Middlesex County, Hoboken start giving out COVID grant funds to small businesses

Local governments have begun issuing grant funding to small businesses from their share of federal CARES Act money, with Middlesex County and Hoboken among those announcing awards this week.

Middlesex County announced it would award a total of nearly $3.04 million to 123 local businesses in 22 of its municipalities. The awards, ranging from $410 to the maximum $30,000, serve to reimburse costs and loss of revenue due to adapting business operations to the COVID-19 environment.

The Small Business Relief Grant program is helping restaurants, hair and nail salons, retail stores, manufacturers and more, the county said in a news release. To be eligible, businesses had to have less than 50 employees, annual business income of less than $1 million, documented business interruption and other qualifications.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has had many unintended consequences, including for our small business communities,” Freeholder Director Ronald Rios said in a prepared statement. “Not only have they been asked to limit or halt operations, but, as we begin to reopen our economy, these cash-strapped businesses have been asked to adapt their businesses accordingly, making it even more difficult to make ends meet.

“These grants will certainly make a positive impact in our business community.”

The county hopes to award $30 million to small businesses, and is still accepting applications from eligible businesses. Click here for more information.

In Hoboken, 321 small businesses were awarded $1.82 million in funding, according to Mayor Ravi Bhalla, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise and Hudson County Freeholder Anthony Romano.

Businesses that qualified for the Hoboken grants had to meet guidelines including having 25 employees or less and being located within the city, among others. Hudson County established criteria for grants, and additional funding may be available in the future, depending on federal relief measures.

“Our small businesses make up the backbone of our city, and we are doing everything we can to assist them during these difficult times,” Bhalla said in a statement. “I’m hopeful that our federal elected officials will provide even more relief in the months ahead, as we continue to support our local mom-and-pop shops.

“Thank you to Sen. Robert Menendez, Sen. Cory Booker and Congressman Albio Sires for fighting for CARES Act funding for our community.”

The city also has provided relief through its own Hoboken Relief Fund, which has raised over $410,000 for impacted businesses and individuals. Contact the city with questions by email.