FRENCHTOWN, N.J. - The National Hotel in Frenchtown, Hunterdon County is one of the many small businesses in New Jersey hoping to get some of the money Governor Phil Murphy reports is coming to the state's restaurants and food service industry.
"We went down to half of what our capacity was when indoor dining was permitted so it is difficult considering we still want to keep our staff," said managing partner Preeth D'Costa.
Governor Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that the state is giving out $100 million in federal CARES ACT money to help businesses and families struggling through the pandemic. Most of that will be a pool of money small businesses can apply for through the state Economic Development Authority's coronavirus business assistance grant program:
$35 million will help the state's food service industry.
$15 million to help "microbusinesses" that employ fewer than five people.
$15 million to the state's rental assistance program, that helps struggling businesses pay for rent.
Additional money will be available for social services like food insecurity.
"We are all pulling towards the same goal. Both protecting our economy and in particular the small businesses that are the backbone of it," said Murphy on Tuesday.
The announcement drew criticism from New Jersey Republicans, who called it a political stunt. In a statement, the NJGOP said according to a report by the New Jersey State Auditor, barely 10% of the $2.4 billion of CARES Act money was deployed by the Murphy Administration as of Sept. 30.
“Phil Murphy has been watching New Jersey drown while he uses our life preserver as a hula hoop,” said NJGOP Chairman Doug Steinhardt.