New Jersey Responds to Small Business Interruption
The following is a summary of the New Jersey AGD's (NJAGD) efforts to advocate for general dentists and small businesses being effected by COVID-19 in their state. This information was originally posted on the AGD Connect Coronavirus community. See below for information about joining those discussions.
On March 16, Assemblyman Roy Freiman, alongside others, introduced two pieces of legislation to assist small businesses during the current pandemic and other times of emergency.
- S2284/A3845 was signed by the Governor on Friday, March 20, and gives the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) the power to distribute grants during a declared State of Emergency by the Governor, specifically for small and medium-size businesses and not-for-profit entities who are experiencing economic disruption due to the emergency. The legislation states that grants may be used for working capital, meeting payroll requirements and other conditions deemed reasonable by the authority.
After being introduced on March 16, the bill passed unanimously through both houses within three days following introduction and was enacted as P.L.2020, c.8. The EDA will hold an emergency rulemaking session on Thursday, March 26 to begin establishing guidelines for issuing these grants.
Though the bill moved quickly through the legislative process, it was important our NJAGD members have the opportunity to thank their state legislators for working diligently to advance this legislation and support small business owners through these efforts. The NJAGD will also be sending a “Thank You” letter to Governor Phil Murphy for his support and signing this bill into law.
- A3844 relates to business interruption insurance coverage during COVID-19. As you may know, commercial insurance policies cover most emergencies resulting in damage to property, loss of occupancy, business interruption, etc., but exclude coverage if the damages are the result of a global virus transmission or pandemic. This legislation requires any such policy to include coverage for business interruption due to global virus transmission or pandemics as of March 9, 2020 – the date New Jersey declared a State of Emergency by the Governor’s Executive Order. A3844 targets small businesses, or those with less than 100 employees who work 25 hours or more per week.
Some insurers are exploring ways to offer such coverage to policy holders though it may not be part of their contract. If insurers take matters into their own hands and assist those in need, it is unknown if this bill will advance. It is still important for members of the NJAGD to thank the legislators for their intent to protect those who may be experiencing or foresee a loss in their business, and urge them to continue such efforts.
NJAGD members have sent out over 1,500 messages to NJ state legislators since the alert went live on Friday, March 20. Members have been using our action alert to include effective personal stories, as well as taking the initiative to call their state representatives. These efforts have drawn attention to the issue by the NJ State Legislature, including that of prominent legislators and bill sponsors. Some have even reached out to leaders of the NJAGD to understand more on how the dental community specifically is being affected during this time.
The work being done by NJAGD members is overwhelming, and its results are a prime example of what we can do when we come together. We encourage you to analyze what is happening in your state and use this as a model. If you feel an action alert could be effective to make sure your legislators keep small businesses in mind or consider such legislation, please work with your constituent leadership and reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you to all in NJ who have taken action. You may view the alert here: https://votervoice.net/AGD/Campaigns/72732/Respond
AGD has created online communities so that you can share information and connect with other members. We have created a new one devoted to allowing members to share specifically about their experiences and suggestions to others in the AGD family about COVAD-19. To sign up for these communities, please email AGDConnect@agd.org.