COVID: The Effects on Our Small Businesses

Julie DeLaurentis reviews some local resources and efforts made by our government officials to help small businesses during COVID-19.

To our Harrison Family,

As a small business owner, I am painfully aware of the challenges that my fellow small business owners are dealing with. There is no immediate solution in sight, and many businesses are struggling to remain open and making a living. 

There is no historic parallel for the economic hardship COVID-19 is inflicting on local, national and international economies. Closer to home, unemployment in New Jersey has increased significantly. As of June 30th, the unemployment rate was reported at 16.6% and over 750,000 residents have applied for unemployment.

In New Jersey, almost 800,000 small businesses employ roughly 1.8 million people. This accounts for about half our private workforce. These businesses are the lifeblood of our national, state and local economies.  

County, State and Federal Assistance

Thankfully there has been a number of programs put in place at the Federal level to support, which includes the Paycheck Protection Program. The U.S. Small Business Administration is facilitating the Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program and the SBA Express Bridge Loans. Congressional appropriations have also funded Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL).  

At the State level, legislation has enabled the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) to implement Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan and Grant Programs.

The USDA has implemented the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program to provide support to farming and agricultural businesses. Additionally, the Farm Service Agency and the Natural Resources Conservation Service are working to provide additional financial assistance to help food producers impacted.

As a small business owner, all this support is great – but imagine the amount of time that is required to go through all of the options, determine what your business qualifies for and then fill out and provide all the documentation. It is incredibly time consuming and of course owners still need to look at all options to keep their business functioning in some capacity. 

Digital Main Street Launched to Support Businesses  

Our Township Committee works closely with local businesses, helping them when possible to navigate these challenging and changing times. Beyond the Federal, State and County resources, we were quick to launch our Digital Main Street programs, which included specific campaigns to promote local businesses through Happening in the Hill.

You may recall each of these week-long promotions: Restaurant Week, Professionals in the Hill, Home Improvements and Style, Crafts & Fitness on Main. No other town in South Jersey, or New Jersey for that matter, has been as proactive in developing new ways to support the shop local initiative. 

As we enter into the last five months of the year, we continue to look at new ways to assist our businesses. Aside from additional promotions, the one thing that we can ALL do is to know the businesses that are in town and frequent them when possible. As a community, we recognize the importance of remaining united in our purpose. When it comes to our local businesses, now more than ever we need to show the Harrison Strong strength that bonds us together. 

Together for Harrison Township,

Julie DeLaurentis
Your Committeewoman 
(609) 377-0328
[email protected]