Legislation Permitting Small Hospitality Businesses to Apply for Interest-Free EDA Loans Passes Full Assembly

With travel discouraged as residents remain under a stay-at-home order to help slow the spread of COVID-19, Assembly Democrats Raj Mukherji, Valerie Vainieri Huttle and Verlina Reynolds-Jackson sponsor a bill to provide financial assistance to small hospitality businesses that have been impacted by the pandemic. The legislation passed the full Assembly Thursday, 79-0-0.

Under the bill (A-3959), certain small hospitality businesses would be able to apply for a loan from the Economic Development Authority (EDA). In order to qualify, the hospitality businesses would have to make less than $2 million in annual revenue if they have been in operation for more than 12 months, or less than $1 million in annual revenue if they have only been in operation between six to 12 months.

The loan would be interest-free with payments deferred for the first nine months after the start-date of the loan to help these businesses cover immediate, unavoidable expenses during the emergency.

Of the federal funding allocated to New Jersey in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, $100 million will be given to the EDA for the provision of financial assistance to small hospitality businesses affected by the pandemic.

Upon the bill’s passage, Assemblyman Mukherji (D-Hudson), Assemblywoman Vainieri Huttle (D-Bergen) and Assemblywoman Reynolds-Jackson (D-Hunterdon, Mercer) released the following joint statement:

“Many businesses have been devastated by this pandemic and the measures we implemented to save lives. While necessary, the COVID-19 restrictions have especially impacted New Jersey’s hospitality industry.

“Restaurants and hotels alone employ well over 400,000 of our residents. The workers at the thousands of these diverse businesses make a living bringing people together to enjoy each other’s company and food, drink, recreation, entertainment, and comfortable lodging – activities that are not possible right now.

“If we want our vibrant hospitality industry and its many employees to make it through this crisis, we must give these small businesses the tools they need to weather the pandemic until we can safely come together to once again enjoy all they have to offer.”