Business Report: $100M new relief funding, vaccine setback, Booker on Senate hearings

Gov. Phil Murphy announced another $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds, mostly to small businesses

A big influx of cash is coming for struggling residents and businesses in the state. Gov. Phil Murphy announced Tuesday that he will distribute another $100 million in federal coronavirus relief funds throughout the state. Most of the money will be distributed to small businesses, with funds also earmarked for rental assistance and food security programs.

There’s been another setback in the efforts to develop a COVID-19 vaccine. New Brunswick-based Johnson & Johnson has halted the advanced clinical trial of its vaccine candidate after an unexplained illness in one of the volunteers. The company provided no details about the illness. This is not the first time a coronavirus vaccine trial has been halted. In September, AstraZeneca halted a vaccine trial in the U.S. for the same reason; one of the volunteers got sick.

U.S. Sen. Cory Booker has joined a chorus of Democrats in criticizing Republicans for holding Senate hearings to confirm Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett rather than working on a new economic stimulus bill. Booker said he would not vote to confirm Coney Barrett.

First, Regal Cinemas decided to temporarily close movie theaters across the U.S. Now, AMC is reporting trouble. The theater chain says it will run out of money by the end of this year or early next. The company says it’s looking for options to raise its cash level and increase movie attendance.