Gov. Murphy announces additional support for NJ small businesses impacted by COVID-19

NORTH BRUNSWICK, New Jersey -- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday that $15 million in federal funding has been made available to small businesses struggling from the coronavirus outbreak.

Murphy said the funds stem from the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act and is in addition to more than $100 million in aid administered by the state's Economic Development Authority.

So far, nearly 11,000 businesses have been approved for grants, according to the governor. The program is not currently accepting more applicants, he added.

"COVID-19 is first and foremost a health crisis, but also a severe economic crisis, and nowhere is that more evident than in the state's small business community," Murphy, a Democrat, said.

Murphy also reported that since Monday, the state had added nearly 600 new positive cases, with 24 new deaths from the virus. Total cases now exceed 180,000. The death toll stands at 13,905, plus 1,902 deaths that health officials determined were likely caused by COVID-19.

The rate of transmission, which measures how many people one infected person passes the virus to, ticked up to 1.14 from 1.09, Murphy said.

New Jersey is in the middle of Stage 2, of three, of reopening. Murphy earlier paused reopening given outbreaks elsewhere in the country and a failure to follow social distancing guidelines in the state.

On Tuesday sounded a note of caution about the latest figures.

"It's a mixed bag at best," he said. "We're not out of the woods yet."

Murphy spoke Tuesday at A-List hair salon in North Brunswick, which got a $10,000 grant after being closed for three months because of the outbreak.

Co-owner April Scelsa said the salon used the funds to buy personal protective equipment and keep workers on payroll.
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