Atlantic County bars and restaurants hit hard by the pandemic and government ordered closures will get a lifeline under a bipartisan bill sponsored by State Senator Chris Brown.
Atlantic County bars and restaurants hit hard by the pandemic and government ordered closures will get a lifeline under a bipartisan bill sponsored by State Senator Chris Brown. (SenateNJ.com)
“With many of Atlantic County’s middle-class families relying on hospitality jobs to make their living and pay their bills, this measure provides the much needed relief to keep our restaurants and bars afloat until they can begin hiring back more of our families,” Brown said. “After listening and meeting with our local families, I know, now more than ever, we need to put people back to work to ensure Atlantic County recovers fully from the damage caused by the pandemic.”
The bill, S-2704, which passed both houses of the Legislature, appropriates $30 million to the New Jersey Economic Development Authority from a portion of those federal block grant funds allocated to the State from the federal “Coronavirus Relief Fund,” to provide financial support, by way of loans or grants, to food establishments for costs associated with business operation interruptions caused by Executive Order No. 158, which had prohibited indoor dining.
Brown noted bars and restaurants made significant investments in health and safety upgrades and training when Governor Murphy previously announced he would allow them to re-open prior to the July 4th weekend. Days later, Governor Murphy reversed his decision with Executive Order No. 158, which left many of the establishments with no way to recoup their expenses and forcing them to consider closing forever.
“These mom and pop establishments will not be able to survive forever on take out, outdoor dining, and limited indoor dining alone,” Brown said. “We’re talking about businesses who care about their customers and employees and made every effort to keep them healthy and safe. This bill will throw a lifeline to our restaurants and bars until they can offer full services when things return to normal.”