COURT HOUSE -- Middle Township is taking a proactive step to help small businesses find a path back from the COVID-19 outbreak that abruptly halted many operations and severely restricted others.
The Middle Township Small Business Recovery Task Force has been formed to coordinate resources for businesses that are the backbone of the community. The township is offering the assistance as many local businesses deal with prolonged closures.
“While our immediate focus must be on stemming the spread of the virus, this forward-thinking public-private partnership to prepare our businesses to reopen is critical,” stated Economic Development Council Chairman Brian Murphy. “By creating a central pool of information for our business owners and holding regular, online information sessions, we save folks time, money and aggravation.”
The township’s Economic Development Council and Economic Development/Grants Office will work with the Middle Township Chamber of Commerce to help local businesses through the task force.
“The Middle Township Chamber is eager to join with the Township is this important initiative,” Chamber of Commerce President Bob Noel stated. “When the appropriate time comes to reopen the vast majority of our businesses, we want them to be as healthy as possible and ready to hit the ground running.”
The group will establish an online clearinghouse for grants, loans and all information relevant to small business owners. Businesses will be asked to register with the task force so they can receive updates.
Participating businesses will be invited to weekly Q-and-A sessions with business experts held through Zoom.
Local business owners are welcoming Middle Township’s comprehensive strategy.
“The Small Business Recovery Task Force is a smart and proactive step by the Township,” Bellevue Tavern owner Dennis Roberts stated. “It will be a great help to have all the various loan and grant information on a website specific to Middle Township. The planned online question-and-answer sessions could save us a lot of time and frustration in finding the answers we need as soon as possible.”
Gov. Phil Murphy ordered non-essential businesses to close on March 21 as part of a sweeping effort to contain the spread of COVID-19; no date has been announced to lift the closures.
The state’s Economic Development Authority created a Small Business Emergency Assistance Loan Program, but $10 million in low-cost financing was quickly exhausted, pointing to the business community’s deep need.
“Both the Chamber and our Economic Development Council were eager to join this important effort to aid our local business owners,” Mayor Tim Donohue stated. “The Township is committed to ensuring that our small businesses have access to every available resource, and that they have a clear road map to navigating both state and federal programs designed to see our small businesses through this crisis.”