$135M now available to aid NJ small businesses hit hard by pandemic

Some restaurant owners say they will use the cash to sweeten salary offers

Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Wednesday making $135 million in federal grants available to restaurants, bars, child care providers and other small businesses hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. The money, available immediately through the state Economic Development Authority, can be spent on inventory, rent, mortgage, utilities and even payroll.

Some restaurant owners say they will use the cash to sweeten salary offers as they try to entice staff to return to work. As the state economy struggles to recover, the New Jersey Business & Industry Association says a worker shortage remains the primary problem confronting small businesses.

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