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NJ Chamber

Coronavirus & Economic Recovery Update

Mar. 3, 2021


Today's News for New Jersey Business:

A looming crisis in N.J.: $700 million in unpaid residential and commercial utility bills. One year later, how have business execs changed? How to Zoom better.


A Looming Crisis – There is $700 million in unpaid utility bills in New Jersey, including 144,000 commercial and industrial accounts in arrears. These unpaid bills are critical, as the state's moratorium on shutting off utilities is set to expire on March 15. When including residential customers, more than 1.2 million gas, electric and water accounts were behind in payments at the end of last year. (NJ Spotlight News)


A Call to Employers: The Rally for Recovery – Join employers across the nation who are helping to protect workers and defeat the pandemic. Here’s how. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)


It's One Year Later. How Have You Changed? – A deadly virus, social unrest, political upheaval. We asked N.J. Chamber of Commerce members: How has the past year changed you? Here is what they said. (N.J. Chamber of Commerce)


How to Zoom Better – Before you send that Zoom invite, think, "Could this be a phone call?" Or even better: An email? (Axios)


Answers to Questions on Paycheck Protection Loans – The federal Paycheck Protection Program offers forgivable loans to small businesses, but it has been changed several times. Here are answers to the biggest questions, with information on the latest developments. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)


Update: Who’s Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine in New Jersey – Here’s where you can find who is eligible for the vaccine now, and specifics on who will become eligible later this month. (


Biden’s Plan to Reopen Schools: Vaccinate Teachers Pronto – President Biden is tapping a federal agency to facilitate getting teachers vaccinated this month. The administration is considering creating a “school reopening” czar. This is part of the administration's push to reopen schools as the Biden White House moves toward a 100-day self-imposed deadline to return children to the classroom. (Politico)


Standardized Tests in Schools – The Biden administration surprised some schools by resuming standardized testing requirements after a one-year pause. The Education Department is offering “flexibility” to states, but critics see the order as a stressor after a chaotic school year. (Politico)


N.J. Schools Must Teach about Unconscious Bias and Economic Inequality – New Jersey schools must begin age-appropriate lessons – as early as kindergarten – on diversity, inclusion and economic inequality as it relates to race, ethnicity, disabilities, religion, and sexual orientation, under a law signed Monday by Gov. Murphy. The law takes effect next school year. (


Looking at Employee Health Insurance for 2021? – N.J. Chamber of Commerce member companies can enroll in the Members Health Plan that gives you – and your employees – the power of a big employer when it comes to health insurance service and stability of rates. Find out how you can save.



The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Vaccine Guide for Businesses: From Communicating about Vaccines to Developing a Vaccine Strategy.


The U.S. Small Business Administration's website with guidance and details on forgivable business loans under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP).


New Jersey businesses can buy PPE at a discount through this state program.


The state is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses.


The U.S. Chamber return-to-work playbook for employers.


The Occupational Safety and Health Administration's report on reopening and preparing workplaces for COVID-19.


The CDC's recommendations for employers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when they reopen their offices.


The New Jersey Business Action Center's guide to opening a business in N.J.


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's listing of coronavirus resources for small businesses.


The state's jobs and hiring portal matches employers and candidates.

For employers to participate, click here.


New Jersey's information on all of the state's business resources during the pandemic.


New Jersey's website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.


Have Questions about the Status of an Unemployment Claim? - You can send a message to the state Labor Department through its website – Follow these instructions:


·    On the top of the page, look to the top right for “Need Help?” and unveil the drop-down menu

·    Choose 'Send an Online Message'

·    Choose 'Submit a message through our new online form.'

·    Follow the prompts


To report a scammer or suspected price gouging, alert the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs at (973) 504-6240 or at


The state set up a 24-hour hotline where health care professionals are answering questions about coronavirus. The toll-free number is 1-800-222-1222. From outside the state, call 1-800-962-1253.


The New Jersey Chamber of Commerce is staying on top of Coronavirus (COVID-19) developments. For news media requests, please email Scott Goldstein.

You are welcome to share the information in this newsletter with your members via email, your website or on social media. If you do, please credit the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce with a link to



Small Business Administration

Coronavirus (COVID-19): Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Coronavirus relief options

SBA offers several different relief options to help businesses, nonprofits, and faith-based organizations recover from the impacts of COVID-19. You can view all options or skip to a specific program below.

SBA is currently offering the following funding options:

SBA is preparing to offer:

  • Shuttered Venue Operator grants
  • Targeted EIDL Advance (limited eligibility)

SBA previously offered the following funding options:

  • EIDL Advance (No longer available)

Learn more about SBA's coronavirus relief options

Coronavirus recovery information in languages other than English

Recovery Information in Languages other than English

Guidance for businesses and employers

Visit the Recovery Hub

Local assistance

SBA has 68 District Offices around the country that provide guidance and assistance to small businesses in their area. We also work with a number of local organizations to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses through our official Resource Partners: SCORE mentors, Women’s Business Centers, Small Business Development Centers, and Veterans Business Outreach Centers. You can use SBA’s Local Assistance Directory to locate the SBA District Office or Resource Partner service location nearest you.

SBA offices have been fully operational since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and are maximizing telework to best serve our small business customers. Check the operating status for all SBA locations.

Join the SBA's relief efforts

Join our team! SBA is hiring additional employees to assist with disaster relief efforts. Bilingual language skills are a plus. Remote jobs are available nationwide.

Additional SBA resources

SBA is here to assist small businesses with accessing federal resources and navigating their own preparedness plans.

You can read SBA’s plan for use of covered funds provided through public laws: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, and the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2020.

Loan programs

SBA provides a number of loan programs for small businesses. Learn about loans and how to connect with a lender.

  • 7(a) loans offer amounts up to $5,000,000. The uses of proceeds include: working capital; expansion/renovation; new construction; purchase of land or buildings; purchase of equipment, fixtures; lease-hold improvements; refinancing debt for compelling reasons; seasonal line of credit; inventory; or starting a business.
  • Express loans offer up to $350,000 for no more than seven years with an option to revolve. There is a turnaround time of 36 hours for approval or denial of a completed application. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • Community Advantage loans allow mission-based lenders to assist small businesses in underserved markets with a maximum loan size of $250,000. The uses of proceeds are the same as the standard 7(a) loan.
  • 504 loans are designed to foster economic development and job creation and/or retention. The eligible use of proceeds is limited to the acquisition or eligible refinance of fixed assets.
  • Microloans are made through nonprofit lending organizations to underserved markets. Authorized use of loan proceeds includes working capital, supplies, machinery and equipment, and fixtures (does not include real estate). The maximum loan amount is $50,000 with the average loan size of $14,000.

Exporting assistance

SBA provides an array of trade tools and export finance programs to help small businesses increase international sales and respond to opportunities and challenges associated with trade, such as COVID-19.

The following loans are available to U.S. small businesses that export directly overseas, or those that export indirectly by selling to a customer that then exports their products:

  • Export Express loans provide quick access to capital for businesses that need financing up to $500,000. Businesses can apply for a line of credit or term note prior to finalizing an export sale or while pursuing opportunities overseas. For example, identifying a new overseas customer should an export sale be lost due to COVID-19.
  • Export Working Capital loans enable small businesses to fulfill export orders and finance international sales by providing revolving lines of credit or transaction-based financing of up to $5 million. Businesses could use a loan to obtain or retain overseas customers by offering attractive payment terms.
  • International Trade loans help small businesses engaged in international trade retool or expand to better compete and react to changing business conditions. They can also help exporting firms expand their sales to new markets or to re-shore operations back to the United States.

More information and assistance with international sales is available from our Office of International Trade.

Government contracting

SBA is focused on assisting with the continuity of operations for small business contracting programs and small businesses with federal contracts. SBA has issued special guidance for federal small business contractors impacted by COVID-19.

If a situation occurs that will prevent small businesses with government contracts from successfully performing their contract, they should reach out to their contracting officer and seek to obtain extensions before they receive cure notices or threats of termination. SBA’s Procurement Center Representatives can assist affected small businesses to engage with their contracting officer. Use the Procurement Center Representative Directory to connect with the representative nearest you.

If your small business is currently not working on any government contracts, and is interested in competing for them, SBA offers the following certifications:

  • 8(a) Business Development program serves to help provide a level playing field for small businesses owned by socially and economically disadvantaged people or entities, and the government limits competition for certain contracts to businesses that participate. The 8(a) program offer and acceptance process is available nationwide, and the SBA continues to work with federal agencies to ensure maximum practicable opportunity to small businesses. 8(a) program participants should stay in touch with their Business Opportunity Specialist.
  • HUBZone program offers eligibility assistance every Thursday from 2:00-3:00 p.m. ET at 1-202-765-1264; access code 63068189#.  Members of the HUBZone team answer questions to help firms navigate the certification process. For specific questions regarding an application, please contact the HUBZone Help Desk at
  • Women-owned small business firms who have questions are encouraged to learn about the Women-Owned Small Business Federal Contracting program or write to

Contact SBA

For assistance with SBA programs, please contact us.


Monmouth County Economic Assistance

The Monmouth County CARES Economic Assistance Grant Program provides financial support up to $10,000 for those qualifying businesses, business owners, and nonprofits that do not exceed $5 million in annual gross revenue and have experienced costly interruptions as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic. A total of $10 million of allocated CARES funding is available. The grant application is available in English and Spanish.

Small business applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Physically located in Monmouth County since January 1, 2019 or earlier
  • Negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • $5 million or less in gross revenue
  • 50 or fewer full time equivalent (FTE) employees including the owner as of March 1, 2020

Some categories of businesses, including banking, educational, governmental and medical service providers, are not eligible for the grant program.

Nonprofit applicants must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Physically located in Monmouth County since January 1, 2019 or earlier
  • Provides a public service to beneficiaries residing in Monmouth County
  • Negatively impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3, 501(c)4, 501(c)6 limited to local and regional chambers of commerce, or 501(c)19
  • May be a local affiliate of a larger state or national service organization



Contact: New Jersey Economic Development Authority


 About the New Jersey Economic Development Authority

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) serves as the State’s principal agency for driving economic growth. The NJEDA is committed to making New Jersey a national model for inclusive and sustainable economic development by focusing on key strategies to help build strong and dynamic communities, create good jobs for New Jersey residents, and provide pathways to a stronger and fairer economy. Through partnerships with a diverse range of stakeholders, the NJEDA creates and implements initiatives to enhance the economic vitality and quality of life in the State and strengthen New Jersey’s long-term economic competitiveness.

To learn more about NJEDA resources for businesses call NJEDA Customer Care at 609-858-6767 or visit and follow @NewJerseyEDA on FacebookTwitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.





NJBIA - 10 West Lafayette Street, Trenton, NJ 08608 - 609-393-7707


NJBIA - 10 West Lafayette Street, Trenton, NJ 08608 - 609-393-7707