Senate Approves Legislation to Allocate Funding to Businesses Affected by COVID-19

Trenton – In response to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting the state’s economy, the Senate today passed a number of bills that would dedicate federal funding to businesses affected by the pandemic.
S-3519, sponsored by Senators Linda Greenstein and Joseph Lagana, would appropriate $15 million in federal funds to the EDA to support businesses and nonprofits in need.
“In the last year, many of our businesses and nonprofit organizations have been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, with many being forced to permanently close due to a lack of revenue,” said Senator Greenstein (D-Mercer/Middlesex). “We must do whatever we can to prevent more businesses from closing amid this public health emergency. This bill would provide the necessary funds to assist businesses in need as they work tirelessly to remain open.”
S-3520, sponsored by Senators M. Teresa Ruiz and Lagana, would appropriate $10 million in federal funds to the EDA to support child care centers in need. Under the bill, the grants will be awarded by the EDA to child care centers that are in need of support as a result of the public health crisis.
“Over the last year, our child care centers have had to navigate ever-changing COVID-19 safety protocols forcing them to increase sanitation practices and reduce occupancy. While all of these measures were vital to preventing community spread, they have taken a serious toll on the financial well-being of childcare providers,” said Senator Ruiz (D-Essex). “This funding will help ensure these businesses are able to keep their doors open and continue to serve their communities as parents begin working in person once again. We cannot afford to have this industry collapse; it is too vital to any reopening plans.”
S-3521, sponsored by Senators Lagana and Dawn Addiego, would appropriate $15 million in federal funds to the EDA and New Jersey Council on the Arts to support arts and culture organizations in need.
“The past year has been tough for the organizations and businesses that make New Jersey such a special place,” said Senator Lagana (D-Bergen). “The five bills in this relief package will be a valuable source of support for places struggling to survive, like mom and pop businesses, local restaurants, child care centers and the arts. No legislation will undo the devastating impact of this pandemic, but we can invest in our communities and begin to rebuild stronger than ever.”
S-3523, sponsored by Senators Addiego and Lagana, would appropriate $25 million in federal funds to EDA to support microbusinesses in need. Under the bill, the grants will be awarded by the EDA to microbusinesses that produce goods or provide services, have 5 or fewer full-time employees, and are in need of support as a result of the public health crisis.
“New Jersey never fully recovered from the Great Recession, and a lot of that was due to the limited relief residents, businesses and organizations received,” said Senator Addiego (D-Atlantic/Burlington/Camden). “Right now, we have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and provide relief funding for those who have struggled over the past year. Although these programs cannot erase the hardships people have endured, we can ensure they have firm footing and the tools necessary to swiftly recover.”
S-3524, sponsored by Senators Vin Gopal and Lagana, appropriates $35 million in federal funds to the EDA to support food and beverage establishments in need. Under the bill, the grants will be awarded by the EDA to restaurants and bars with fewer than 50 employees that are in need of support as a result of the public health crisis.
“With capacity limitations affecting bars and restaurants, the food and drink industry has been struggling since the start of the pandemic,” said Senator Gopal (D-Monmouth). “Many of these smaller restaurants and bars have been fraught with the potential of closing down permanently, which would not only have an effect on the local economies, but the job status of many workers within this industry. This funding will help ensure these establishments can keep their doors open and help save the jobs that have been lost due to the pandemic.”
All the bills passed the Senate by votes of 37-0.