With nearly 40 percent of New Jersey restaurants predicting they may have to close by June as a result of financial challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, a bill sponsored by four Assembly Democrats appropriating funds to support struggling food and beverage establishments throughout the state was signed into law Friday.
Subject to the availability of federal funds, $35 million in funds that New Jersey was given access to in response to the COVID-19 pandemic will be made available to the Economic Development Authority (EDA) to support New Jersey restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, wineries and other establishments serving food or alcoholic beverages on their premises.
To be eligible for a grant, these establishments must employ 50 or fewer workers.
Upon the bill (A-5444) becoming law, Assembly sponsors Vincent Mazzeo (D-Atlantic), Christopher Tully (D-Bergen, Passaic), Pedro Mejia (D-Bergen, Hudson) and Louis Greenwald (D-Burlington, Camden) issued the following joint statement:
“Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were more than 19,000 food and beverage establishments throughout New Jersey, with restaurants employing nearly 8 percent of the workers in our state. The public health emergency has taken a significant toll on this industry, which so many of us benefit from and enjoy. We must provide support to these establishments to help them get through this crisis and allow them to employ New Jerseyans while continuing to serve residents and visitors alike for years to come.”