10 employees or less are eligible for up to $5,000. There is a total of $5 million available in the grant program for businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic. Sullivan explains that awards will be given early next week via electronic fund transfers.
Sullivan also discussed the application launch of the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program, a zero interest loan initiative in which up to $100,000 will be available to eligible companies with under $5 million in revenues. “The applications for the program will be available on Monday, April 6, and we will take applications first thing in the morning on April 13,” he said.
These businesses must show a negative impact resulting from the COVID-19 outbreak. Grant information will be available at cv.business.nj.gov
In order to make sure communities with historic challenges in obtaining business financing avail themselves to these resources, Sullivan said the EDA has entered into technical assurance contracts with entities such as the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, the Statewide Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey, the New Jersey Statewide Veterans Chamber of Commerce, and Rising Tide Capital in Jersey City.
“We are eager to see these programs up and running because we know there is pain in the marketplace,” Sullivan said. “ We are going to continue to do whatever we can to stabilize as many businesses as possible.”
Gov. Phil Murphy released the latest numbers of New Jersey residents who have died due to the COVID-19 pandemic – 113 deaths yesterday for a total of 647 to date. He also announced an executive order that all flags across the state will be flown at half staff “immediately and indefinitely to honor those we have lost and will lose.
“This is one of the greatest tragedies to hit the state and nation, and we must have a personal memorial of this loss. Families can’t hold funerals for their loved ones. This is our small way of saying their loss is not forgotten,” the governor said.
In the past 24 hours, an additional 4,372 positive COVID-19 cases were documented in the state, for a total of 29,895.
If there is any positive news pertaining to these numbers, it is that – based on a New York Times-published map of the nation that Murphy referenced – many of the northeastern states, including New Jersey, New York, eastern Pennsylvania, Connecticut and Massachusetts where overwhelmingly gray, indicating less coronavirus spread compared to red areas in other regions of the nation.
This means that social distancing and other preventative measures are working to an extent. “Social distancing trumps anything else,” Murphy said. “It’s the best offense and defense in absence of a vaccine.”
With Holy Week and Passover approaching this coming week, Murphy stressed, “We cannot allow gatherings to happen. We have to be vigilant during these religious holidays.”
On the same topic, State Health Commissioner Judy Persichilli added, “Normally, we congregate for religious services and family gatherings [over the holidays], but we urge residents to abide by the ban on social gatherings. We know this will be difficult, but it is imperative to limit face-to-face interactions in order to slow the spread of this virus.
“We hope our faith leaders will reach out to their congregations and remind them they should not be gathering for services until the ban is lifted,” she said, encouraging these leaders to live stream or televise upcoming services.
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