Hoboken Mayor Ravi Bhalla announced Wednesday a second round of grants for small businesses hammered by the pandemic — with companies having 25 or fewer employees eligible to receive up to $10,000.
But that’s not all.
Companies that can verify that at least 75% of their employees have been vaccinated for COVID-19 are eligible for a bonus — which will be determined after the initial grants are awarded.
It is believed to be the first time a grant program has linked funding to vaccination rates.
The application process, which opened Wednesday, closes Aug. 11. (Click here to learn more and apply.)
The city is using $1.8 million that it received from the American Rescue Plan to fund the program. The grants can be utilized for COVID-related expenses incurred between Sept. 1, 2020, and July 28, including employee salaries, mortgage payments, business loan payments, equipment leases or finance payments, and utilities including electric, water, gas, phone and internet.
Hoboken small businesses must operate as for-profit entities and have no more than 25 full-time employees with no more than 1,000 hours per week to qualify for up to $10,000 in grant funding. Hoboken businesses that can also verify 75% of their employees are fully vaccinated are eligible to receive bonus funding.
The amount of the potential grant is significant. In the previous round of funding through the CARES Act, $1.82 million in grant funding was provided to 322 Hoboken businesses, with an average award amount of $5,652.
Bhalla said helping small business helps the city.
“Hoboken businesses are the lifeblood of this city, and we are doing everything we can to assist them as we overcome the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “This grant funding is another way we’re providing a measure of relief to our small business community as we continue our recovery.”
Hoboken Business Alliance President Greg Dell’Aquila obviously agrees.
“The Hoboken Business Alliance and Hoboken business community at large are grateful for the work that Sen. (Bob) Menendez, the mayor of Hoboken, and Gov. (Phil Murphy) have done to continually support the recovery of our small businesses,” he said. “From the start, the Hoboken Business Alliance, the business community and the city government have been working hand in hand.
“Through the HBA and city’s support, the business community is in a much better position than we would have otherwise been.”
Application submissions must be complete with all required documentation, including completed W-9, to be considered for funding. Those who seek bonus funding must provide proof of employee vaccinations. Incomplete submissions will be ineligible for an award.
Hoboken business with questions about the program or criteria for grant funding should email email@example.com.