The following is a release from Burlington County:
The Burlington County Board of County Commissioners applauded the signing of new legislation to aid small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The legislation was sponsored by New Jersey Sen. Dawn Addiego and dedicates $25 million in federal COVID-19 aid as grants for microbusinesses with five or fewer employees to assist with their operations and recovery. Gov. Phil Murphy signed the measure into law April 1 during a ceremony outside Fond Memories, a Medford boutique that has been in business for 32 years.
“Main Street businesses have always been the backbone of our economy and unfortunately have been the hardest hit during the pandemic,” said Governor Murphy. “This bill, along with others I’ll sign later this month, will help thousands of businesses keep their doors open as we climb out of the economic hardships wrought by COVID-19.”
“Small businesses make up the heart of our downtowns and communities and are a key part of what to makes Burlington County the wonderful place to live, work and raise a family, so we are thrilled that Governor Murphy and the Legislature are taking this step to make sure significant funds are available to assist them through this crisis,” said Burlington County Commissioner Deputy Director Dan O’Connell, who attended the bill signing ceremony with Sen. Addiego and Congressman Andy Kim.
“Throughout the last year, we’ve seen how important it is for all levels of government to work together to provide the necessary help and support for our residents and businesses. That’s what is happening in Burlington County and across New Jersey,” O’Connell added.
“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. “Right now, we have an opportunity to learn from our mistakes and provide relief funding for those who have struggled over the past year, specifically microbusinesses. No more businesses should have to permanently close because of the pandemic, and this legislation will provide the assistance needed to prevent any more business closures.”
“I’m so grateful we have the opportunity here to try to help our small businesses,” Congressman Kim said. “By doing so we are keeping our communities vibrant; we’re investing in our families here and we’re reasserting ourselves into what it is we love about New Jersey and raising our families here.”
The relief aid specified in the new law will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority, which so far has provided more than $250 million in aid to 55,000 New Jersey businesses.
The legislation is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s economy recover from the year-long pandemic.
In addition to the state assistance, O’Connell reminded county business owners that Burlington County has made zero-interest loans available to small businesses.
A total of $660,000 in federal CARES Act funding was secured by the Burlington County Bridge Commission’s Economic Development Office for the new Health Emergency Loan Program (HELP), which will extend up to $50,000 in zero-interest financing to any business operating in the county for business-related purchases, expenses and improvements.
To be eligible for the loans, the borrowing business must be located in Burlington County and jobs must be retained for the term of the loan.
More details on the loan program is available at www.bcbridges.org/covid19-resources/.
To encourage residents to buy, shop and eat local, the Commissioners have also revived the Shop Burlington County First initiative that promotes county businesses on the County’s social media sites.
“Our message to residents is that these are more than just businesses; their owners and employees are also our neighbors,” O’Connell said. “By supporting them, we are supporting our own communities and helping to keep them vital.
Businesses interested in being spotlighted should email the Commissioners staff at firstname.lastname@example.org