JERSEY CITY, NJ - Rep. Donald Payne had a simple message when he called in to the recent causes meeting of the Jersey City Municipal Council: get vaccinated.

“Three million vaccinations per day could mean we will reach herd immunity by the fall,” he said. “It’s still a very difficult time for our country, COVID-19 continues to affect daily life. We’re very concerned now on the federal level.”

Although distribution of Johnson & Johnson vaccine has been suspended, Payne said he believes it would be restored and that the nation is on the road to achieving herd immunity. The veteran congressman predicted that the pandemic would likely end in September but held out hope for the rosier prediction by President Joe Biden, who has been quoted saying it could be even as early as July.

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Payne outlined some of the benefits of the American Rescue Plan that was passed by Congress late last month, which provided $350 billion in aid to states and cities, noting that Jersey City received nearly $146 million as a result. 

This funding, Payne said, will help the city continue to vaccinate, and help schools to reopen. “We understand that kids need to be in school receiving direct instruction,” Payne said.

The bill provided many people with a third stimulus check, and those receiving unemployment will see an additional $300 per week.

Also included is rent and mortgage relief as well as a moratorium on evictions, at least until the fall. There is financial support for small business relief included and funding to help restaurants who were forced to close during the pandemic.

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