New Jersey announces $235M in grants to help small businesses, nonprofits

It has been 15 months since COVID-19 took hold, and there are still plenty of New Jersey businesses struggling to stay afloat. But Gov. Phil Murphy announced on Tuesday that help is on the way.
The Corner Post Diner in Brick Township is closed. It is not because of a lack of customers – there was a line out the door – but because of a lack of staff. Labor shortages are happening all around New Jersey.
“We were down to, including myself, three people out here,” says owner Maria Faciolas. “We couldn’t do it. It was a struggle Sunday morning and reality kind of hit that it’s not going to work out.”
Faciolas decided to shut down the diner until more people come on board.
“It was very hard. Probably the hardest thing I had to do,” she says. “The last week we were open, we were open with friends of friends helping out.”
It is a problem unique to the pandemic, people choosing unemployment checks instead of working. However, there is help on the way for small businesses as a new round of grant money is available.
“A total of $235 million in our state’s small business and nonprofits,” said Gov. Murphy. “Each day we get closer and closer to being able to declare victory over this virus.”
The package from the Economic Development Authority includes, $20 million available for restaurants, $10 million for childcare facilities, and $50 million for small businesses and nonprofits.
Faciolas says some applications are now coming in for waitstaff, but she desperately needs kitchen help. In 30 years of owning the diner, the family says that they never thought that a staffing shortage would close their doors.
"I don't know what to think. It just feels like it shouldn't be this way,” Faciolas says.
The owners say they could possibly hold out until September, but they are hoping to re-staff and reopen as soon as possible.