Murphy signs $35 million in aid for N.J. restaurants crushed by COVID crisis

Posted Apr 09, 2021

New Jersey restaurants that have been crushed financially by the coronavirus pandemic will be eligible for aid under a $35 million package Gov. Phil Murphy signed into law on Friday.

The grants from federal aid to the state won’t have to be repaid by restaurants.

“These are not just small businesses. These are places where communities come together,” Murphy said at an event in Atlantic City to sign the legislation.

“These are also places that are creating jobs and transforming neighborhoods for the better,” he said. “It is the ultimate win-win.”

Restaurants are currently able to operate at 50% indoor capacity. The state has also relaxed rules to allow them to expand their outdoor footprints and serve alcohol outdoors.

“We’re not out of this yet,” he said, acknowledging margins for restaurants are still “razor-thin.”

Murphy added: “We need a lot more.”

On Thursday, Murphy signed legislation that will make arts and cultural venues eligible for $15 million in federal aid and the U.S. Small Business Administration announced $16.2 billion in federal grants under the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant for arts and cultural venues across the nation.

New Jersey venues hoping for an SBA grant must go directly through the federal government. The $15 million in aid Murphy signed into law will be administered through the New Jersey State Council on the Arts and the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.

The grants will be distributed by the state’s Economic Development Authority.

The latest $35 million in aid is the second time grants were put aside for restaurants. A previous round of $35 million was distributed by the EDA.

Officials said about a third of restaurants in the state permanently shut down during the pandemic and some 90,000 people were laid off throughout New Jersey.

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published this page in News and Politics 2021-04-10 02:28:58 -0700