Here to Help

Resources for businesses and residents amidst the pandemic.

by Russell Swanson, Exec. Dir., VDID, Main Street Vineland

With the seriousness of the coronavirus situation, “hunkering down” has become the current catch-phrase. The current situation is certainly taking a toll and causing disruptions in many sectors of our society and in aspects of our lifestyles. Some people are quarantined, various events—meetings, religious services, concerts, theatrical shows and movies, and more—have been postponed or cancelled, businesses are closed or operating on a limited basis, many downtowns that were meccas of hustle and bustle are now open spaces.

Having said all of that, however, I can offer some good thoughts that can bring our downtown, and the rest of us, through this. This, after all, will eventually pass and we can rebuild and come back stronger.

• We can all help each other. Hardships like this can often bring out the best in us. We can each use this opportunity to help others who are shut in or otherwise in need.

• We can help our downtown businesses. Even though limitations have been put in place regarding many businesses—especially those dealing in non-essential goods or services—we can still do something very positive. Feel free to help your favorite small business or restaurant by purchasing a gift card for future use. Call ahead and see if they are open and can accommodate you in this regard. Remember, also, that restaurants can still serve you through pick-up and delivery. With other businesses, gift cards still represent money in their registers and mean future business when times are better.

• For small businesses severely impacted by the situation, the United States Small Business Administration (SBA) is stepping in to provide targeted low-interest disaster assistance loans. This also includes private, non-profit organizations. This will be done once the request is received from a state or territory’s governor. Once this is done, the SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance. For more information on that, contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

• The following are additional websites that can be of help:

For general, reliable information:

—Center for Disease Control: cdc.gov/coronavirus

—State of New Jersey: nj.gov/health

—World Health Organization: who.int

For business concerns during this emergency, the NJ Business Action Center has established a website devoted to this situation: faq.business.nj.gov/en/collections/2198378-information-for-nj-businesses-on-the-coronavirus-outbreak

In addition, their helpline is now open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., seven days a week. Call them at 1-800-JERSEY-7.

The situation remains fluid and we, in Main Street Vineland, will do everything we can to see our people and businesses through this so that The Ave will continue to be the best it can be.

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On The Ave