Yesterday, October 13, 2020, Governor Phil Murphy announced the release of $100 million in additional Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding.

According to a release issued yesterday by Governor Murphy, the bulk of the money, $70 million, will be distributed to restaurants, microbusinesses, and other small businesses through Phase 3 of the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program. An additional $10 million will be used to help small businesses purchase Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) through the NJEDA Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program; $15 million will go to support renters through the Department of Community Affairs (DCA) COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program; and $5 million will support food banks and other hunger relief efforts.

“Small businesses and the people they employ are the backbone of New Jersey’s economy, yet they have borne a disproportionate share of the burden of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “If we are to emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient than we were before, it is incumbent on us to support them in any way possible. This additional funding helps us accomplish that goal.”

Earlier this April, the state launched the Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA). The program aims to provide aid for small businesses impacted by the current COVID-19 pandemic. To date, over 19,000 small businesses in the state have benefitted from this program.

NJEDA Chief Executive Officer, Tim Sullivan, said, “Supporting small businesses is vital to ensuring New Jersey’s economy withstands the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and is well-positioned for a strong recovery. The Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program and the PPE Access Program are powerful tools that will help thousands of business owners and employees face the challenges the pandemic has created.”

Through the Authority’s Small and Micro Business PPE Access Program, businesses with 100 employees or less will receive grants in the form of automatic discounts on PPE purchased through NJEDA-approved “Designated Vendors”.

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez said, “The federal money will help struggling New Jersey small businesses stay open, help them get the personal protective gear they need to keep employees and customers safe, and provide additional rental and food assistance to residents who need it most.”

According to Lt. Governor and DCA Commissioner, Sheila Oliver, it is important our state’s residence have access to a safe place to call home during this health crisis. She said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating economic impact on many vulnerable New Jersey families and keeping a roof over their heads is our top priority.”

She continued, “The additional support we are providing will extend relief to tenants so they can focus their limited resources on staying safe and secure.” 

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased the state’s hunger issues as families now suffer from lost jobs and wages. With the $5 million going towards hunger relief, Governor Murphy hopes to continue the state’s efforts in combating this problem.

NJ Agriculture Secretary, Douglas Fish, said, “New Jersey’s food banks, pantries and soup kitchens will use this additional funding to help expand their capacity for these continually increase demands.”

As little is known about what lies ahead in regard to the current pandemic, the governor and his team are hoping the CARES Act funding will empower the community to keep fighting.

Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin said, “As we continue our recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, this infusion of funding is critical. It protects jobs and our working families. Together, we will get through this.”