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NJBIA President and CEO Michele N. Siekerka, Esq. and New Jersey Restaurant & Hospitality Association President and CEO Marilou Halvorsen released the following statement regarding Governor Murphy’s veto of A-3959/S-2371, establishing the NJ Hospitality Emergency Loan Program in EDA to provide no-interest loans to qualified small hospitality businesses.

“On the same day the Governor hit the pause button for indoor dining for New Jersey restaurants, he also vetoed a critical bill that could have brought relief to those directly affected by the pause.

“Had the Governor signed this legislation into law, small hospitality business assistance would have been available through $100 million in CARES Act funding, appropriated to NJEDA. These funds would have helped those businesses that were forced to close or scale back their operations over the past four months.

“This relief could have gone toward providing capital to help adhere to safe reopening guidelines, another added cost upon reopening for those already operating on the slimmest of margins. The funds could have also gone toward the money restaurant owners personally laid out for food and supplies to reopen indoor dining this weekend, which now is a lost investment due to the pause on indoor dining.

“In his veto, the Governor stated this program would be duplicative of existing efforts by the grant programs by NJEDA. However, as is now well known, those programs are significantly oversubscribed.

“If the Governor would have taken the route of a conditional veto instead, some of his concerns could have been addressed, while at the same time bringing much needed financial relief to our beleaguered hospitality industry.”