What a difference two weeks make! First, let me extend my hope that you are all healthy and keeping a safe distance from possible contamination. Our non-profit agency’s office located in the Riverfront Renaissance Center for the Arts is closed. I am working part time from home.
As with almost all other organizations and small businesses, we have canceled or postponed meetings and many upcoming special events. We hope to reschedule the Artists’ Studio Tour and the 20th Anniversary Festival in the fall. I think we will all be ready for arts and entertainment as soon as it is safe.
There is a lot of news that may be helpful to our Glasstown Arts District businesses. Here are some links for important information and possible working-capital loans that the Cumberland County Improvement Authority has shared with us. There may also be some grants available in the very near future. (The web addresses are long but they take you right where you need to go.)
• General Questions for State of NJ: cv.business.nj.gov, State of NJ Business Portal–Questions can be submitted, and many questions are answered on this site; good site to check as a first point of contact.
• Unemployment Benefits: myunemployment.nj.gov/before/about/howtoapply/applyonline.shtml–Online process for applying for unemployment benefits.
• Urgent need to hire workers: jobs.covid19.nj.gov/intake–Use this online portal if you have an urgent need for workers as a result of the crisis.
• SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans: Disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/ for online application–Sba.gov/disaster for paper application OR call 1-800-659-2955– Businesses can apply online or request a paper application; it is a three-step loan process for loans up to $25,000 to alleviate economic injury and temporary loss of revenue due to the COVID-19 crisis; available to both small businesses and private, non-profits.
–Up to $25,000
–Pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, any other bills
–Interest rate: 3.75 percent for small businesses; 2.75 percent for nonprofits
For an information sheet: disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Documents/Three_Step_Process_SBA_Disaster_Loans.pdf
Many of you may be taking care of your children or grandchildren at home. However, if you don’t have those obligations and are in good health, perhaps you can volunteer your time to assist restaurants with deliveries. Check around your neighborhoods and see if the older population needs pharmacy supplies and groceries picked up and delivered. It may be difficult for them to go to those needed stores. Or, they may be afraid to leave their homes. You can make arrangements to leave the shopping bags at their door and phone or text them when you arrive.
We are luckier than most of our neighbors in the northern part of New Jersey. We are more rural and mostly have our own cars for transportation. Most of us can stay safely apart and remain healthy. Remember our first responders, everyone working in healthcare, and those in necessary jobs like grocery stores.
All of us in the Arts District wish you well. We know you will be anxious to support the small arts, entertainment, dining and professional businesses as much as you can and when this crisis is over.