COVID-19 -Governor Murphy Issues Extensions of NJDEP Timeframes and Deadlines.

On Saturday May 2, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy issued Executive Order (EO) 136 providing for extensions of many statutory deadlines required under environmental laws and regulations administered by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP or Department) and suspending timeframes for certain NJDEP permit decisions and reporting.  The extensions and suspensions are retroactive to March 9, 2020. EO-136 does the following:

  • NJDEP’s “90-day” review period for Waterfront Development, CAFRA and Flood Hazard Area (stream encroachment) permit applications is tolled and extended.
  • Registration deadlines under the new “Dirty Dirt” law are extended.
  • “All timeframes governing the Department’s provision of public notice, review and decisions on permits and other approvals,” including those which would deem applications approved without conditions are paused.
  • The timeframe for NJDEP approval of certain asset sales of sanitary landfills is extended.
  • Reporting deadlines for municipalities regarding recycling tonnage are extended by 60 days; and
  • Extended the August 1 deadline for semi-annual reporting for entities that collect electronic “e-waste.”

Under the terms of EO 136, the NJDEP Commissioner is required to issue an Administrative Order by May 7, 2020 to implement the extensions.  NJDEP is also authorized to “establish earlier timeframes for review and decisions on specific permit applications, with appropriate public notice, if DEP determines that an earlier decision is in the public interest or … to maintain appropriate sequencing of federal timeframes.”

90-day Permit Review Stayed.  Under N.J.S.A. 13:1D-32, NJDEP is required to make a determinations on applications for permits under the Waterfront Development Act, N.J.S.A. 13:9A-1 et seq, the Wetlands Act of 1970 (the Coastal Wetlands Act), N.J.S.A. 13:9A-1 et seq., the Coastal Area Facility Review Act (CAFRA), N.J.S.A. 13:19-1 et seq., and the Flood Hazard Area Control Act,  N.J.S.A. 58:16A-50 et seq.  EO-136 extends the timeframe for completeness reviews and permit decisions until 60 days after the end of COVID-19 Public Health Emergency declared under EO-103.  Hence, all pending application will essentially be held in abeyance absent a finding that the permit decision is needed “in the public interest.”  DEP is also required to continue reviews of permit applications “to the maximum extent practicable.”

NJDEP’s review of county or municipal projects to clear debris from streams under N.J.S.A. 58:16A-67 has also been extended.

Review of Treatment Works Approvals (TWA) for sewer connection permits and other “90-day permits” were not addressed, nor was any relaxation of those addressed down the regulatory food chain for local and county entities involved in approval processes.

“Dirty Dirt” registration deadline extended.  Among other actions, EO #136 extends the deadlines for the “dirty dirt law” registration and licensing requirements by the number of days of the Public Health Emergency declared in Executive Order No. 103 plus an additional 60 days.

Recycling Reporting deadlines extended.  Deadlines for annual reporting by municipalities of recycling tonnage under N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.16.e. and the next semi-annual reporting for facilities accepting e-wastes required under N.J.S.A. 13:1E-99.105c, have been extended for sixty (60) days to July 1, 2020 and August 1, 2020 respectively.Approval of Sanitary Landfill Asset Transfers.  The timeframe for DEP to act on certain proposed asset transfers for Sanitary Landfills under N.J.S.A. 48:3-7 has been extended for a period of sixty days after the end of the COVID-19 emergency declaration.

Click here to read EO 136:  https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-136.pdf
Click here to read the Governor’s press statement on EO 136:  https://nj.gov/governor/news/news/562020/approved/20200502d.shtml

As we all try to cope with the unprecedented situation arising from the COVID-19 virus, we want to take this opportunity to notify our clients and friends that Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) is here to help if you need assistance of any kind, and to assure you that the Firm is operating and fully functional.  Our, attorney’s, government affairs professionals and staff are working remotely and securely, and we remain available to assist our clients without disruption.

 

 

COVID-19: NJDEP Extends Certain Site Remediation Deadlines Due to Pandemic

In response to numerous requests from the regulated community the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) took steps to suspend the application of certain New Jersey Site Remediation Program (SRP) compliance deadlines on April 24, 2020.  This relief is due to restrictions on workforce availability and business operations during the state’s current COVID-19-related state of emergency and the shelter-in-place orders issued by Governor Phil Murphy under his March 9, 2020, Executive Order No. 103 (EO-103).

NJDEP Commissioner Catherine McCabe approved a Notice Rule/Waiver/Modification/Suspension, calling for a temporary extension of certain SRP regulatory and mandatory timeframes for an initial period of 90 days while reserving the right to further extend the waiver period based on the duration of the state of emergency.

  • The Temporary Rule Modification specifically concerns the Administrative Rules for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (ARRCS) and the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (TRSR).

The NJDEP expressly noted that it has the flexibility and ability to extend the timeframes beyond the extensions set forth in its notice so that it can respond to site- and situation-specific circumstances if necessary.

The modification is retroactive to March 9, 2020, the effective date of EO-103, and will remain in effect until the expiration or revocation of EO-103, or until otherwise revoked by the NJDEP. The 90-day extension applies only to those timeframes that have occurred or will occur while EO-103 is in effect, including:

  • Mandatory Remediation Timeframes relating to Preliminary Assessments/Site Investigations (PA/SIs) set pursuant to the Industrial Site Recovery Act, N.J.S.A. 13:1K-6 et seq.; Initial Receptor Evaluations; Immediate Environmental Condition source control; completion of Remedial Investigations (RIs) for light non-aqueous phase liquids (LNAPLs); and completion of RIs and the submission of RI Reports for contaminated sites.
  • Expedited Site-Specific Timeframes
  • Regulatory Timeframes relating to LNAPL Interim Remedial Measures, Initial Receptor Evaluations, PA/SIs, the completion of RIs and the submission of RI Reports for contaminated sites and underground storage tanks, and the implementation of Remedial Actions (RAs) and the submission of RA Reports (RARs).
  • Regulatory Remedial Action Timeframes relating to the submission of RARs and the completion of RAs.

The NJDEP will consider requests by the person responsible for conducting the remediation for further extensions of the timeframes listed above and other timeframes on a case-by-case basis.

NJDEP also reserved the right to waive, suspend, or relax any other provisions of the ARRCS and/or TRSR (including provisions set forth in any permit or other approval document) on a case-by-case or site-specific basis provided the they find such action to be:

  • Necessary to ensure the continued management of remediation activities and supporting services;
  • Narrowly tailored to include only necessary modifications to address circumstances created by or directly related to the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • Applied consistently to similarly situated entities and individuals; and
  • Limited to the period in which EO-103 is in effect.

As we all try to cope with the unprecedented situation arising from the COVID-19 virus, we want to take this opportunity to notify our clients and friends that Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) is here to help if you need assistance of any kind, and to assure you that the Firm is operating and fully functional.  Our, attorney’s, government affairs professionals and staff are working remotely and securely, and we remain available to assist our clients without disruption.

COVID-19 Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”)-now how do you use those funds.

Late last month, the federal government committed $349 billion dollars in forgivable loans to small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Program (“PPP”), as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Stability Act (the “CARES Act”). Under the PPP, eligible small businesses have been able to borrow two and one-half months of payroll costs, up to $10 million, from banks and other financial institutions approved by the U.S. Small Business Administration (“SBA”) in order to fund payroll costs, rent, utilities, and certain other operating-related expenses (“Qualified Expenses”) incurred eight weeks after the loan is disbursed (“Covered Period”).

  • Many small businesses quickly saw the advantage of the generous terms of PPP capital not requiring collateral, personal guarantees, or SBA fees and providing a six-month deferment period at a fixed interest rate of 1%.

Approved borrowers have started to receive the proceeds of the loans, beginning the eight week Covered Period within which to spend the proceeds in order to qualify for loan forgiveness. As we enter the disbursement phase, borrowers need to focus on how to properly spend the money to maximize forgiveness and avoid potential problems in the future, when the government reviews the disbursements under the program. The SBA is required by the CARES Act to provide guidance on the implementation of the loan forgiveness feature by April 26, 2020.

The PPP is a massive program that was very quickly rolled out with minimal supervision and review of the loan applications as a primary objective of the program was to inject a large amount of money into the economy quickly. There are undoubtedly some businesses that will take improper advantage of this loan program, and 2021 will likely see enforcement actions aimed at those engaged in fraud under the PPP. Given how quickly this was rolled out, there will also inevitably be those who inadvertently don’t follow the rules and will find themselves trying not to be lumped in with those who committed actual fraud. Borrowers should protect themselves from liability by ensuring PPP funds are used only for authorized purposes.

Proper Use of PPP Funds

The basic idea behind the use of the PPP proceeds is simple: Borrowers should use the money quickly, mostly to pay employees, and should bring their workforce levels back to pre-pandemic levels, if possible. That may be a challenge for many recipients given the rapidly changing COVID-19 environment, and the law anticipates that borrowers may not be able to spend all the money in the time frame indicated for the purposes indicated. As borrowers analyze the various options available, they should keep in mind that in applying for the PPP loan, the borrower needed to certify in good faith that “current economic uncertainty makes this loan request necessary to support the ongoing operations of the Applicant” and loan proceeds “will be used to retain workers and maintain payroll” (emphases added). Those responsible for enforcement and oversight will likely give a good deal of leeway to borrowers trying to navigate these very uncertain times, but will not look kindly on those who they determine did not obtain this money in good faith.  PPP loan proceeds can lawfully be used for the various purposes of a normal SBA 7(a) loan, such as to provide working capital as well as to cover:

(1) payroll costs (as defined by the Act);

(2) costs related to continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, as well as insurance premiums;

(3) mortgage interest payments;

(4) rent payments;

(5) utility payments;

(6) interest payments on other debt obligations incurred before February 15, 2020; and,

(7) refinancing an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan made between January 31, 2020, and April 3, 2020. CARES Act § 1102(f). The SBA has declared in its Interim Final Rule that 75% of the PPP loan proceeds must be spent on payroll costs.

If a borrower uses PPP funds for unauthorized purposes, the SBA will direct the borrower to repay those amounts. If a borrower knowingly uses the funds for unauthorized purposes, the borrower will be subject to additional liability charges for fraud. If a borrower uses funds for unauthorized purposes, the SBA will have recourse against the borrower’s shareholders, members, or partner(s) for the unauthorized use.

Loan Forgiveness

Because the purpose of the program is to inject money quickly into the economy primarily by paying employees of small businesses, the PPP provides the opportunity for complete forgiveness of the PPP loan. Those portions of the loan that are not spent quickly enough or for the right purposes must be repaid over two years, but the idea is that these amounts should be small.

  • Qualifying businesses will be eligible for loan forgiveness when PPP loan proceeds are spent on Qualified Expenses within the eight week Covered Period and at least 75% (the “75/25 Rule”) of Qualified Expenses were payroll costs.

The forgiven amount cannot exceed the principal amount of the PPP loan. CARES Act § 1106(d)(1).

Payroll Costs. The CARES Act defines payroll costs as Qualified Expenses. CARES Act § 1106(b)(1). For a business (as opposed to an independent contractor or sole proprietor), payroll costs are payments to employees that are (i) salary, wages, commissions, or similar compensation (up to an annualized $100,000); (ii) cash tips or equivalent; (iii) vacation, parental, family medical, or sick leave (excluding payments for emergency paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leaves); (iv) separation or dismissal pay; (v) for group health insurance; (vi) retirement benefits; or (vii) state or local payroll tax (but not federal payroll tax). This definition raises some issues for borrowers.

  • How Are Working Partners or Working Members of an LLC Treated? Under most traditional definitions of “employee,” owners of a business such as partners and members of an LLC are not considered “employees.” Nor, if there are several owners, are they “sole proprietors” or “independent contractors,” which are separately addressed under the program. The question arises, therefore, whether payments to such owners who perform work for a small business are payroll costs under the PPP for which the borrower may seek forgiveness. The Treasury Department, in consultation with the SBA, issued guidance on April 6, 2020, that indicated that payments to such individuals may be included in payroll costs. Pre-PPP cases under the SBA have indicated that owners who work at least 40 hours per month on the business may be considered employees for SBA purposes. We expect further guidance this week that may address this question. Borrowers should work closely with their accountants and counsel to properly calculate which such payments may be included.
  • What About Employee Bonuses and Raises? The CARES Act and current SBA guidance remain unclear regarding employee bonuses and raises that would increase payroll costs that are not in the ordinary course of the business. If any borrower wants to use PPP proceeds on such payments, it should have and document a sound reason as to why such expenditures are “necessary to support the ongoing operations” of the business. Borrowers should also remain aware of the rules concerning the $100,000 annualized basis limiting payments.
  • What About Payments or Prepayments? The CARES Act provides that“[a]n eligible recipient shall be eligible for forgiveness of indebtedness on a covered loan in equal to the sum of the following costs incurred and payments made during the covered period payroll costs.” There has been some suggestion that the word “and” means that any payment must be both incurred and paid during the eight week period. This creates a problem because most bills, including payroll costs, are paid after they are incurred. Payroll, for example, is usually a week or two in arrears. We do not expect this to be a problem, particularly for payroll, but will likely get more clarity when further guidance from the SBA is released this week. Until that guidance has been issued, we recommend that borrowers not use loan proceeds for Qualified Expenses other than payroll costs incurred for periods that ended before the beginning of the month in which the loan was disbursed to the borrower.
  • Mortgage Interest. The CARES Act defines any interest on indebtedness incurred in the ordinary course of business before February 15 that is a mortgage on real or personal property as a Qualified Expense. Principal payments or prepayments are excluded and therefore are not Qualified Expenses. CARES Act §§ 1106(a)(2) and (b)(2).
  • Rent Payments. The CARES Act defines any payments of rent under a leasing agreement in force before February 15, 2020, as a Qualified Expense. CARES Act § 1106(b)(3). The CARES Act does not disqualify rent paid to family members or an insider relationship among parties so long as the lease for the property was in force before February 15, 2020. There is no current SBA guidance on late payments of past-due rent or prepayments of future rent. The requirement that the lease was in force as of February 15, 2020, could create problems for borrowers that have renegotiated their leases since that date, as, for example, in getting rent abatement from the landlord due to the COVID-19 circumstances. Borrowers who have been approved for PPP loans should consider waiting until at least the expected SBA guidance comes out before entering into new lease arrangements. Businesses should maintain adequate records of rental payments.
  • Utilities. The CARES Act defines utilities as electricity, gas, water, transportation, telephone, or internet access for which service began before February 15, 2020, as expenses which qualify for loan forgiveness (CARES Act § 1106(b)(4)), but it uses only the word “utilities” without any definition when setting out the allowable uses of loan proceeds. CARES Act § 1102(a)(2)(F)(i)(VI). However, there is ambiguity arising from whether utilities were intended to cover transportation, telephone, and internet expenses because they are listed with utilities. It is our presumption that the intention is that these costs are permissible Qualified Expenses, but we believe it prudent to await further guidance from the SBA on this issue.
  • Reduction in Forgiveness. PPP loan forgiveness will be reduced (a) in proportion to the decrease in the average monthly full-time-equivalent employees (“FTEE”) during the Covered Period as compared to a reference period and (b) dollar for dollar for the amount of reduction in excess of 25% of the total salary and wages of any employee during the Covered Period as compared to a reference period. CARES Act §§ 1106(d)(2) and (d)(3).
    • Employee Reductions. The biggest driver of forgiveness of PPP loans is maintaining or restoring the borrower’s workforce to pre-pandemic levels. The PPP compares the average number of FTEEs that the borrower has each month during the Covered Period to the average number of monthly FTEEs the borrower employed during one of two base periods. The borrower may choose either (i) the period from February 15, 2019, to June 30, 2019, or (ii) the period from January 1, 2020, until February 29, 2020. As a practical matter, the borrower should calculate the number of FTEEs it had during both these periods and choose the period with the lower number of FTEEs. Because the PPP deals with FTEEs rather than specific individuals, whether people are hired or fired or replaced is irrelevant to the calculation. The easiest way to satisfy the 75/25 Rule is to bring the workforce back to base period levels as quickly as possible.
    • Rehiring Employees. The CARES Act has a limited exception to the forgiveness reduction that accompanies a reduction in the workforce from pre-pandemic base levels. To the extent that all or part of the reduction in FTEEs occurred between February 15, 2020, and April 26, 2020, and the borrower “eliminates the reduction in the number of” FTEEs by June 30, then the amount of loan forgiveness shall be determined without regard to the reduction in FTEEs that occurred between February 15, 2020, and April 26, 2020. This may end up being all or a substantial portion of the FTEE reduction, which would result in an increase in the forgiveness amount. Satisfying the 75/25 Rule, however, will require that a lot of the workforce be active during the eight week Covered Period. Even given this ability to “wipe away” certain FTEE reductions by June 30, 2020, so it is not a panacea. We expect that the SBA guidance due this week will address with more precision what it means to “eliminate” a reduction in FTEEs by June 30, 2020; however, we can be sure it is unlikely to mean that borrowers may rehire people on June 28, 2020, and lay them off again on July 2, 2020, for example.
    • Salary Reductions. Forgiveness is reduced by the amount of any reduction in total salary or wages of any employee (except employees who made more than $100,000 in 2019) during the Covered Period that is in excess of 25% of the total salary or wages of the employee during the most recent quarter that the employee was employed before the Covered Period. Unlike the total number of employees, which is based on FTEEs, this reduction looks at individual employees for whom the borrower has reduced pay. This section of the CARES Act makes it possible for businesses to reduce wages without having to report a salary reduction, but reducing salary wages would make it harder for businesses to meet the 75/25 Rule required for loan forgiveness. Salary reductions can also be eliminated by June 30, 2020, which then eliminates this reduction. Again, we expect more guidance on this issue this week.

Each borrower needs to weigh carefully its ongoing liquidity needs beyond the eight week Covered Period against the benefit of maximizing the loan forgiveness feature. It may often be prudent for a borrower to forgo loan forgiveness and preserve cash to fund its operations into the late summer and fall.

Mechanics. As soon as practical after the Covered Period, a borrower must submit to the lender that is servicing the PPP loan an application for loan forgiveness, which will include (a) documentation verifying the number of FTEEs on payroll and pay rates for the Covered Period and the applicable reference period, including (i) payroll tax filings reported to the IRS and (ii) state income, payroll, and unemployment insurance filings; (b) documentation, including canceled checks, payment receipts, transcripts of accounts, or other documents verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, payments on covered lease obligations, and covered utility payments; (c) a certification from the borrower that (i) the documentation presented is true and correct; and (ii) the amount for which forgiveness is requested was used to retain employees, make interest payments on a covered mortgage obligation, make payments on a covered rent obligation, or make covered utility payments; and (d) any other documentation the SBA determines necessary. The lender will have up to 60 days to issue a decision on the loan forgiveness application. We expect further guidance from the SBA on this process. CARES Act § 1106(e) and (g).

The COVID-19 pandemic requires adaptation to changing conditions. We at Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) are here for you and anyone in need in our community, and we wish each of you the best as we all work through the challenges that are presented.

 

NJ Governor Murphy Signs Law Permitting Remote Meetings for Nonprofits

On April 14, 2020, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill (S2342) to permit members of nonprofit corporations to participate in meetings by means of remote communication, and to further permit nonprofit corporations to hold members’ meetings in part or solely by means of remote communication during a state of emergency declared by the Governor, with immediate effect.  The bill passed both houses of the New Jersey State Legislature unanimously on April 13, 2020.

Prior to this, the New Jersey Nonprofit Corporation Act required meetings of members of nonprofit corporations to be held at a physical location, and there was no provision for members to participate by means of remote communication at all.  Under the new law, so long as the board of trustees authorizes and adopts guidelines and procedures governing such a meeting, a meeting of members may be held during a state of emergency solely by means of remote communication. Members participating in such a meeting shall be deemed present in person and entitled to vote at such meeting, regardless of whether the meeting is held at a designated place or solely by means of remote communication.  The nonprofit corporation is also required to implement reasonable measures in connection with any members’ meeting conducted in part or solely by means of remote communication to:

(i) verify that each person participating remotely is a member or proxy of a member,

(ii) provide each member participating remotely with a reasonable opportunity to participate in the meeting; and,

(iii) record and maintain a record of any member votes or other actions taken by remote communication at the meeting.  This bill is based on the amendments made to the New Jersey Business Corporation Act with respect to shareholders’ meetings.

The COVID-19 pandemic requires adaptation to changing conditions. We at Duane Morris Government Strategies (DMGS) are here for you and anyone in need in our community, and we wish each of you the best as we all work through the challenges that are presented.

NJEDA Program Offering $100,000 Working Capital Loans to Qualified New Jersey Small Businesses

On Monday, April 13, 2020, The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”) will launch its Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program (the “SBEAL Program”). Mindful that NJEDA launched its Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program, that was oversubscribed in a few days, it is anticipated that SBEAL will too be quickly oversubscribed.

This alert summarizes the eligibility requirements and other key terms of loans under the SBEAL Program.

SBEAL Program in a Nutshell

$10 million (initial wave) program to provide no-to-low-interest capital loans to businesses with less than $5 million in revenue.

Eligibility – General
• $5 million or less in annual revenue
• physical commercial location in New Jersey
• minimum one year in existence
• must be registered to do business in New Jersey and be in tax good standing
• minimum global debt service coverage ratio of 1.0 based on the year prior to the declaration of emergency
• Department of Labor good standing
• minimum credit score of 600 for at least one guarantor
• proof of negative impact of emergency (e.g., closure, reduced hours, 20% revenue drop, etc.) on or after March 9, 2020

Cap; Term; Interest Rate
• up to $100,000
• 10-year term and amortization
• 12 months for deferred repayment
• 0% interest for years 1-5; 1-3% for years 6-10 The loan application can be accessed here.

Supporting Information and Documents
Business owners and potential borrowers are required to complete and submit their application online via the NJEDA portal. Business owners are requested to provide certain information and upload various supporting documents. We recommend that potentially eligible borrowers conduct their own due diligence in advance to obtain the necessary information and assemble relevant supporting documentation to include with their electronic submission. Supporting documentation includes

• employer identification number (EIN) and the organization’s industry NAICS code
• formation documents (certificates of incorporation, certificates of formation, bylaws, operating agreements, etc.)
• tax returns for three consecutive years (or for as many years as appropriate for entities in business less than three years)
• financial documentation, including income statement, balance sheet and statement of cash flows
• name of any individual owning 10% or more of the business and such owner’s personal tax returns for three consecutive years (or for as many years as appropriate for entities in business less than three years)
• schedule of debts (for NJEDA to determine cash flow to service the proposed debt) and a list of real estate collateral (the lack of which is no reason for rejection)
• documentation for funding of payroll expenses, if identified: payroll reports/ledger
• documentation for funding of rent expenses, if identified: current lease
• documentation for funding of mortgage expenses, if identified: most recent statement/bill
• documentation for funding of utilities expenses, if identified: most recent bill
• documentation for funding of tax expenses, if identified: most recent municipal
statement/bill
• documentation for funding of inventory expenses, if identified: invoices

 

Application Window and Website
• NJEDA portal: http://cv.business.nj.gov

What new State financial support programs is my business eligible for? How do I use the Eligibility Wizard?

Tomorrow, March 30, a package of new initiatives from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority including a grant program for small businesses, a zero-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 will kickoff.

Together, they will provide more than $75 million of State and private financial support, with the opportunity to grow to more than $100 million if additional philanthropic, State, and federal resources become available. The initiatives will support between 3,000 and 5,000 small and midsize enterprises and are meant to complement recently announced federal economic recovery initiatives.

Applications are anticipated to be opened during the week of March 30th. To see which of these programs you are eligible for, use the NJ COVID-19 Business Support Eligibility Wizard.

Please click on each program below for more information, including full eligibility criteria.

Small Business Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $5 million program that will provide grants up to $5,000 to small businesses in retail, arts, entertainment, recreation, accommodation, food service, and other services – such as repair, maintenance, personal, and laundry services – to stabilize their operations and reduce the need for layoffs or furloughs.

Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program – A $10 million program that will provide working capital loans of up to $100,000 to businesses with less than $5 million in revenues. Loans made through the program will have ten-year terms with zero percent for the first five years, then resetting to the EDA’s prevailing floor rate (capped at 3.00%) for the remaining five years.

Community Development Finance Institution (CDFI) Emergency Loan Loss Reserve Fund – A $10 million capital reserve fund to take a first loss position on CDFI loans that provide low interest working capital to micro businesses. This will allow CDFIs to withstand loan defaults due to the outbreak, which will allow them to provide more loans at lower interest rates to microbusinesses affected by the outbreak.

CDFI Emergency Assistance Grant Program – A $1.25 million program that will provide grants of up to $250,000 to CDFIs to scale operations or reduce interest rates for the duration of the outbreak.

NJ Entrepreneur Support Program – A $5 million program that will encourage continued capital flows to new companies, often in the innovation economy, and temporarily support a shaky market by providing 80 percent loan guarantees for working capital loans to entrepreneurs.

Small Business Emergency Assistance Guarantee Program – A $10 million program that will provide 50 percent guarantees on working capital loans and waive fees on loans made through institutions participating in the NJEDA’s existing Premier Lender or Premier CDFI programs.

Emergency Technical Assistance Program – A $150,000 program that will support technical assistance to New Jersey-based companies applying for State and US Small Business Administration programs. The organizations contracted will be paid based on SBA application submissions supported by the technical assistance they provide.

How does Executive Order No.108 on closures and social distancing affect your New Jersey business?

The governor of New Jersey on Saturday issued a stay-at-home order for nearly all of the state’s 9 million residents in the fight against the spread of the coronavirus.

And yet there is still confusion as to the Executive Order’s scope.

What the executive order does:

Prohibits certain activities where people traditionally gather together such as: Parties, celebrations, or social events;

Closes certain “Brick-and-mortar” premises of all non-essential retail businesses.

Non-retail businesses:

Non-retail businesses appear to have latitude to continue operating if telework is not feasible.  The Order recognizes that certain businesses and non-profit institutions will need to have employees at the work site in order to maintain essential business operations. There are examples given that are not exhaustive but illustrative, among them, “information technology maintenance workers.”

But all businesses, both retail and non-retail, must use “best efforts” to reduce staff.

All businesses, “must accommodate their workforce, wherever practicable” for telework and work-from-home, and use “best efforts” to reduce staff to the minimal necessary to ensure essential operations continue.

Travel Letter:

The Order does allow people to travel to and from their places of business and recommends that employers provide “a letter indicating that the employee works in an industry permitted to continue operations.”

Although the Order doesn’t directly reference federal  government guidelines recently issued by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) with respect to critical infrastructure industries, it appears to be safe to conclude that those businesses that fall within those categories are permitted to continue operating if telework is not feasible.

State Director of Emergency Management:

If you are a retail business or operation  and believe that by your “uniqueness ” you should be included as “essential,” you may submit it to the State Director of Emergency Management, who is the Superintendent of State Police. The Director has the discretion to make additions, amendments, clarifications, exceptions, and exclusions to these lists.