Small Business Assistance:
COVID-19 vaccinations are underway across New Jersey!
Currently, vaccines are available to health care workers, long-term care residents, police officers, fire professionals, individuals over the age of 65, and individuals ages 16-64 with certain pre-existing conditions.
You can register to receive a COVID-19 vaccine here: covidvaccine.nj.gov
Our country continues to reckon with a deadly pandemic and deep economic crisis. The United States has now crossed 28,300,000 infections and 502,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Last night, I joined my colleagues on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for a vigil to mark the awful milestone of over half a million American lives lost to this pandemic.
During this trying time, I want to ensure you have the latest information about the pandemic and my work in Congress to protect the safety and economic security of North Jersey workers and families.
Slowing the Spread
As of February 24, there are 772,267 confirmed cases and 22,978 deaths in our state, an increase of 19,202 infections and 481 deaths from last week. Yesterday, New Jersey reported 2,516 cases and 104 additional deaths, with cases down 6% from a week ago and 40% from a month ago.
Help is on the way as our vaccine distribution ramps up. In the meantime, it is vital we continue to slow the spread by social distancing, wearing a mask, and practicing good hygiene.
With cases beginning to decline, Governor Phil Murphy has taken action to increase indoor capacity limits to 35% for restaurants, recreational businesses, and personal care services. Additionally, this week the Governor increased capacity limits for religious services to 50% and beginning March 1 permitted large sport and entertainment venues to host members of the public equal to 10% of capacity indoors and 15% of capacity outdoors.
Update on COVID Relief
This week, the House of Representatives will vote on President Joe Biden's American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion COVID-19 relief package. Our plan includes funding for vaccine distribution, $1,400 direct stimulus checks, expanded weekly unemployment benefits of $400, resources to safely open our schools, increased paid sick and family leave, money for housing and nutritional programs, a higher earned income tax credit and child tax credit, and assistance to struggling state and local governments.
Under our legislation, New Jersey is set to receive over $9.4 billion in assistance to fill budget shortfalls created by the pandemic and stave off cuts to essential services like public safety and education. Every city and school district in our state would receive much needed direct assistance under our plan. Most importantly, workers and families across New Jersey would receive the direct relief they need to weather this ongoing crisis. People are hurting, and we are moving with urgency to pass our legislation into law.
Questions about COVID-19 vaccine distribution? My office has prepared a fact sheet here.
As of February 24, New Jersey has administered 1,758,979 vaccines, including 1,192,364 first doses and 566,441 second doses. Currently, vaccines are available to health care workers, residents or staff of long-term care (LTC) congregate settings, law enforcement officers, fire professionals, individuals over 65, and individuals ages 16-to-64 with medical conditions that increase risk for severe COVID-19.
If you are eligible to receive a vaccine, there are three ways to get vaccinated:
Learn more about where, how, and when you can get vaccinated at this Frequently Asked Questions page. You can read more about the vaccine distribution and administration process at the Department of Health COVID-19 Vaccine page. Finally, you can reach the state vaccine hotline at 855-568-0545 between 8:00am and 8:00pm daily to speak to a trained operator. You may also contact the state online for assistance here.
The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has distributed more than $22.8 billion in benefits since the start of the pandemic, with over 2 million New Jerseyans submitting initial claims in that period.
In December, Congress passed additional relief legislation which extends until mid-March the federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program providing benefits to unemployed gig workers and the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) program providing weekly $300 federal benefits. Congress is moving with haste to further extend these federal unemployment programs through August that help keep hundreds of thousands of New Jerseyans afloat. I am committed to fighting to get my constituents the aid they need to weather and rebuild from this crisis.
If you are experiencing issues receiving your owed unemployment benefits, please reach out to my Paterson office anytime at 973-523-5152 for assistance.
We are facing a global pandemic, and ensuring the safety of all families from COVID-19 and its impact on day-to-day life is my top priority. My office has prepared an informational webpage to ensure workers, families, businesses, and health care providers know their options for relief. For the latest on the coronavirus in New Jersey, check the state’s website at covid19.nj.gov.
Finally, in the face of a worldwide pandemic and deteriorating economic conditions, more and more Americans are experiencing mental health issues. The U.S. Census Bureau found that three times as many American adults are facing depression or anxiety amid the pandemic. If you feel overwhelmed or in crisis, please know there are resources and people available to help. New Jersey has set up a free mental health support line. Just call 866.202.HELP or text NJHELP to 51682 for support from 8am to 8pm.
You can always reach me and my staff in Washington at 202-225-5751 or New Jersey at 973-523-5152 for assistance or further guidance. Remember, my door is always open to you. We are all in this together.