The challenges facing New Jersey businesses and organizations as they reopen their storefronts, offices and other facilities can seem daunting, but there are a variety of state and federal resources available to help.
The CDC offers a general-purpose toolkit for resuming your business, including checklists, worker protection tools, and infographics. This toolkit may be used by all business types.
Assessing the issues your business is facing is an important first step. Those issues and concerns may include:
- Health – Addressing and improving mental health issues related to the coronavirus and its impact is important. The New Jersey Mental Health Cares Helpline is available to support New Jerseyans coping with stress, anxiety and depression due to COVID-19. Those in need can text NJHOPE to 51684 or speak with a behavioral care specialist at 866-202-HELP (4357) daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
- Employment Practices – The workplace has changed and businesses must now develop new protocols and standards for remote working, staggered shifts, data security from a home-based office and other topics. Contact NJBAC at 1-800-JERSEY-7 for assistance in determining how to reinvent and reimagine your businesses’ operations.
- Financial Planning – As businesses reopen, it is not clear how quickly customers will return. Further, reduced capacity will limit the number of customers present at any time. Cash flow projections with different scenarios will help businesses anticipate and plan for the future demand. Contact your local SBDC office for counseling on financial issues.
- Communications and Marketing – Your customers need to know how your business operations have changed. After reopening, and while adjusting to life post-COVID-19, stay current on the most efficient and effective ways to reach your customers and vendors, particularly using electronic means including social media. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce regularly posts updates on best marketing practices.
- Customer Interactions – Selling goods and services has changed. Facilitating transactions with customers through contactless payments, online orders, delivery, pickup, and other methods will assist everyone during this period.
Once you know which issues you are facing, make use of the many free or low-cost resources provided by the state and federal government and its non-profit partners.
- NJ Business Action Center – The state agency, whose experts are available via the live chat on this site and at 1-800-JERSEY-7, is focused on helping businesses get answers to the questions they face each day. The NJBAC team works one-on-one with businesses, coordinating meetings with state, local and federal agencies, finding financial resources and guiding businesses looking to expand or relocate their operations.
- New Jersey Small Business Development Centers – The (NJSBDC) network provides assistance to small and medium businesses around the state.
- SCORE – SCORE’s network of volunteer business mentors helps small businesses get off the ground, grow, and achieve their goals.
- New Jersey State Library - The Reference Staff of the State's library provides access to knowledge for civic organizations and businesses.
- Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - The federal agency oversees measures for protecting workers from SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).
- Center for Disease Control (CDC) - The federal agency offers continually updated guidance for Businesses and Workplaces including resources for Deciding to Open, Ongoing Mitigation Strategy, Prevention and Support.
Businesses facing reopening issues are not alone and the resources below offer ways to understand common concerns and find common solutions for the wider business community.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's return-to-work playbook for employers is a useful and easy-to-follow guide.
- New Jersey's PPE Supplier Registry connects suppliers of personal protective equipment with potential buyers. (Notice from the state: Parties are strongly advised to exercise due diligence when selecting vendors and are responsible for ensuring the quality and regulatory compliance of all goods/services purchased).
- The United States Small Business Administration is home to a number of financial assistance programs. The agency’s guide can help business owners find the latest on loans and grants including the Paycheck Protection Program loan.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's guide to applying for loan forgiveness under the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's video on applying for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.
- The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses.