TENAFLY – Another $135 million in federal pandemic recovery funds will be distributed by the state Economic Development Authority to small businesses, under a bill signed into law at a Vietnamese restaurant in Bergen County.

Gov. Phil Murphy said $750 million in COVID funds have been provided for small businesses overall, including $150 million for food and beverage businesses. He said more than 65,000 businesses have gotten help to date.

“This is desperately needed money to get our small businesses back on their feet and get them back up punching at their weight,” Murphy said.

Here’s how the latest allocation of money breaks down:

  • Microbusinesses: $55 million
  • Bars and restaurants: $15 million
  • Childcare facilities: $10 million
  • For-profit arts and culture organizations: $10 million
  • Eligible small businesses and nonprofit organizations: $45 million

The bill, S3982/A5904, passed unanimously in the Legislature last month.

“Every dollar we give to a small business is going to a hardworking family, and that’s the bottom line right here,” said Assemblyman Gordon Johnson, D-Bergen. “Any assistance they get is going to a hardworking family. It’s our responsibility, our job to ensure that we support them the best we can.”

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EDA chief executive officer Tim Sullivan said rules for the programs and applications will be developed in the near future.

Murphy said “the economy is snapping back” but that COVID’s highly contagious Delta variant “is a risk to that recovery.”

Michael Symons is State House bureau chief for New Jersey 101.5. Contact him at michael.symons@townsquaremedia.com.

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NJ arrests 31 accused child predators in "Operation 24/7"

A roundup of 31 men have been accused of sexually exploiting children online, state Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced on July 14 while detailing "Operation 24/7."

The suspects “possessed and or distributed videos and images of child sexual abuse, including in many cases videos of young children being raped by adults,” Grewal said.

Chat apps and gaming platforms remain favorite hunting grounds for child predators and even as the pandemic winds down, many children have continued to spend more time online.

State Police received 39% more tips in just the first 6 months of 2021 than they received in the entire year in 2019. The following are suspects charged in "Operation 24/7."