May 22, 2020 - COVID-19 Update

 5/22/2020 11:48 AM

Memorial Day Weekend forecast calls for social distancing. State Unemployment rate hits 15.3%, the highest on record. Voluntary furloughs for public workers are an alternative to layoffs.

A Memorial Day Weekend Guide to the Jersey Shore - What restrictions are in place at the Jersey Shore? It's different in every town. Here’s a guide so you know before you go. (nj.com) 
 
The Forecast Calls for Social Distancing - Shore town mayors predict Memorial Day crowds will maintain social distancing. Local officials pledge to keep people safe as towns seek to rebound from two months of restrictions. (NJ Spotlight) 
 
State Unemployment Rate Hits Record High - New Jersey unemployment rate soared to 15.3% in April as the pandemic slammed the labor market. It is the state’s highest unemployment rate since record keeping began in 1976, the state labor commissioner said, and exceeded the national rate, which hit 14.7% in April. (nj.com) 
 
Voluntary Furloughs of Public Employees Are an Option - The Murphy administration announced policy changes that would allow New Jersey government workers to take voluntary furloughs to avert layoffs as state tax collections plummet. The governor, whose administration has lowered its revenue projections over this year and next by $10 billion, has warned of “historic” layoffs of public workers at all levels of government if the state does not borrow big sums or receive more aid from the federal government. (nj.com) 
 
Legislation in Trenton - See our roundup of coronavirus-related legislation advancing in Trenton, and where the N.J. Chamber of Commerce’s lobbying department stands on them. 
 
New State Grants for Small Businesses - The New Jersey Economic Development Authority’s new $50 million small business grant program will provide grants of up to $10,000 to qualified businesses, and set aside $15 million of the grants for firms located in Opportunity Zones. More details are expected later today. (ROI-NJ) 
 
Are Farms New Jersey's Next Hot Spot? - Two South Jersey seasonal farm workers died after contracting COVID-19, the state Health Department confirmed Thursday night. In the coming weeks, the migrant population will increase dramatically when workers start arriving to pick blueberries, predominantly in Atlantic County. (NJ Spotlight)
 
The State Issues Guidelines for Farm Workers – Guidelines for working, housing and transportation for thousands of New Jersey’s seasonal farm workers were issued by the state Thursday to minimize the spread of COVID-19. 
 
VA Medics Expanding Their Mission - Medics from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs will remain at state veterans homes through June, and 40 additional clinical staff from the VA will be deployed to private nursing homes, as the novel coronavirus has claimed the lives of thousands of elderly New Jerseyans, Gov. Murphy announced Thursday. (nj.com) 
 
Tell the State What You Think - The state is requesting your input to better understand how to help businesses get back to work safely and productively. By filling out this online survey about your operations, you will help guide the state’s reopening strategy and upcoming business assistance opportunities. 
 
Get Counted – New Jersey residents can respond to the 2020 Census to ensure the state gets its fair share of federal funding. The Census provides valuable data for businesses, including population trends, growth projections and demographic information. Spread the word! Respond to the Census.
 
N.J. Coronavirus Cases - New Jersey Residents
 
Total Deaths Reported: 10,843, up from 10,747 yesterday.
Total Positive COVID-19 Tests Reported: 151,472, up from 150,399 yesterday.
For data on hospitalizations and discharges, click here.
 
* Resources from NJ Chamber of Commerce