The New Jersey Economic Development Authority has launched Phase 4 of its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, adding $85 million in funds from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Phase 4 is dedicated to providing support to small and medium businesses and nonprofits impacted by the pandemic.

Patience Purdy, director of Strategic and Program Initiatives at the NJEDA, said $35 million is reserved for restaurant funding, $10 million is set aside for child care providers, $25 million is reserved for micro-businesses with five or fewer full-time employees and the remaining $15 million is for other small businesses with six to 50 full-time employees.

Businesses can pre-register starting April 19 until April 29 at business.nj.gov/covid

Businesses must pre-register in order to get to the application process. Once a small business pre-registers, they will receive a confirmation email and an email from the NJEDA in advance of the application process.

There will be a series of application openings starting May 3. Pre-registered applicants will need to return to https://programs.njeda.com/en-US/ to complete an application.

Unlike the pre-registration process, Purdy said the application process, is on a first-come-first-served process. May 3 is reserved for businesses that either did not apply for or were not approved for Phase 3 funding.

Then on May 5 at 9 a.m., applications will become available for restaurants and child care providers. Microbusinesses with five or fewer full-time employees can begin the application process starting 9 a.m. on May 10.

All other small businesses can fill out an application starting May 12.

Microbusinesses with five or fewer employees will be eligible for a maximum grant of up to $10,000. Small businesses with six to 25 full time employees will be eligible for a maximum grant of up to $15,000. Businesses with 26 to 50 full time employees will be eligible for a maximum grant of up to $20,000.

Since the beginning of the pandemic and when Phase 1 of this grant program started, the NJEDA has made more than 55,500 awards totaling about $257 million. This includes the small business grant programs, the small business emergency loan programs, Sustain and Serve program, PPE Access program, entrepreneurial support and technical assistance.

Phase 3 was the largest grant program, awarding more than 20,000 applicants with $147 million.

Remembering Caesar the White Tiger at Popcorn Park Zoo

The staff at the Popcorn Park Zoo is mourning the loss of Caesar, it's 20-year-old white tiger who dies at the end of March 2021. He came to the animal refuge in the Forked River section of Lacey Township in 2002 from a Texas sanctuary called Noah's Land with a bad case of ringworm and hardly any hair. He quickly became a strong presence at the zoo until he died in his sleep late in March.