Home COVID-19 Resources for Local Businesses Affected By COVID-19 Closures + How You Can Help

Resources for Local Businesses Affected By COVID-19 Closures + How You Can Help

by Steph
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With the coronavirus pandemic continuing to spread, more and more businesses are being forced to shut down. As a result, local businesses and their employees are really taking a hit, both financially and mentally. However, Hoboken and Jersey City are resilient, and with the help of the community, various charities, organizations, and donations are being set up to help support local businesses.

If you’re interested in supporting your favorite local businesses but aren’t sure how, donating is certainly a great place to start. Alternatively, if you’re looking for more ways to show support for small businesses or if you’re a small business looking for resources, keep reading!

To do our part to help small business owners, we are doing Instagram stories shoutouts for free. We will post a minimum of ten businesses daily. Need a shout? Click here to fill out the form.

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What the City of Hoboken is Doing to Support Small Businesses

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To keep you up to speed, here is how the City of Hoboken is helping its local businesses that have shut down. With a self-isolation curfew that requires people to be indoors by 8:00PM and the mandated closures {as of 9:00AM on March 18th} of all clothing and retail stores, book stores, nail salons, hair salons, barbershops, massage parlors, smoke shops, shoe repair shops, and any other places of retail and public accommodation, Hoboken is still trying to look out for its small business owners.

Any business dubbed an “essential business” is permitted to stay open until 8:00PM, according to the Office of Emergency Management. Essential businesses include emergency medical care, restaurants, and food establishments {for takeout or delivery only}, supermarkets, grocery stores, bodegas, banks, pharmacies, coffee shops, veterinarians, pet stores, laundromats, dry cleaners, liquor stores, chiropractor offices, physical therapists, dentists, and other medical care facilities, post offices, and moving companies.

Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla also wrote a letter to Senator Menendez, Senator Booker, and Representative Sires, asking for federal assistance for Hoboken’s small businesses.

In a letter to all three federal representatives, Bhalla wrote, “While I believe this decision [to close businesses and self-isolate] will save lives, I also know that our small businesses and their employees are suffering. Business owners fear that an extended closure will make it difficult if not impossible to remain in business. Their employees many without benefits don’t have the option of working from home, and they are fearful. We need the help and resources of the federal government now more than ever.”

Of the letter, Bhalla said, “[Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Sires] are strong advocates for New Jersey, and I know they’ll do everything possible to provide relief through a third legislative package.”

What Other Political Figures are Doing to Support Small Businesses

Local and county Democratic and Republican chairs also signed a joint letter earlier this week, expressing their bi-partisan support of Bhalla’s plea for federal resources on behalf of small businesses.

“We write today to express our support for Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla’s letter urging assistance for our local small businesses and their employees during this unprecedented time,” the letter to Senator Booker, Senator Menendez, and Congressman Sires reads. “Hoboken is a small town with a vibrant and diverse small business community. From restaurants and bars, retail stores, health, and wellness facilities, our small business community is a mainstay of our Mile Square.”

The letter continues, “The COVID-19 pandemic presented our community with unprecedented challenges and our Mayor took proactive measures to protect the residents’ health and well-being. We support these efforts with a recognition of the significant toll this will take on our local small businesses and their employees. At every level, from owners to employees, this could be devastating.”

Read More: 9 Ways You Can Support Local Businesses

The letter is signed by Rachel Hodes, Chair of the Hoboken Democratic Party, Holly Lucyk, Chair of the Hoboken GOP, Jose Arango, Chair of Hudson County Republican Committee, and Amy DeGise, Chair of the Hudson County Democratic Organization, showing its bi-partisan support.

Resources for Local Businesses

local businesses resources

Of course, businesses also need help right now — like this very minute. If you own a local business that has been impacted by what’s going on, here are some resources to tap into:

Contact FEMA

FEMA is the Federal Emergency Management Agency and offers nationwide emergency assistance to businesses. Under the declaration of a national emergency, federal support to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is increased.

In a statement on its website, FEMA says, “As a result of the President’s… action, FEMA is directed to assist state, local, tribal, territorial governments and other eligible entities with the health and safety actions they take on behalf of the American public. Today’s declaration does not make direct financial assistance available to individuals.”

The FEMA agency provides necessary resources, deploys personnel, and coordinates between other agencies. Right now, FEMA is deploying employees nationwide to assist in the set up of Coronavirus testing centers.

Apply for Unemployment

If you are unable to work during the coronavirus shutdown, you can apply for unemployment through your state’s unemployment website. However, NJ’s Divison of Unemployment Insurance is seeing a massive uptick in applications, and it’s not the only state. {Other state unemployment websites have crashed from an unprecedented amount of users since self-isolation went into place this past week.} According to the website, all one-stop locations are currently closed as of March 18th; if you had a pre-existing appointment, you will be contacted by an agency member to reschedule your in-person appointment.

That being said, if you are no longer be paid by your employer, you are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits. To find out what you qualify for, visit NJDOL Benefits and the Coronavirus {COVID-19}.

Apply for Aid

If you own a business in New Jersey, you are likely eligible to apply for federal aid. To read more about what your business qualifies for, visit the State of New Jersey Business Portal.

Use Square to Enable Gift Cards

Square.com is an amazing resource right now, as so many small businesses have been forced to close. Square lets you set up free digital gift cards so that patrons can shop and gift your business at any time. Even during a brick-and-mortar shutdown.

Additionally, for any business owner or employee in need of information on relief packages or benefits for individuals that the State can offer, please go here.

How You Can Help Local Businesses:

There are a few ways you can help out local, small businesses during these mass shut-downs as well. Donations always help, of course, but if you want to show your support in another way, there are options for you, too.

Order from Your Favorite Local Spot

For restaurants and eateries that are still offering takeout or delivery options, order, order, order! Ordering delivery or picking up takeout is a meaningful way to pump money back into the local economy.

See More Feeling Lonely? 7 Ways to Prioritize Human Connection During Social Distancing

Buying Gift Cards

Buy gift cards also helps keep local businesses afloat. You’re spending money now and giving them the promise that you’ll come to their business later. In fact, purchasing business cards {and gifting them to others!} is one of the best things you can do to help a small business.

Shop Online

If the company you want to support still has a functioning online store, ordering online can really help boost their sales.


Tipping is more important than ever. If you purchase takeout or delivery, provide a good tip for the service given to you.

Sign the Petition Tax Relief for NJ Restaurants + Small Businesses from Shut Down During COVID-19

In order to help, sign the petition that is urging the government to provide tax relief for NJ restaurants and small businesses that have been forced to shut down due to COVID-19. Sign it here.

Where to Donate

local businesses donations hoboken jersey city

If you prefer to show your support by donating money to local charities, organizations, or donation pages that are being set up, check out a few local ones below {and if you have more to share, email them to us at hello@hobokengirl.com!}.

Donate to Local Law Enforcement and Small businesses

In a GoFundMe fundraiser set up by Emma Smith, a goal of raising $5,000 would go towards the men and women on the frontlines who cannot work from home. According to the description, some of the money will also be used to give local restauranteurs business.

Donate to Bin 14 Tipped Workers

Bin 14 Wine Bar and Trattoria employs many workers who live mainly off of tips. Because their doors are closed, these workers aren’t getting many tips. To donate to their tipped workers’ relief fund, visit the GoFundMe page. So far, they’ve raised more than $5,000.

Donate to Grand Vin Tipped Employees

Grand Vin is also seeking monetary donations for its tipped workers who are struggling financially due to restaurant closures. To donate to their tipped employees’ relief fund, visit the GoFundMe page. Nearly $2,000 has been raised so far.

Donate to Margherita’s Tipped Employees

Margherita’s Restaurant is also looking to support their tipped employees by asking for generous donations. To donate to their tipped employees’ relief fund, visit the GoFundMe page.

Donate to Bark Buildings

For every $2 donated to Bark Buildings, Bark will assemble a sandwich for the Hoboken homeless shelter. Donations cover supplies and any remaining funds are donated to the part-time staff at Bark. To donate to Bark Buildings, visit the GoFundMe page. More than $5K has already been raised.

Donate to White Star Brunswick tipped employees

White Star Brunswick is also trying to support their tipped employees by asking for donations during the Jersey City restaurant closures. To donate to their tipped employees’ relief fund, visit the GoFundMe page. More than $2,000 has been raised so far.

Donate to Jersey City 

A GoFundMe page entitled “Jersey City Strong” has been set up by Team GREYLAYERS in order to provide relief to employees who aren’t able to work at this time. Nearly $2K has been raised so far.

Donate to Corkscrew Bar

Corkscrew Bar, located in Jersey City, is asking for donations for their employees. To donate to Corkscrew, visit the GoFundMe page. More than $2K has been raised so far.

Donate to Local Law Enforcement and Medical Workers

Hoboken-based business Alfalfa has started a GoFundMe page for the city’s most dedicated workers. With a goal of $1,200 for 100 salads, Alfalfa hopes to raise money to donate to the Hoboken Police Department, Hoboken Fire Department, and Hoboken University Medical Center.

Donate to the Hoboken Shelter

The Hoboken Shelter is currently accepting monetary donations in the forms of mailed-in checks. They also have an Amazon Wishlist of items they need. You simply buy the item on Amazon and ship it directly there. The list includes everything from food to clothes, from supplies like cups and napkins to toiletries.

Donate to Local Non-Profits

Non-profit charities like AngelaCARES also need help. You can donate online via PayPal or Amazon. Check out this full list of local non-profits.

Donate to the Sorellina Employee Relief Fund

Support local restaurant Sorellina’s employees and donate to their relief fund here.

Donate to the 10th + Willow Go Fund Me

Help the 10th + Willow’s non-salaried employees during this time and donate to their Go Fund Me here.

Donate to the Tutta Pesca Tipped Employee Relief

Help out the employees of Tutta Pesca by donating to their Go Fund Me here.

Donate to the Smith Relief Fund

Help the employees at Porta, Brickwall, Pascal + Sabine, and Little Buddy Hideaway by donating to the Smith Employee relief fund here.

These are just a few small ways you can help your local businesses out. Now more than ever it’s important for us all to come together as a single community. And remember — every penny counts.

Know of a  way to support a local business? Tell us in the comments and email us at hello@hobokengirl.com!


Did you know: We started a podcast about all things news and lifestyle in Hoboken + Jersey City! Listen to the latest episode of Tea on the Hudson here and subscribe.

We release new episodes every Tuesday!

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