Hoboken creates new initiative to help small business impacted by pandemic

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Hoboken is known for its hundreds of small businesses and now city officials are doing their part to help the businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla was one of the first New Jersey officials to close down businesses and restrict public gatherings in the wake of the virus. Similar restrictions soon followed statewide.

“These are very difficult decisions that we have to make on a day to day basis to literally save lives,” Bhalla said during a virtual town hall meeting with small business officials.

Sen. Bob Menendez aide Erika Calderon was also in attendance. She said that Menendez and Sen. Cory Booker are working on a small business stimulus package.

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“The small business package does try to make sure that the small business employer maintains as much of their workforce as much as possible,” Calderon says.

Bhalla says that business owners have been asking him how they will be able to pay their rent now. A low-interest loan through the stimulus package, if approved, could help.

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“If small businesses apply and they use proceeds to pay their employees, to pay rent, to pay utilities, those proceeds will be forgiven,” Calderon.

Hoboken is also partnering with HelpMainStreet.com, where shoppers can buy gift cards online from local businesses to help support them while they are closed. Bhalla says that he urges Hoboken residents to still get takeout food, but he says to not leave tips in cash.

“You can leave your tip on your credit card. Unfortunately, hard cash is one means by which the virus spreads,” he says.

Hoboken will soon be starting a relief fund where donations can be made towards the city’s small businesses.

Photos: Hustle and Bustle Goes Quiet Amid Pandemic



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