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Downtown Bernardsville is committed to helping our community thrive. However we are able to apply the resources we have available, we will do so in the best way possible. The current COVID-19 pandemic is a global event, currently stabilizing 1/3 of the world’s population (yes, the world!). With this in mind, our town will not disappear as a result of this situation, and as a business owner, you can have the help you need to put your business back in order when the time comes for us to reopen in a few weeks.

Below are a list of resources, information, legislation, Government and Private sector loans and grants, Forgiveness measures and other news to help Bernardsville back on its feet after this is behind us. Please make sure to take advantage of available information and resources!

Funding Programs & Business Support

Small Business Administration Loan Programs – The Paycheck ProtectionProgram (reopened Monday, April 27th at 10:30am ET) is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses and nonprofits to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. Economic Injury Disaster Loans provide small businesses and nonprofits with working capital loans of up to $2 million for vital economic support. Be sure to check out the National Trust Community Investment Corporation’s highlights of SBA resources that could help small businesses and nonprofits in this recap, as well as their summary of the Paycheck Protection Program

 is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits through their Small Business Grants Program. Applications become available April 22. Learn more. They also set up a Business Resource Hub.

LISC has launched a Small Business Relief Grants initiative to support small businesses during the pandemic. Grants will be made in the amounts of $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000. Applications are due Tuesday, April 28 at 11:59PM EST. Learn more and apply.

ioby has launched a new match grant opportunity: National COVID-19 Community Response and Recovery Match Fund. Wherever you are in the United States, when you crowdfund for a project that responds to COVID-19 in your community, they’ll waive their fiscal sponsorship and platform fee, and double your donations dollar-for-dollar up to $8,000. Learn more. 

Salesforce is partnering with Ureeka to offer eligible small businesses the opportunity to receive a $10,000 grant to help them through the COVID-19 outbreak. Learn more

JPMorgan pledged $50 million global philanthropic commitment to support communities and people hit hardest by this public health crisis, including $2 million to existing nonprofit partners and $8 million to assist small businesses. Learn more. 

The James Beard Foundation is launching a fund that will be gathering support from corporate, foundation, and individual donors to provide micro-grants to independent food and beverage businesses in need. Learn more. 

, a crowdfunding platform, announced its new Main Street Initiative: a $2,000, zero-interest, 120 day loan for restaurants or other brick and mortars affected by the shutdown. Learn more. 

Opportunity Fund, which specializes in money lending to small businesses owned by women, immigrants and people of color, is collaborating with investors and nonprofits to put together a coronavirus relief fund that will provide grants and low-interest rate loans. Learn more.

The Go Fund Me Relief Initiative is intended to support our local businesses facing financial loss. Make a difference today by donating or starting a fundraiser. Learn more.

Honeycomb Credit Relief Loan – $10,000 – $50,000 crowdfunded low interest loan option for brick and mortar businesses. Learn more. They also have a crowdfunded gift card subscription product. Learn more

Other Resources:

January Third created a Pandemic Survival Kit for Small Businesses. Learn more.

Kabbage launched an online hub to help boost sales for U.S small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including a system through which businesses can sell gift cards to consumers for use at a later date. Learn more.

Landlord-tenant tips. Uptown Marion in Iowa created tips for landlord-tenant conversations during COVID-19. Learn more. 

Rent Relief. Kendall Whittier Main Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma, created a rent relief grant program to help merchants and property owners. Learn more about their program model.

On May 15, 2020, Governor Murphy unveiled a 3-stage approach to restarting the economy. For a one-page summary of Governor Murphy’s multi-stage approach to restart New Jersey’s economy, click here.


Restrictions relaxed on low-risk activities if appropriately safeguarded. New Jersey is currently in this stage.

Phased-in businesses may include:

  • Non-essential, but easiest to safeguard, work activities at physical locations if they meet safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, non-essential construction with protections.
  • Some non-essential retail may open with significant modifications. For example, curbside pickup.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home even if their industry is reopening. For example, an office manager for a construction company.
  • Phased-in activities include State and county parks, non-essential construction, curbside retail, drive-in activities, beaches, and elective surgeries.

Restrictions are relaxed on additional activities that can be easily safeguarded.

Phased-in businesses may include:

  • More work activities are allowed at physical locations only if they adhere to safeguarding and modification guidelines. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 2 may include expanded retail, safeguarded restaurants with outdoor seating, limited personal care, and possibly indoor dining, museums, and libraries, all with significantly reduced capacity.
    All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, a buying manager for restaurants.
    Some personal care services may be provided on a limited basis.

Restrictions are relaxed on most activities with significant safeguarding.

Phased-in businesses include:

  • More work activities, including in-person meetings, are allowed at physical locations only if they can adhere to safeguarding guidelines and modifications. For example, work activities to be phased-in over the course of Stage 3 may include expanded dining, critical in-office work, limited entertainment, expanded personal care, and bars with limited capacity.
  • All workers who can work from home continue to work from home. For example, accounting office workers.
  • Personal care services may be provided on a more extended basis.

Precautions that apply across all stages include:

  • Work that can be done from home should continue to be done from home.
  • Clinically high-risk individuals who can stay at home should continue to do so.
  • All residents and businesses should follow state and federal safeguarding guidelines:
    • Wash hands
    • Wear masks in public
    • Respect social distancing
    • Minimize gatherings
    • Disinfect workplace and businesses
    • Minimize gatherings
    • No mass gatherings
NJ Programs & Resources

(Below are existing programs to assist downtowns and/or small businesses. We will provide updated information as economic relief programs come on line. See “NJ Legislation” below for information about enacted and pending bills.)

NJ Economic Relief Funding

The NJEDA announced a relief package of over $75 million including a grant program for small businesses, a zero percent interest loan program for mid-size companies, support for private-sector lenders and Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs), funding for entrepreneurs, and a variety of resources providing technical support and marketplace information.

Updated May 15, 2020 – NJ is committing $50 million in CARES Act funding to the EDA to develop programs to support small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will primarily be used to provide grants that will serve as a vital lifeline for the thousands of small businesses struggling during these unprecedented times. The funding will be subject to special EDA board approval, with details on the grants and an application period in the coming weeks.


This $5 million program will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses. The program is limited to businesses with 1 to 10 fulltime employees (1099 workers do not qualify). The business must be registered in NJ and have physical location here (home-based businesses do not qualify). Non-profits are eligible. Qualifying business type is by NAICS code, including retail (codes starting with 44 or 45); accommodation & food services (codes starting with 72); arts, entertainment & recreation (codes starting with 71); other services (codes starting with 811 and 812). This is a self-certification program, meaning that businesses must certify, but does not need to provide paperwork to prove “need”. An agreement to retain employees is part of the self-certification. Application window is closed. NJEDA accepting private donations in hopes of opening another round.


This $10 million program that will provide short-term working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses. Loans will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, and then will reset to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years. The business must have a physical location in NJ, less than $5 million in revenues, and have been in existence for at least 1 year. To be eligible for the loan, the business must demonstrate negative impact from COVID-19. Application window is closed. More information>

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