NEWARK, NJ — Mayor Ras Baraka announced Friday he would be leveraging the city’s partnerships to provide financial help to small business owners affected by the COVID-19 measures, which could stretch for months as cases continue to double overnight. 

There were 890 cases of the coronavirus throughout New Jersey on Friday, 73 in Essex County and 26 in Newark. Two of the state’s 11 related fatalities were Newark residents. 

The goal of the small business fund will be to provide grants of up to $10,000 per business to assist with revenue losses stemming from the pandemic, Baraka said over Facebook Live. His economic development advisors are reaching out to the city’s institutions to support the initiative.

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“I’ll be seeding the small business fund with local funds, and I’m looking for the philanthropic and corporate partners to step in as well,” he said. 

The city is working closely with the state legislature, the governor’s office and the federal delegation to secure programs to support the business community, according to Baraka. Gov. Phil Murphy’s application to the U.S. Small Business Association for low-interest disaster loans were cleared by President Trump this week, making business owners across the state eligible for benefits. 

Addressing how the city would be ensuring the safety of its residents without addresses during this time, Director of Community Health and Wellness said they had pinned down three facilities for quarantine locations. Protocols are being developed for shelters in dealing with positive guests, he said. 

Baraka is expected to announce additional measures on Saturday morning based on data mapping health officials have created over the past two weeks. 

“It is necessary to save people’s lives, we’ve already had two deaths in our city. We do not want that to continue to grow,” he said.