ATLANTIC CITY – Governor Phil Murphy signed into law A-5444, which provides $35 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for restaurants throughout New Jersey.

The bill – sponsored by Senators Vin Gopal and Joseph Lagana and Assembly Members Vincent Mazzeo, Pedro Mejia, Christopher Tully, and Louis Greenwald – provides aid to a particularly hard hit sector of New Jersey’s economy. The bill is part of a five-bill, $100 million relief effort aimed at helping New Jersey’s small businesses recover from the year-long pandemic, said the Governor's office.

“For the past year, our restaurants have fought the good fight, and we know that fight has not been easy,” said Governor Murphy. “This legislation will provide a much-needed lifeline to small business owners, who, through no fault of their own, have been devastated by this pandemic.”

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The relief aid will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority. To date, the NJEDA has distributed more than $250 million in aid to some 55,000 businesses across the state.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented health and economic tragedy for everyone, but it is hard to think of a sector that has been hit harder than restaurants. Restaurant owners and their employees have faced previously unimaginable challenges with a tenacity and grit that has been inspiring for everyone, but they cannot overcome COVID-19 alone,” said NJEDA Chief Executive Officer Tim Sullivan. “There is now a light at the end of the tunnel, but we still have a long way to go to get there. The $35 million in new grant funding Governor Murphy has signed into law today will provide vital support these businesses need to bridge the gap and continue reopening safely.”