Coronavirus News: Small town businesses in NJ struggling amid pandemic

COVID-19 News and Information
CLINTON, New Jersey (WABC) -- Several New Jersey towns are feeling the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, but feel they aren't getting the help they need.

New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy announced Monday an additional $15 million in CARES Act Funding to support the recovery of small businesses struggling during the pandemic.

However, the mayors of several Hunterdon County towns say they were not eligible for the 64 grants that Murphy spoke about, and businesses in their town are suffering big time.

Clinton's mayor Janice Kovach says many hallmark shops in their town were pushed into early retirement.

And many other towns are losing shops that have been around for decades.

"We had to let go of three employees, so yeah it's been devastating," Clinton shop owner Amy Schwartz said.

Mayor Michele Lee of High Bridge says she feels Hunterdon County was left out after not seeing any funding during the first round of relief packages.

At JJ Scoops Ice Cream, they decked out their deck to attract strollers, after their numbers went down from last summer.

"Initially it was pretty rough, it really dropped off in the spring but it's recovered since then," owner Jim Spink said.

There's already a backlog of thousands of applications from the last release of funds.

"This money will go fast and it will go far," NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan said.

That does not bode well for towns in Hunterdon County, where the mayors say very few slices of the grants have come.

"The thought of more layoffs, people running out of unemployment, it's a pretty scary outlook for Main Street," Lee said.

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