At the beginning of the pandemic, Federal CARES Act funding had begun to get distributed to help aid local governments with Covid-19 related expenses.

Ocean County received $106-million in the beginning of May and began to meet with local leaders and map out a plan for how to distribute the funding across the 33 municipalities.

In July, non-profit organizations were allowed to begin applying for grants to help with expenses.

At the same time, the Department of Housing and Urban Development allocated $820,810.00 in CDBG-CV funds to Ocean County to be used to for those COVID-19 related expenses.

Nearing the end of October, Ocean County is directing $10-million in CARES Act funding to small businesses who have been dealt a critical blow from being forced to shut down due to the pandemic and other restrictions in place.

“Small businesses are truly the heart and soul of our communities,” Ocean County Freeholder Director Joe Vicari said in a statement. “The Ocean County business community has been uniquely impacted by the pandemic since tourism and hospitality represent such a high percentage of its economic activity here. Our businesses were hit earliest and hardest by the pandemic. Throughout the summer months our business owners found creative ways to keep their businesses open while keeping employees and the public safe.”

Vicari explains that the CARES Act funding will help Ocean County small businesses struggling to pay lease payments or monthly rent payments.

Ocean County Freeholder Jack Kelly explains that Ocean County is patterning with the New Jersey Redevelopment Authority to assist these businesses as well.

“To further help our small businesses, the County will provide grants up to $30,000 to help defray the cost of rent or leases. This is a grant and not a loan,” Kelly said. “The grant is paid directly to the landlord.”

The program would run to the end of the year.

Ocean County worked with the New Jersey Economic Development Authority earlier this year the Freeholders said and provided small business grants up to $10,000 to more than 1,000 businesses in the county.

There are still an additional 200 businesses awaiting final grant approval.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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