COVID 19 Resource Page

COVID 19 Resource Page

Downtown New Jersey acts as an advocate for downtown commercial districts in New Jersey, tracking legislative, regulatory, and policy issues that can affect the success of the state’s downtowns and then informing and educating members on these issues.

We will post important updates here related to legislative and policy initiatives in response to COVID 19, as well as resources from peers and experts. Things are moving fast, so we are adding information regularly – be sure to hit refresh each time you visit to make sure you see the latest updates.

Resource Table of Contents (click to jump to section)

DNJ Forums

Downtown New Jersey is providing a series of virtual opportunities for downtown managers, economic development professionals, and public officials to exchange ideas about best practices related to downtown economic development in light of the COVID-19 crisis. Exchanges are occurring both via a Facebook Group and a series of scheduled live online web forums. More information>

Downtown New Jersey created a safe space for members and partners to exchange ideas about hot topics in downtown economic development. There are currently several feeds related to COVID-19 response.

Please note that you must answer the membership questions to be approved. We want to be sure only “real people” are joining, and we need to know who you are before we will approve your membership. Also, this group is is not intended for individual business owner participation, rather it is meant to be an exchange of ideas between those involved with the management of downtown business districts.

NJ Resources

NJ Administrative Action

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 107 on March 21, 2020, closing all non-essential businesses and directs all residents to stay at home except to obtain essential goods or services, seek medical attention, report to work, or engage in outdoor activities. Subsequent Executive Orders have extended the Public Health Emergency.

On April 27, 2020, Governor Murphy announced the State’s 6 Principle Plan for Reopening. On May 8th, Governor Murphy created the Restart & Recovery Advisory CouncilDowntown New Jersey is participating on the Main Street Committee, and submitted a policy paper about restart and recovery. 

On May 15, 2020, Governor Murphy unveiled a 3-stage approach to restarting the economy. For a one-page summary of Governor Murphy’s multi-stage approach to restart New Jersey’s economy, click here.

STAGE 1 

Restrictions relaxed on low-risk activities if appropriately safeguarded. New Jersey is currently in this stage.

Phased-in businesses may include:

  • Non-essential, but easiest to safeguard, work activities at physical locations if they meet safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, non-essential construction with protections.
  • Some non-essential retail may open with significant modifications. For example, curbside pickup.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home even if their industry is reopening. For example, an office manager for a construction company.
  • Phased-in activities include State and county parks, non-essential construction, curbside retail, drive-in activities, beaches, and elective surgeries.
STAGE 2
(GOVERNOR ANNOUNCED A PHASED APPROACH INTO STAGE 2 STARTING JUNE 15)

Restrictions are relaxed on additional activities that can be easily safeguarded.

Phased-in businesses may include:

  • More work activities are allowed at physical locations only if they adhere to safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 2 may include expanded retail, safeguarded restaurants with outdoor seating, limited personal care, and possibly indoor dining, museums, and libraries, all with significantly reduced capacity.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, a buying manager for restaurants.
    Some personal care services may be provided on a limited basis.
STAGE 3

Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding.

Phased-in businesses include:

  • More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 3 may include expanded dining, critical in-office work, limited entertainment, expanded personal care, and bars with limited capacity.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, accounting office workers.
  • Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis.

Precautions that apply across all stages include:

  • Work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home.
  • Clinically high-risk individuals who can stay at home should continue to do so.
  • All residents and businesses should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines:
    • Wash hands
    • Wear masks in public
    • Respect social distancing
    • Minimize gatherings
    • Disinfect workplace and businesses
    • Minimize gatherings
    • No mass gatherings

Governor Phil Murphy signed Executive Order No. 107 on March 21, 2020, closing all non-essential businesses and directs all residents to stay at home except to obtain essential goods or services, seek medical attention, report to work, or engage in outdoor activities. The Public Health Emergency declaration has been extended several through subsequent Executive Orders., and is still in effect In mid-May, the State started  implementing a phased approach to reopening that will be updated here as things progress.

The following are highlights of rules and restrictions relative to downtowns. For detailed information, visit the State’s COVID-19 Information Hub at: covid19.nj.gov

  • The indoor gathering limit is 100 people or 25% capacity of the room capacity(whichever is less). Attendees must wear masks, and social distancing protocols must be followed. In addition, outdoor gatherings of no more than 100 people can resume with social distancing protocols. (The outdoor limit is anticipated to increase to 250 people on 6/22, and 500 people on 7/3.)
  • According to Executive Order 147 issued on May 13, 2020, gatherings of more than 10 people outside can resume as of May 18th as long as they follow social distancing guidelines. This also applies to recreation and entertainment events/activities. This executive order also allows certain outdoor recreational businesses or activities: archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, horseback riding, shooting ranges, and tennis clubs. (Executive Order 152 expands the limit to 100 as of June 9.)
  • According to Executive Order 147 issued on May 13, 2020, non-essential businesses can re-open for delivery and curbside pick-up of pre-purchased goods as of May 18, 2020. (Allowed to re-open for in-store purchases with social distancing protocols as of June 15.)
  • Executive Order No. 122 describes restrictions on essential businesses that remain open (and for non-essential retail starting June 15), including:
    • Limit occupancy at 50% of the stated maximum store capacity, if applicable, at one time;
      b. Establish hours of operation, wherever possible, that permit access solely to high-risk individuals, as defined by the CDC;
      c. Install a physical barrier, such as a shield guard, between customers and cashiers/baggers wherever feasible or otherwise ensure six feet of distance between those individuals, except at the moment of payment and/or exchange of goods;
      d. Require infection control practices, such as regular hand washing, coughing and sneezing etiquette, and proper tissue usage and disposal;
      e. Provide employees break time for repeated hand washing throughout the workday; 6
      f. Arrange for contactless pay options, pickup, and/or delivery of goods wherever feasible. Such policies shall, wherever possible, consider populations that do not have access to internet service;
      g. Provide sanitization materials, such as hand sanitizer and sanitizing wipes, to staff and customers;
      h. Require frequent sanitization of high-touch areas like restrooms, credit card machines, keypads, counters and shopping carts;
      i. Place conspicuous signage at entrances and throughout the store, if applicable, alerting staff and customers to the required six feet of physical distance;
      j. Demarcate six feet of spacing in check-out lines to demonstrate appropriate spacing for social distancing; and
      k. Require workers and customers to wear cloth face coverings while on the premises, except where doing so would inhibit that individual’s health or where the individual is under two years of age, and require workers to wear gloves when in contact with customers or goods. Businesses must provide, at their expense, such face coverings and gloves for their employees. If a customer refuses to wear a cloth face covering for non-medical reasons and if such covering cannot be provided to the individual by the business at the point of entry, then the
      business must decline entry to the individual, unless the business is providing medication,  medical supplies, or food, in which case the business policy should provide alternate methods of pickup and/or delivery of such goods. Nothing in the stated policy should prevent workers or customers from wearing a surgical-grade mask or other more protective face covering if the individual is already in possession of such equipment, or if the business is otherwise required to provide such worker with more protective equipment due to the nature of the work involved. Where an individual declines to wear a face covering on store premises due to a medical condition that inhibits such usage, neither the essential retail business nor its staff shall require the individual to produce medical documentation verifying the stated condition.
  • Executive Orders also:
    • Closed all schools until further notice
    • Closed all casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers until further notice
    • Closed all indoor retail shopping malls, amusement parks, and amusement centers until further notice
    • Closed all personal-care businesses and social clubs which cannot comply with social distancing guidelines until further notice, including barber shops, hair salons, spas, nail and eyelash salons, tattoo parlors, etc. until further notice
    • Closed all municipal, county, and State public libraries, and all libraries and computer labs at public and private colleges and universities.
  • Executive Order No. 108 states that municipal and county orders cannot conflict with Executive Order No. 107 (described above) except that they may choose to apply stricter restriction for:
    • Parks under their jurisdiction
    • Online lodging marketplace (e.g. AirBNB, VRBO, etc.) 
  • Executive Order No. 109 cancels all elective surgeries or invasive procedures scheduled for after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020.
  • While Executive Order No.  118 closed all State and County parks as of April 7, 2020, the Governor issued a Executive Order No. 133 on April 29th to re-open parks as of May 2nd for passive recreational activities with strict distancing rules.
  • Executive Order No. 122 halted all non-essential construction projects as of April 8, 2020. According to Executive Order 147 issued on May 13, 2020, non-essential construction projects can resume on May 18th with social distancing protocols in place.
  • Executive order No. 123 extends property, casualty and life insurance premium grace periods to 90 days, and health insurance premiums to 60 days.
  • According to Executive Order 147 issued on May 13, 2020, gatherings of more than 10 people can resume as of May 18th as long as they occur within vehicles and follow social distancing guidelines. This also applies to recreation and entertainment events/activities. This executive order also allows certain outdoor recreational businesses or activities: archery ranges, batting cages, golf driving ranges, horseback riding, shooting ranges, and tennis clubs.
NJ Programs & Resources

Below are NJ programs to assist downtowns and/or small businesses. We will provide updated information as economic relief programs come on line. See “NJ Legislation” below for information about enacted and pending bills.

NJ Economic Relief Funding

The NJEDA announced several relief packages including a grant program for small businesses, a zero percent interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information.

Phase 2 (application opened June 9): NJEDA will award $45 million in federal CARES Act funding to small businesses. To ensure that funding goes to businesses and communities that need it most, $15 million of Phase 2 funding will be set aside to support qualified businesses located in one of the 715 census tracts that were eligible to be selected as a New Jersey Opportunity Zone. Additionally, all NAICS code restrictions from Phase 1 of the grant will be removed for Phase 2.

  • NJEDA’s Christina Fuentes joined DNJ’s Downtown Management Forum on Friday, May 29th to provide an overview of the refined program. Forum Recap>
  • While submissions already exceed funding capacity, applications will continue to be accepted for about a week as not all will be deemed eligible/approved.

Businesses will receive $1,000 per full-time employee, (based on WR-30 filing). Sole proprietorships or other companies with no full-time employees will receive the minimum grant amount ($1,000).

  • Minimum grant amount (per application): $1,000
  • Maximum grant amount (per application): $10,000 (for entities with more than 10 FTEs)

Your organization is eligible for a Phase 2 Emergency Relief Grant if…

  • You have 25 or fewer full-time employees, as reported on most recent WR-30 filing with the New Jersey Department of Labor
  • You have a physical commercial location in the State of New Jersey
  • Home-based businesses must be based at a home located in New Jersey
  • You are a non-profit organized as 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), and 501(c)(7) organizations
  • Your CEO certifies that your business: 1) Was in operation on February 15, 2020; 2) Will make a best effort not to furlough or lay off any individuals from the time of application through six months after the end of the declared state of emergency; 3) Has been negatively impacted by the COVID-19 declared state of emergency on March 9, 2020; 4) Has a material financial need that cannot be overcome without the grant of emergency relief funds
  • Your Business: 1) Is registered to do business in the State of New Jersey; 2) Does not have any outstanding tax liabilities; 3) Is in good standing with the New Jersey Department of Labor

Phase 1 (closed): This $5 million program will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses. The program is limited to businesses with 1 to 10 full time employees (1099 workers do not qualify). The business must be registered in NJ and have physical location here (home-based businesses do not qualify). Non-profits are eligible. Qualifying business type is by NAICS code, including retail (codes starting with 44 or 45); accommodation & food services (codes starting with 72); arts, entertainment & recreation (codes starting with 71); other services (codes starting with 811 and 812). This is a self-certification program, meaning that businesses must certify, but does not need to provide paperwork to prove “need”. An agreement to retain employees is part of the self-certification. 

In addition to these pandemic-specific funds and loans, NJEDA continues to provide its traditional loans to support small businesses:

  • Micro-Business Loan: On June 9th, the NJEDA announced an expansion of its Micro Business Loan Program to assist New Jersey small businesses, many of which are facing business interruption as a result of COVID-19. The expanded program will provide financing up to $50,000 for micro businesses and nonprofits with ten or fewer employees and no greater than $1.5 million in annual revenues. The 10-year loan has no payments for 3 years and a 2% interest rate. For loans under $25,000, there is no collateral requirement. There will be a forgivable piece, and fees are waived. 

(click to enlarge)

  • Small Business Fund: Loans up to $500,000 for businesses and non-profits that have less than $3 million annual revenue.
  • Direct Loan: Eligible businesses can receive up to $2 million for fixed assets, and up to $750,000 for working capital. To be eligible, businesses must create and retain one full-time job for every $65,000 within two years.
  • NJ Entrepreneur Support Program: This $5 million program encourages continued capital flows to new companies by providing 80 percent loan guarantees up to $200,000 for working capital loans to entrepreneurs. Eligible companies must be headquartered in NJ, with less than 25 employees (at least 50% of whom are in NJ), and have under $5 million in revenue. The company must be in one of the following sectors: advanced manufacturing, information/technology, life sciences, finance and insurance, clean energy, food and beverage, advanced transportation, food and beverage, film and digital media.
  • Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program: This $10 million program provides 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI programs. Businesses must have a physical location in NJ, have been in existence for at least one year, have less than $5 million in revenue, demonstrate negative impact from COVID-19, and certify effort to retain employees.

This $10 million program that will provide short-term working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses. Loans will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, and then will reset to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years. The business must have a physical location in NJ, less than $5 million in revenues, and have been in existence for at least 1 year. To be eligible for the loan, the business must demonstrate negative impact from COVID-19. Application window is closed. More information>

In addition, the NJEDA provided financial support to the following organizations to provide technical support to businesses applying for federal assistance from Small Business Administration (SBA) programs. Assistance includes, preparing financial information, packaging application documentation, and completing and submitting the on-line or paper-based application.

Assisting organizations include:

NJ Legislation

DNJ is reviewing legislation as it is introduced and will post updates to this page as things progress… 

  • P.L. 2020, c.35 (A4157/S2387): Extends time period for filing and processing certain property tax appeals in 2020.
    The legislation extends the deadline to file an FY20 tax appeal to July 1, 2020, and extends the deadline for decision to September 30, 2021. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on May 28, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.33 (A3966/S2413): Concerns delivery and sale of alcoholic beverages during declared state of emergency; requires ABC director to notify licensees of certain tax exemptions during emergency.
    The legislation allows establishments with consumption liquor licenses the ability to sell and deliver alcoholic beverages. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on May 15, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.8 (A3845/S2284): Authorizes EDA to make grants during periods of emergency declared by Governor and for duration of economic disruptions due to emergency; allows EDA to grant certain business documentation submission deadline extensions.
    This legislation authorizes the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) to provide grants during periods of emergency declared by the Governor for the planning, designing, acquiring, constructing, reconstructing, improving, equipping, and furnishing of a project, including, but not limited to, grants for working capital and meeting payroll requirements. The bill also extends the uses of the economic growth account in the Economic Recovery Fund to small and medium-size businesses and not-for-profit corporations. Finally, the bill extends the deadline for Grow NJ projects. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on March 20, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.9 (A3848/S2301): Concerns time off from work in connection with infectious disease.
    The legislation prohibits an employer, during the COVID-19 State of Emergency declared by the Governor in Executive Order 103, from terminating or refusing to reinstate an employee if the employee requests or takes time off from work based on the recommendation from a medical professional because the employee has, or is likely to have, an infectious disease. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on March 20, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.16 (A3865/S2291): Limits return of items purchased from retail food stores under certain circumstances.
    The legislation prohibits retail food stores to accept returns of any groceries  purchased during the state of emergency declared in response to COVID-19 and for 30 days following. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on March 20, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.17, (S2304/A3900): Concerns family leave and disability benefits during epidemic-related emergencies.
    The legislation makes a COVID-19 illnesses (or suspected illness) eligible for earned sick leave and disability insurance, as well as the care of a family member with COVID-19 illnesses (or suspected illness) an eligible reason for family leave protections. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on March 25, 2020.
  • P.L.2020, c.19., S2338/A3918: “COVID-19 Fiscal Mitigation Act”
    The legislation extends filing and payment deadline for gross income tax or corporation business tax return taxpayers to July 15, 2020. The legislation passed both houses and was approved by Governor Murphy on April 14, 2020.
Latest Movement in June
  • S2437/A3978: Limits service fees charged to restaurants by third-party food takeout and delivery applications during COVID-19 state of emergency.
    During a state of emergency, third-party take-out and delivery websites/apps are prohibited from charging a fee greater than 25% of the order where delivery is being provided by the third-party, or greater than 10% where delivery is being provided by restaurant staff. The bill passed in both houses on June 18, 2020. Governor Murphy has not yet taken action on the bill.
  • S2346/A3919: Extends certain permits during COVID-19 emergency.
    The legislation extends existing permit approvals six months after the end of the declared COVID-19 public health emergency. The bill passed in both houses on May 14, 2020. Governor Murphy has not yet taken action on the bill.
  • S2485/A4228: Authorizes municipality to prohibit eviction as a remedy of nonpayment of rent due during time surrounding COVID-19 pandemic.
    The legislation authorizes municipalities to prohibit eviction as remedy for nonpayment of residential or commercial rent through the COVID-19 State of Emergency. An amendment was passed on the Senate floor on June 15, 2020 to exclude commercial tenants. A companion bill was introduced in the Assembly on June 8, 2020 and referred to the Housing Committee.
  • A4190/S2522: Permits certain entertainment and retail activity during current public health emergency and state of emergency.
    The legislation would allow a municipality to designate one or more days per week, from Thursday through Sunday, during which any municipal street, road or sidewalk, or county street, road, or sidewalk, that traverses a business district of the municipality shall be closed to vehicular traffic and shall be accessible by pedestrians only. It also directs the ABC to issue a special ruling to allow for the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in outdoor places in a manner that adheres to current social distancing practices. The bill passed in the Senate on June 15, 2020 and was reported out of the Assembly State and Local Government Committee on June 18, 2020.
  • S2542: Allows municipality to suspend certain zoning requirements during COVID-19 emergency.
    The legislation allow a municipality, by resolution, to suspend or temporarily modify specific provisions of a zoning ordinance, or grant temporary relief from the terms and conditions of a prior land approval, in order to facilitate the ability of a business to resume operation during the COVID-19 emergency. The bill passed in the Senate on June 15, 2020 and was referred to the Assembly State and Local Government Committee (no bill number yet).
  • A4175: “New Jersey COVID-19 Emergency Bond Act,” authorizes issuance of State bonds totaling $5 billion and authorizes borrowing from federal government.
    The legislation authorizes the issuance of $5 billion in State general obligation bonds to be used for the purpose of responding to the fiscal exigencies caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic. The bill also authorizes the Governor to apply for and receive federal stimulus loans for the benefit of local government units. The bill passed in the Assembly on June 4, 2020 and was referred to Senate Budget and Appropriations Committee (no bill number yet).
  • A4189/S2502: Establishes immunity for businesses against damage claims for COVID-19 exposure; excludes reckless or intentional conduct.
    The bill was introduced in the Assembly on June 1, 2020 and referred to the Judiciary Committee. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate and referred to the Judiciary Committee on June 4, 2020.
  • S2493/A4195: Allows commercial property owner to claim tax credit against CBT or GIT for providing commercial tenant rent forgiveness during COVID-19 emergency.
    The legislation allows commercial property owners who grant their tenants rent forgiveness because of the COVID-19 pandemic, to claim a tax credit against the taxpayer’s Corporation Business Tax or Gross Income Tax liability. The bill was introduced in the Senate on May 28, 2020 and referred to the Budget and Appropriations Committee. A similar bill was introduced in the Assembly on June 1, 2020 and referred to the Commerce and Economic Development Committee.
Latest Movement in May
  • A3971/S2475: Authorizes the issuance of “coronavirus relief bonds” by municipalities and counties.
    This legislation would allow counties and municipalities to borrow moneys (through the issuance of bonds and notes) to cover the revenue shortfalls and additional costs that are directly attributable to the COVID-19 pandemic. The legislation passed in the Assembly on May 14, 2020. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate on May 11, 2020 and referred to the Community and Urban Affairs Committee.
  • S2347/A4030: Establishes Employment and Business-Related Tax Deferral Assistance Program in NJEDA.
    The legislation establishes a program in the NJEDA that would enable businesses to apply for a deferral of employment and business-related taxes collected by the State. The legislation passed in the Senate on April 13, 2020. The bill was reported out of the Assembly Appropriations Committee on May 11, 2020.
  • S2348/A3960: Allows tax credits to certain taxpayers that retain employees during COVID-19 pandemic.
    The legislation provides a 20% match of the employment tax credit authorized under the federal CARES Act. The legislation passed the Senate on April 13, 2020. The bill was introduced in the Assembly on May 1, 2020 and was referred to the Budget Committee.
Latest Movement in April or Earlier
  • S2341: Authorizes Governor to restrict rent increases on certain commercial tenants during emergency circumstances.
    The legislation enables the Governor to prohibit a commercial rent increase greater than twice the rate of inflation as indicated by increases in the consumer price index for the immediately preceding nine-month period. The bill passed the Senate on April 13, 2020 and was referred to the Assembly Housing Committee.
  • A3902: Permits extension of certain deadlines applicable to local government units under emergency circumstances.
    The legislation would give a municipality to extend the grace period for quarterly property tax payments and other municipal charges. (We presume this would extend the grace period for SID assessments as well.) The bill passed in the Assembly on April 9, 2020, and was referred to the Senate without committee assignment.
  • S2354/A3920: Prohibits cancellation or nonrenewal of insurance for a period of at least 60 days.
    The legislation prohibits the cancellation of any insurance policy for at least 60 days from March 1, 2020. The bill passed in the Senate on April 13, 2020. A companion bill was introduced in the Assembly on April 9, 2020. 
  • S2339: Concerns certain benefits and leave provided to workers.
    The legislation increases unemployment benefit maximum amount, and reduces the minimum earnings for eligibility. The bill was introduced in the Senate on April 9, 2020. A companion bill has not been introduced in the Assembly.
  • A3844: Concerns business interruption insurance during coronavirus disease 2019 state of emergency.
    The resolution indemnifies the insured of businesses with less than 100 eligible full-time employees for any loss of business or business interruption for the duration of  a declared State of Emergency. The insurer may apply to the Commissioner of Banking and Insurance for relief and reimbursement of such claims. The Emergency Resolution was introduced and passed by the Assembly on March 16, 2020. So far, it has not moved further in the legislative process.
  • S2363/A3921: Authorizes Governor to permit emergency rent suspension for certain small business tenants during COVID-19 pandemic.
    The legislation authorizes the Governor to issue executive order allowing rent suspension of up to 3 months for distressed small business tenants. The rent would be repaid over 6 to 9 months, commencing the 2nd month after the end of the emergency declaration. The bill passed both houses on April 13, 2020. Governor Murphy issued an absolute veto of this legislation on May 28, 2020.
  • A3846/S2293: Creates “Temporary Lost Wage Unemployment Program;” allows persons to claim for lost wages due to coronavirus disease 2019, and employers to pay wages to workers ordered under quarantine by licensed healthcare practitioner; appropriates $20,000,000.
    The legislation provides provide, to the extent funds are available, monetary relief to individuals for actual lost wages in an amount that is equivalent to the individual’s average weekly rate of compensation from the past calendar year, if the individuals do not have fully paid leave and to employers who pay wages to workers who are ordered under quarantine by a licensed healthcare practitioner as a result of coronavirus disease 2019. There will also be moneys, not to exceed $10,000,000, to pay the lost wages of individuals due to (1) the individual’s absence from work due to the need to care for a family member; (2) the individual’s absence from work due to the illness of the individual; (3) the individual’s absence from work due to school or childcare facility being closed; and (4) for such other purposes as determined by the commissioner. The bill passed both houses on March 19, 2020. Governor Murphy issued an absolute veto of this legislation on May 4, 2020.

Federal Resources

Federal Funding Resources

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act passed into law on March 27, 2020. The legislation establishes programs to provide assistance to small business and private non-profits. Below is a summary of the major programs and initiatives. 

This Small Business Administration (SBA) Paycheck Protection Program provides guaranteed loans to employers that maintain payroll through the COVID-19 emergency. The loans are available to organizations that existed as of February 15, 2020 with fewer than 500 employees. The SBA will forgive the portions of the loan used for payroll costs (for employees with compensation under $100,000), health benefits, rent, mortgage interest payments, utilities, and interest on debt occurred prior to the covered period. Any remaining loan amount not eligible to be forgiven can be carried forward at a maximum 4 percent interest rate for a maximum of 10 years with the first 6 months of payments deferred. The maximum loan amount is $10 million. (Small businesses may apply for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, but may not use the resources for the same expenses.)

While the program initially ran out of money quickly, an additional allocation of $310 billion was appropriated. As of June 4, there is still funding available. Businesses should continue to submit applications through their banks. copy of the application can be referenced to determine necessary information.

These grants provide an emergency advance payment up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). This advance does not need to be paid back under any circumstance, and  may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments. Small businesses in existence as of January 31, 2020 with 500 or fewer employees are eligible for EIDL, including sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and cooperatives and employee owned businesses. Most private non-profits of any size are also eligible. (Small businesses may apply for both the Paycheck Protection Program and the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, but may not use the resources for the same expenses.) 

On June 15, SBA began accepting new EIDL and EIDL Advance applications from qualified small businesses and U.S. agricultural businesses. Contact an SBA resource partner for assistance (list below).

The Small Business Debt Relief Program is for existing SBA 7(a), 504 and microloan holders, the SBA will cover all loan payments on these loans for 6 months, including principal, interest, and fees.

The SBA Express Bridge Loan is for small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender, they can to access up to $25,000 quickly. The funds can be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from an EIDL loan.

Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds can be used for a range of eligible activities, including assistance to businesses and special economic development assistance. More information in the Quick Guide to CDBG Eligible Activities.

SBA’s resource partners will receive additional funds to expand their reach and better support small business owners with counseling and up-to-date information regarding COVID-19.

SBA resource partners include:

  • Local Small Business Development Centers (SBDC)
  • Women’s Business Centers (WBC)
  • SCORE mentorship chapters

To find a local resource partner, visit sba.gov/local-assistance/find.

In addition, NJEDA has provided funds to the following organizations to provide similar assistance:

Other Federal Informational Resources

Local Initiatives

Is your town implementing innovative initiatives to help your small businesses? Let us know, and we’ll share the information here.

  • Municipalities across NJ are passing resolutions, amending ordinances, and enacting policies to better enable their businesses to expand outdoors. More information>
  • Downtown Somerville launches “Somerville From Home” website featuring ways to support local businesses, and virtual activities to boost a sense of community.
  • Fort Lee BID is using a portion of its budget to purchase gift cards from its restaurants to then give to first responders. This program is for businesses that are still open, willing to deliver, and interested in participating. Gift card purchases are divided equally among those eligible to participate.
  • The Springfield Community Partnership is subsidizing a campaign for residents to purchase $25 gift cards for $15.
  • Prospect and Ironbound BIDs in Newark are raising money through private contributions to provide seniors and other income qualified residents with vouchers for essential purchases.
  • Metuchen Downtown Alliance is working with borough to help local businesses stay afloat (CentralJersey.com)
  • Englewood Chamber of Commerce collected and disseminated information for establishments were their businesses can “shop local” for cleaning services and supplies.

Other Resources

Communities across the country are working to open the streets and the public realm to enable residents and businesses to spread out. Below are best practices resources to help your community  implement some of these concepts: