Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation (S-3982) on Wednesday that provides additional aid to small businesses in New Jersey that are still recovering or require assistance due to the pandemic.
The bill offers $135 million that will be distributed throughout the state by the Economic Development Authority as part of its Phase IV Emergency Grant Program and NJ Community State Relief Program.
“This is desperately needed money to get small businesses back on their feet,” said Murphy.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, small businesses, especially family owned eateries, faced an overwhelming loss of profit that struggled to keep many afloat. Simply Vietnamese, owned by K.T. Tran, and Ma Mi Eatery, owned by Joseph Diovisalvo, were no exception.
“Business is picking up and that money has really, really helped me,” said Tran. “When you own a business, it is a stressful business.”
With the money from the emergency fund, Tran was able to fix issues the Simply Vietnamese encountered in the past few months, such as replacing their water heater and exhaust fan, that she says she would not have been able to fix without the funds.
Diovisalvo faced similar problems that Tran, his mother, had also faced.
“Say we started at a 10 [before the pandemic,] we almost went down to a 1,” Diovisalvo said. “I think we are getting back to an 8 or 9. We’re pushing back now.”
The funds of the bill will be allocated as follows: $55 million to microbusinesses, $15 million to bar and restaurants, $10 million to childcare facilities, $10 to for profit arts and cultural organizations and $45 million to eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations.
The funds will be administered mainly by the NJEDA and will help fund all eligible Phase IV applications.
State Sens. Dawn Addiego (D-Evesham) and Linda Greenstein (D-Plainsboro) were primary sponsors of the bill, along with Assemblymen Gordon Johnson (D-Englewood), Vince Mazzeo (D-Northfield) and Andrew Zwicker (D-South Brunswick).