U.S. Sens. Bob Menendez (D-North Bergen) and Cory Booker (D-Newark) announced nearly $13.8 million in pandemic aid to New Jersey from the Federal Emergency Management Agency Tuesday.
The largest share of the money, about $5.8 million, is meant to aid the New Jersey State Police’s virus response. Specifically, the money will go toward efforts aiding virus testing and contact tracing, as well as planning for reopening the economy as vaccinations continue and transmission rates fall.
“This is critical funding to ensure our state and health care providers can continue responding to the pandemic and keep up with the demand for tests and vaccines,” Menendez said. “We’ll need continued federal funding and resources as the pandemic rages on and I’ll fight to make sure New Jersey receives its fair share.”
Another $4.3 million in grants will reimburse Hackensack Meridian Health for pandemic-related costs.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections will receive nearly $1.9 million to keep afloat its weekly testing program for inmates and staff, while the Kennedy Health System was awarded a little less than $1.8 million to pay for personal protective equipment purchased between January and July of last year.
“As New Jersey continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, it is essential that our state receives the federal funding required to effectively respond to this crisis,” Booker said. “This funding will help ensure that New Jersey’s frontline workers have the critical resources necessary to protect the health and well-being of our state’s residents.”
News of the award came as Gov. Phil Murphy announced a $5 million allocation to an emergency grant program for small businesses impacted in the pandemic in 64 municipalities.
The Small Business – Lease Emergency Grant Program can provide qualifying businesses in those towns and cities with grants of up to $10,000 to maintain their leases.
“This program has helped nearly 1,000 small businesses owners pay their leases during the unprecedented economic fallout from COVID-19,” Murphy said. “The Small Business Lease – Emergency Assistance Grant program is one of many we have stood up over the past year in an effort to help small businesses weather this storm.”