Quick Links: Hospital and Providers Relief (Español) | Small Business Relief (Español) | Individual and Family Relief (Español)
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The United States has crossed 4.5 million infections and 154,000 deaths due to COVID-19. More than 48 million people, including over 1.4 million workers in our state, have filed for unemployment. During this trying time for our country, I want to ensure you have the latest information about the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and my work in Congress to protect the safety and economic security of North Jersey workers and families.
Outlook in New Jersey
Slowing the Spread: As of July 24, there are 180,790 confirmed cases and 15,809 deaths in our state, including approximately 25,919 cases in New Jersey’s Ninth Congressional District. These statistics are tragic, but thanks to Governor Phil Murphy’s swift action as well as the efforts of New Jerseyans practicing social distancing, we have flattened the curve in our state. Since COVID-19 cases peaked in New Jersey in mid-April, new hospitalizations are down by 96% and continue to trend positively.
However, we are not out of the woods yet. This week, the rate of transmission (average number of persons each contagious person infects) rose to 1.14 for the first time since April. To ensure we continue our progress, it is important all New Jerseyans follow Governor Murphy’s Executive Order requiring the use of face coverings when social distancing is not possible. Wearing a face covering, social distancing, and practicing good hygiene are critical to keeping yourself and others safe!
Additionally, with case numbers rising across the nation, Governor Murphy put in place a travel advisory for individuals traveling to New Jersey from states with significant community spread of COVID-19 to quarantine for a 14-day period. The quarantine advisory currently includes individuals traveling from the following 36 states and territories: Alaska, Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Idaho, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, North Dakota, Nebraska, New Mexico, Nevada, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Re-Opening the State: With case numbers trending poorly across the nation, we remain in Stage Two of Governor Murphy’s plan to safely re-open the economy. This has included the re-opening of outdoor dining, retail stores, outdoor recreational businesses, swimming pools, shopping malls, museums, and youth day camps. Indoor dining, bars, and recreational businesses remain closed.
Education: This week, the Department of Education issued guidance that allows parents to choose all-remote learning for their child. The core elements of the guidance include: universal eligibility for any parent to opt into full-time remote learning, requiring schools communicate clearly with parents about the availability and structure of remote learning, and ensuring students learning remotely receive the same quality education as all other students. Learn more about New Jersey’s plan for safely re-opening schools.
Unemployment: The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (NJDOL) has dispersed more than $9.2 billion in federal unemployment benefits and $3.6 billion in state unemployment benefits to over 1.44 million workers. The number of new unemployment applications rose 8.8% last week, with 28,063 initial claims.
The additional $600 weekly unemployment benefit from the federal government expires today. This benefit has provided over $7.5 billion in assistance to 1.44 million unemployed New Jerseyans over the past several months. In May, the House of Representatives passed the HEROES Act, which extends this benefit until the end of the year. The Senate has not considered it. As negotiations on further COVID-19 relief continue, I will be sure to keep you updated.
For more information about federal or state unemployment benefits, please visit: myunemployment.nj.gov. If you are experiencing issues receiving your owed unemployment benefits, please reach out to my Paterson office at 973-523-5152 for assistance.
Federal Support for New Jersey
Addressing Veterans Home Crisis: This week, I offered testimony before a hearing of the House Veterans Affairs Subcommittee on Health addressing the nationwide crisis in veterans care homes ravaged by COVID-19. In North Jersey, the ongoing tragedy at the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus has stunned the nation and laid bare the terrible vulnerability of these facilities. As of July 27, the New Jersey Veterans Home at Paramus (NJVHP) has 199 residents and 93 staff members who contracted COVID-19. Sadly, 81 residents and 1 staff member have died from the virus. My testimony focused on the importance of greater oversight from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and the need for the VA to transparently and diligently inspect veterans care facilities.
Relief for Small Businesses: This week, Governor Murphy announced an additional $15 million in federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funding for New Jersey small businesses struggling with the pandemic. This funding is in addition to the $100 million in CARES Act funding the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (NJEDA) is already administering to support COVID-19-impacted businesses. This program provides grants of up to $10,000 to qualified businesses, including home-based businesses and sole proprietorships.
Additionally, Governor Murphy announced $6 million in CARES Act funding for a new relief program for small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The Small Business Lease - Emergency Assistance Grant Program (SBL-EAGP) will allow businesses in 64 eligible municipalities to apply for grants of up to $10,000 for lease costs.
Online Groceries Through SNAP: Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients in New Jersey are now able to purchase groceries online through Amazon and participating Walmarts, ShopRites and The Fresh Grocers. This flexibility will help protect the program’s recipients amidst the pandemic. In March, I joined Sens. Bob Menendez and Cory Booker in calling on the United States Department of Agriculture to admit New Jersey into this critical program.
To learn more, recipients can visit the Amazon or Walmart SNAP portals to register their Electronic Benefit Transit (EBT) card. Any Walmart, ShopRite or The Fresh Grocer that currently provides online shopping will also accept online ordering with SNAP benefits.
My office has updated our fact sheets to ensure workers, families, businesses, and health care providers know their options for relief:
- Hospitals and Health Care Providers Relief Fact Sheet
- The CARES Act allocated $100 billion for health care providers across the nation to respond to the outbreak, and the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act provided an additional $75 billion. New Jersey hospitals and long-term care facilities have received $3.9 billion in relief.
- Individuals and Families Relief Fact Sheet
- The CARES Act included $1,200 economic impact payments for most Americans to address the severe impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak on personal safety and financial security amid this crisis. The IRS has delivered over 4.1 million payments to New Jerseyans. Haven’t received your check yet or have a question? The IRS has set up a hotline at 800-919-9835.
- Small and Medium Sized Business Relief Fact Sheet
- On April 23, Congress passed an additional $310 billion for the Paycheck Program Program and $50 billion in small business disaster loans. I was glad to support this critical legislation to ensure our neighborhood small businesses have the support they need, and I am committed to doing more for our state and local governments, hospitals, and first responders. American small businesses have received more than $519.5 billion and New Jersey businesses have received over $17 billion in Paycheck Protection loans from this program, with 9th District businesses receiving $1.3 billion. This program, originally scheduled to expire on June 30, has been extended to August 8.
Additionally, if you have lost health coverage due to job loss of yourself or a family member, you are eligible to enroll in quality, affordable health care through the Affordable Care Act. Go to healthcare.gov to enroll and learn more about qualifying life events that allow you to enroll outside of Open Enrollment.
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. 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.
Bill Pascrell, Jr.
Member of Congress