Instructions for Essex County Small Business Loans regarding COVID-19 from the NJ Business Action Center

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How do the rules on closures and social distancing affect my business?

Written by Team

New Jersey has announced new standards for crowds, social gatherings, and businesses effective as of 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020.

  • All gatherings must be limited to 50 persons or fewer, with limited exceptions. CDC guidance defines a gathering to include conferences, large meetings, parties, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings, and other types of assemblies. These events can be planned not only by organizations and communities but also by individuals.
  • All casinos, concert venues, nightclubs, racetracks, gyms, fitness centers and classes, movie theaters, and performing arts centers must close to the public beginning on Monday, March 16, 2020 at 8:00 p.m. and remain closed as long as this Order remains in effect.
  • Bars and restaurants in New Jersey must be closed for on-premise service and may provide take-out and delivery service only. Drive-throughs, take-out, delivery offered by restaurants, and other delivery services can continue to operate.
  • All non-essential retail, recreational, and entertainment businesses must cease daily operations from 8:00 p.m. until 5:00 a.m. From 5:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m., these businesses may remain open if they limit their occupancy to no more than 50 persons and adhere to social distancing guidelines. CDC defines social distancing as remaining out of congregate settings, avoiding mass gatherings, and maintaining 6 feet of distance from others.
  • Examples of essential businesses excluded from this directive include: grocery/food stores, pharmacies, medical supply stores, gas stations, healthcare facilities and ancillary stores within healthcare facilities.
  • Manufacturing facilities with operating hours outside of 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. are permitted to continue operating on regular business hours. Manufacturers and factories are specifically excluded from the prohibition on gatherings of 50 or more individuals set in the Executive Order.
  • Medical are specifically excluded from the prohibition on gatherings of 50 or more individuals and on the limited hours for retail. Medical facilities include any facility where a sick or injured person is given care or treatment, such as: doctor’s offices, hospitals, dentist offices, long-term care facilities, and other medical offices.

If your business matches any of these conditions, you must comply with these new rules, which are effective as of 8 p.m. on Monday, March 16, 2020. Please continue to check this site as more information and detail becomes available.

If a business is not following social distancing guidelines, please immediately contact your Local Health Department, which you can identify at

Updated: March 18, 2020
Source: Executive Order No. 104


What financial resources or assistance are available for my business from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and the State?

Written by Team

U.S. Small Business Administration's Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

  • The S. Small Business Administration's (SBA) disaster loans are the primary form of Federal assistance for the repair and rebuilding of non-farm, private sector disaster losses. Specifically, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program(EIDL) can provide up to $2 million of financial assistance (actual loan amounts are based on amount of economic injury) to small businesses or private, non-profit organizations that suffer substantial economic injury as a result of the declared disaster, regardless of whether the applicant sustained physical damage.
  • The EIDL program can help you meet necessary financial obligations that your business or private, non-profit organization could have met had the disaster not occurred. It provides relief from economic injury caused directly by the disaster and permits you to maintain a reasonable working capital position during the period affected by the disaster. EIDLs do not replace lost sales or revenue. To be eligible for EIDL assistance, New Jersey-based small businesses or private non-profit organizations must have sustained economic injury and be located in a disaster declared county or contiguous county - all New Jersey counties are now eligible. 
  • Additional details and application instructions can be found at:

The State of New Jersey is currently developing plans to offer technical assistance to businesses that wish to apply for SBA disaster loans. As new information about these resources become available, they will be posted here.

New Jersey Economic Development Authority Loan and Financing Programs

  • While not specific to COVID-19 affected businesses, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) has a portfolio of loan, financing, and technical assistance programs available to support small and medium-sized businesses. More information on existing products and programs can be found on the NJEDA website for small and midsize businessand the services for those businesses. If you have specific questions, fill out the form at and a representative will contact you promptly.

The State is actively exploring the development of new assistance programs for a variety of business types, and more information will become available on an ongoing basis. Please check back on this site regularly for updates.

Updated: March 18, 2020
Source: SBA Disaster Assistance in Response to the Coronavirus


If my business is financially or operationally impacted by the COVID-19/Novel Coronavirus outbreak, who at the State can I contact?

Written by Team

Before reaching out directly to the State, we recommend that you review the answers on this site. Reading this information is likely to be the most efficient way for you to get answers and support.

If you have additional business-related coronavirus questions, you are welcome to call the New Jersey Business Action Center (8 a.m.–9 p.m.) at 1-800-JERSEY-7 or to talk with us live online using the chat feature in the lower corner of this page.

If you have a non-business coronavirus inquiry, please call the NJ Coronavirus & Poison Center Hotline at 1-800-222-1222 or visit

Updated: March 18, 2020
Source: NJEDA


What programs are being developed by the State to support businesses that are financially or operationally impacted by the outbreak?

Written by Team

The State recognizes that the coronavirus outbreak is causing difficulty for many members of our business community. Several State agencies are currently engaging with local business leaders, local financial institutions, and business advocacy groups to better understand what supports would be most impactful to ensure business and employment continuity.

Please check this site regularly, as we anticipate an update in the near future.

Updated: March 12, 2020
Source: NJEDA


If I have a loan, grant, or tax credit agreement with NJEDA, and I am concerned about not being able to meet my commitments, is relief available?

Written by Team

The NJEDA understands that the coronavirus outbreak is causing disruptions for some businesses that have been approved for State economic development support, including loans, grants, and tax credits.  Businesses are encouraged to appropriately respond to ensure the health and safety of their employees and customers.

In light of the declared New Jersey state of emergency, NJEDA is currently reviewing procedures and policies related to all NJEDA support programs.

As a first step, the NJEDA is waiving certain specific requirements related to employee presence in the office for the recipients of awards under the following employment-based incentive programs:

  • Grow New Jersey Program (“Grow NJ”)
  • Urban Transit Hub Program (“HUB”)
  • Business Employment Incentive Program (“BEIP”)
  • Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant Program (“BRRAG”)

Please visit the following link for more information about this program waiver:

Please continue to check this website in the coming days for additional program specific guidance.

In addition, if you would like to speak with a representative about your specific situation, please call your assigned Incentives Officer or 609-858-6767; or provide your information at a member of the NJEDA will contact you promptly.

Updated: March 14, 2020
Source: NJEDA


Are business owners eligible for unemployment insurance?

Written by Team

Information regarding unemployment insurance eligibility can be found at the New Jersey Department of Labor's Information for corporate officers & business owners.

Updated: March 18, 2020