State Assembly Passes Borrowing Plan: Voting along party lines, the New Jersey State Assembly passed Governor Murphy’s plan to borrow at least $5 billion in bonds, and as much as $9 billion in short term loans, from the federal government to make up for the loss of revenues caused by the statewide COVID-19 response. Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin supported the plan, which now heads to the State Senate for approval. Senate President Sweeney has acknowledged the need to borrow money but has stopped short of endorsing this proposal. As a signal of possible support, all twelve Democrats in the South Jersey delegation voted ‘yes’ on the Assembly bill.
Assembly Republicans, arguing that such a large borrowing plan would require voter approval, vowed to challenge this legislation in court.
NJ Attorney General Announces Law Enforcement Reforms: On Tuesday, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced several initiatives designed to increase trust between police and the communities they serve.
Proposed reforms include an expansion of the state’s use-of-force database, adding departments that don’t yet have access, by July 1. With the data collected, the state will update its use-of-force policies by the end of the year. The state will also launch a pilot program in Paterson, Trenton, Atlantic City and Millville to expand crisis intervention training. New Jersey will also create an incident response team which will deploy to areas following major civil rights incidences. Grewal also requested that the Police Training Commission implement a statewide licensing program for all law enforcement.
NJ Allows Bar & Restaurants to Expand Outdoor Footprint: On Wednesday, Governor Murphy signed an executive order which allows outdoor, in-person dining by restaurants and bars starting June 15. The state Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control will also be issuing special permits to liquor license holders to allow outdoor service to customers. These special permits will last into November and will be subject to municipal approval. Murphy also encouraged municipalities to work with bars and restaurants to create more outdoor space were tables and people can be separated by at least 6 feet. Wineries and vineyards may also open June 15th.
Other rules for non-essential retail openings include:
- Must limit number of customers to 50% capacity
- Customers and employees are required to wear face coverings
- Stores must regularly sanitize areas used by employees
- Must erect plastic/glass barriers between customers and cashiers
$45 Million Grant Program for Small Businesses: The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) announced that Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program applications will be available at 9:00 a.m. on June 9, 2020. The $45 million program will provide grants up to $10,000 to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. A sample application that is available in English, Spanish, and ten additional languages can be found here.
Latest NJ COVID-19 Statistics: The number positive coronavirus test results in New Jersey has increased to a total of 162,530. The number of statewide coronavirus-related deaths is currently 11,970.
All NJ residents with questions or concerns about COVID-19 and resources available to them should visit: www.covid19.nj.gov
Jobs and Assistance in NJ: An online portal is available to provide information to impacted small business owners. The portal includes information on Executive Orders, regulations impacting small businesses and access to financial assistance from the US Small Business Administration (SBA).
Testing Sites: Click here to get updated information and locations of public testing sites.