Small Business Assistance:
Our nation is reckoning with a deadly pandemic that only continues to worsen. The United States has crossed 14,000,000 infections and 270,000 deaths due to COVID-19. Yesterday, we recorded over 2,600 deaths and yet another single-day record of 98,961 coronavirus hospitalizations.
During this deeply trying time for America, 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.
Update on Cases in New Jersey
As of December 2, there are 343,739 confirmed cases and 17,083 deaths in our state, an increase of 28,064 infections and 264 deaths from last week.
Yesterday, New Jersey reported 4,661 new cases of COVID-19 and another 90 deaths, the most confirmed COVID-19 fatalities reported in a single day since June. The state’s 71 hospitals reported 3,129 patients with COVID-19 cases, the highest number in more than six months.
Containing the Spread
Last week, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli stated that New Jersey expects to receive enough COVID-19 vaccine doses by the end of December to begin inoculating people in top priority groups, like health care workers. A professional advisory committee has given the governor's office its framework for determining vaccine priority, with details to be released before the first vaccines arrive. Commissioner Persichilli expects there should be sufficient vaccine supply to meet demand within six months.
In light of the rapidly increased spread, Governor Murphy has announced several COVID-19 mitigation measures. The indoor gathering limit is currently 10 people and the outdoor gathering limit is currently 150 people, with certain exceptions detailed here. Effective Monday, December 7th at 6 am, general outdoor gatherings will be limited to 25 people. There is no limit for outdoor gatherings for wedding ceremonies, funerals, memorial services, religious activities, or political activities.
Additionally, for the time being, restaurants, bars, and lounges must close their indoor premises from 10:00pm-5:00am and will not be allowed to offer indoor bar seating at any time. Further, anyone returning or visiting from out of state beyond the immediate region (New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware) must abide by the state travel advisory to self-quarantine for 14 days.
You can help contact tracing efforts by downloading the new COVID Alert NJ app. This app notifies users if they have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.
State and Federal Aid
Open enrollment for Affordable Care Act health insurance plans is available through January 31st at the state’s official health insurance marketplace: Get Covered New Jersey. This new marketplace is open to residents to browse health plans, compare prices, and find out if they qualify for financial help. Learn more and enroll now here.
Since the start of the pandemic, the federal government has provided New Jersey with $18.31 billion in support, including over $13 billion in unemployment assistance and over $2 billion in state coronavirus relief funding. The bulk of this funding was authorized by the Coronavirus, Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which I was proud to vote in favor of in March.
In May, and once again in October, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act to provide additional relief to families, frontline workers, first responders, and states and cities. The Senate has not yet considered it. As negotiations on further COVID-19 relief continue, I will be sure to keep you updated.
Since the start of the pandemic, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has dispersed more than $13 billion in federal unemployment benefits and $5.7 billion in state unemployment benefits. More than 1.78 million New Jersey workers have sought unemployment benefits since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Additionally, NJDOL has distributed $1.3 billion in FEMA Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) payments to 848,000 eligible claimants. Workers who earned at least $100 in unemployment benefits for a COVID-related reason during the weeks ending Aug. 1 through Sept. 5 were eligible and notified by NJDOL to claim their benefit. The benefit was $300 per week for up to six weeks, for a maximum payment of $1,800.
The House of Representatives has passed the HEROES Act, which provides an additional $600 weekly federal benefit for those collecting unemployment. The Senate has not yet considered it. As negotiations on additional federal unemployment relief continue, I will be sure to keep you updated.
If you are experiencing issues receiving your owed unemployment benefits, please reach out to my Paterson office 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.
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.