CAMDEN, NJ — Camden businesses suffering from the impact of COVID-19 can now apply for up to $5,000 in funds from roughly $1.5 million in initially allocated federal monies. 

“I know a lot of beauty salons and barbershops had to outright close because of the pandemic and additionally food businesses had to close their dining areas. We hope everyone takes advantage of the program,” Mayor Frank Moran told TAPinto Camden over the phone Wednesday. 

In a press conference this afternoon, the mayor said in an ideal world he would write a check to all Camden businesses that have been “devastated” by the pandemic but for now he continues to work with U.S. Rep. Donald Norcross, as well as Senators Cory Booker and Bob Menendez, in advocating for additional funds.

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“As of now, businesses will be able to access up to $5,000 and this application process will be on a first come first serve basis,” Moran said. 

The Micro Business Emergency Assistance Program (MBEAP) requires businesses to be certified/licensed in the city of Camden, be current on taxes and municipal obligations, service a low to moderate population, and demonstrate an urgent need.

City officials said they will be on hand to help business owners in the application process.  

The money, originally HUD funds, were meant for projects such as parks and other city services but currently Moran said he has had to prioritize businesses hurting from a loss of revenue.

"The COVID-19 pandemic has stifled our community not only from a public health perspective but economically too,” City Council President Curtis Jenkins said in a statement.

The city said in reviewing applications, further consideration will be given to retail businesses without drive-thru capabilities. 

An excerpt of eligible grant expenses was also released: business lease payments, mortgage payments, utility payments, payroll, inventory and business debt payments.  

Additionally, on Thursday the Chamber of Commerce of South New Jersey will host a free virtual small business panel.

“The economic effects of coronavirus have been widespread, but there are a number of programs and assistance available to help business owners get through this crisis,” said Freeholder Director Lou Cappelli, who will participate in the panel. 

“Our goal is to ensure that as soon as it is safe to reopen our economy, businesses are able to hit the ground running and get back to work,” he said. 

Participants will include Moran, New Jersey Economic Development Authority CEO, Tim Sullivan, New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner Robert Asaro-Angelo, New Jersey Community Capital President, Wayne Meyer, Cooperative Business Assistance Corporation President and CEO, Harry Stone, and United States Small Business Association District Director Al Titone.

The panel will be held from 2:30 to 4 p.m.

Click here to register for the event.

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