Reopening Our Businesses

Business Reopening Resources

The Princeton Mercer Regional Chamber and Convention & Visitors Bureau are actively monitoring developments surrounding the coronavirus and reopening the State. 

The links below offer the most up to date information will keep you apprised of any significant new developments.


Outdoor Gatherings Allowed Up To 250 People;

Indoor Gatherings at 25% Capacity, Up To 100 People


Today, Gov. Murphy announced a further relaxation of COVID restrictions:

👥Outdoor gatherings may now increase from 100 to 250 persons maximum – with no limit for outdoor religious or political activities

👥Indoor gatherings are now limited to 25% of capacity – but cannot exceed 100 persons.

🍽️Indoor dining may resume on Thursday, July 2nd– limited at first to 25% capacity

Additional health and safety guidance will be released within the next several days.

6.18. 20 –Shopping Malls Opening Soon– Today in his press conference held in Trenton, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced that after weeks of discussion with mall operators, his administration will today sign an executive order to open malls across the state on June 29. In accordance with the order, face coverings are required by customers inside of New Jersey malls; all stores inside of malls are limited to 50% capacity and restaurants located in or on mall grounds may provide take-out or outdoor dining. Mall theaters, arcades and food courts’ communal areas will remain closed. Please read more about the executive order when it is made public, here.

New Details on PPP Loans Forgiveness – Congress and the U.S. Treasury have changed the terms for loan forgiveness under the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). See this guide for the latest info. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) 

New Federal Loan Program Is Coming – The federal government’s soon-to-open Main Street Lending Program will provide a total of $600 billion in financing for small and medium-sized businesses. See this guide for the latest info. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce) 


6.9.20– Today in his press conference held in Trenton, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy asked for those in attendance to observe a moment of silence, before proceeding, to honor the life of George Floyd, whose funeral was taking place in Houston at the same time of the governor’s press briefing.  

Murphy today announced that the “Stay-at-Home” order that has been in place since March 21 is now lifted. Additionally, effective immediately, indoor gatherings (excluding indoor dining and indoor theaters) will be permitted at whichever number is lower: 25% of a building’s capacity or 50 people total. Indoor gatherings require the use of face coverings and social distancing measures, according to the governor’s orders. 

The governor also announced that effective immediately, the limit on outdoor gatherings is raised from 25 to 100 people. The Murphy administration anticipates increasing limits on outdoor gathering to the following: 250 people on June 22 and 500 people on July 3. This will allow for graduations to take place across the state on July 6, as previously reported. 

Additionally, Murphy today announced that all outdoor recreational and entertainment businesses to reopen except for the following: amusement parks, water parks, children’s playgrounds and arcades. This order also does not include the opening of sports stadiums, according to the governor.  

The Murphy administration today announced the following specific guidance on the opening of outdoor pools across the state on June 22: pools must reduce capacity to 50% minimum. Staff and patrons must socially distance from one another while in the pool and when not in the pool. Face coverings should be used when not in the water. 

Guidance on the lifting of the state’s COVID-19 limits can be found in the governor’s signed executive orders, when made public, here. 

The New Jersey Economic Development Authority (EDA) has begun accepting applications for an additional $45 million in small business grants, reported the governor today, which is made possible through The CARES Act. The EDA is also expanding its micro-business loan program to provide loans up to $50,000 to small businesses. Both of these programs are critical in New Jersey’s Stage II recovery planning, said Murphy. 

Please read more about the current Stage II openings and guidance from the Murphy administration, here. 

To learn more about the administration’s multistage approach to restarting New Jersey’s economy, please read more, here. The Murphy administration anticipates upcoming guidance to be made available soon on casinos and indoor dining. 



In the coming weeks, New Jersey will begin “Stage 2” of its COVID-19 recovery plan including the reopening of outdoor dining, nonessential retail stores, barbershops and salons, and fitness and health clubs, all with restrictions such as capacity limits, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today.

“This is very positive news for our residents and for our local businesses,” Mercer County Executive Brian M. Hughes said. “But again, this step forward was made possible by people’s commitment to acting responsibly by adhering to social distancing guidelines, wearing a face covering and practicing good hand hygiene. That has to continue so we don’t take two steps back.”

The timeline for Stage 2’s first step is as follows:
• Outdoor dining, June 15
• Nonessential retail stores, June 15
• Personal care services such as barbershops and hair salons, June 22
• Fitness and health clubs, date to be determined 
Later this week, the New Jersey Department of Health will announce the guidelines that these businesses will need to follow in order to reopen safely, Gov. Murphy said.

The governor unveiled his multi-stage reopening plan for New Jersey two weeks ago. Last Friday, he announced the resumption of child daycare services June 15; outdoor, non-contact organized sports  June 22; and youth day camps July 6, all with restrictions.

Stage 1 permitted curbside retail, nonessential construction and the reopening of county and state parks for passive recreation, along with beaches. On May 22, Gov. Murphy announced he was increasing the limit on outdoor gatherings from 10 to 25 people, although indoor gatherings remain limited to 10 people.

View Full Press Release

Resources by County:

The Road to Recovery – New Jersey is close to Stage 2 of the recovery plan, Gov. Phil Murphy said. It could include expanding openings of retail, allowing restaurants to open outdoor seating, permitting personal care businesses like hair salons to operate on a limited basis and maybe indoor dining, museums and libraries. The governor said he will make an “important announcement” during his 2:30 p.m. briefing. (ROI-NJ) 

New Rules for Eating OutNew Jersey’s outdoor dining rules have been released: No more than eight people to a table. Plastic shields between you and the bartender. Servers bring food on a cart. Guests wait in the car for a table to open. Entry into the physical establishment is not allowed, except to access outdoor dining areas or a restroom. (NJBIZ) 

Restaurants Can Get Creative – Local authorities can decide whether eateries and bars that don’t already have outdoor space can “get creative“and use parking lots, sidewalks, streets, and other areas for seating. The state will allow any establishment with a liquor license to apply for a one-time, special permit to serve alcohol outside. ( 

The Details on Dining – The rules for restaurants are contained in this executive directive from the state Department of Health. 

Act Fast on Grants for Small Businesses – The NJEDA will begin accepting applications for its new grant program on June 9 – on a first-come, first-served basis. The $45 million program will provide grants up to $10,000 to small businesses impacted by the pandemic. For more details and a sample application, click here.

A Return-to-Work Playbook for Employers – Here you can find sector-specific guidance, small business advice, and other resources to help employers and employees return to work safely and successfully. (U.S. Chamber of Commerce)

The U.S. Senate passed the House version of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) legislation, tripling the time allotted for small businesses and other PPP loan recipients to spend the funds and still qualify for forgiveness of the loans. The Payroll Protection Program will allow Borrowers to extend from 8 to 24 weeks for easier forgiveness. Full details here. (JOP)

Child Daycare Guidelines – When child daycare centers in New Jersey reopen on June 15, they’ll be required to conduct temperature checks on both kids and staff, and limit class sizes. Children will be encouraged – though not required – to wear masks. Here are the new guidelines. ( 

Summer Activities – Summer camps and organized youth sports are scheduled to resume, with restrictions. ( 

New From the CDC – The CDC recently issued recommendations for employers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus when they reopen their offices. Among them: temperature and symptom checks for employees; place desks six feet apart or consider erecting plastic shields; remove seats in common areas; and wear face coverings at all times.

Emergency Borrowing Under the Microscope – Emergency borrowing legislation that Gov. Murphy wants lawmakers to enact so the state can deal with revenue losses caused by the pandemic is scheduled to get its first committee review in the Assembly today. The legislation allows for $5 billion in state bonds, which would make it one of the largest debt issues in New Jersey history. (NJ Spotlight) 

Great Adventure – Six Flags Safari Adventure has reopened. And you can drive your own car through the Safari, like guests used to before vehicles were phased out in 2012. ( 

Buy From New Jersey Businesses – To promote the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Buy NJ’ campaign, put this ‘postcard’ on your website and share it on social media with the hashtags #BuyNJ and #BuyLocalNJ.

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, 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.

The state’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).

Chamber PPE Directory for Chamber Members– Shop Local, Shop with a Chamber Member 

Add your business to the Chamber PPE Directory here

Want More Info on Grants? Join a Webinar with NJEDA CEO Tim Sullivan and Sen. Cory Booker – Among the topics of the webinar on June 5 at 1 p.m. will be the NJEDA’s upcoming grant program.
Webinar with Senate President Steve Sweeney – Join the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce and NJBIA for a virtual town hall with State Senate President Steve Sweeney on June 9 at 9 a.m. Sweeney will share his views on issues affecting New Jersey businesses during the pandemic, followed by a Q&A session. If you would like to submit a question for the senate president, please send it here.

General Resources

For the U.S. Chamber’s return-to-work playbook for employers, click here.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s report on reopening and preparing workplaces for COVID-19.

The state’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).

Return to Work Guidelines

FAQs for Employers

General FAQs:

For information on applying for a Paycheck Protection Program loan, click here.

The U.S. Chamber’s guide to applying for loan forgiveness under the federal Paycheck Protection Program.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Survival Guide has a complete listing of all of the coronavirus resources for small businesses.

The N.J. Economic Development Authority is offering assistance programs for New Jersey businesses. Information and applications can be found here.

The IRS posted information on ‘stimulus checks’ here.

The state’s jobs and hiring portal matches employers and candidates.

For employers to participate, click here.

New Jersey’s website for information on all of the state’s business resources during the pandemic.

New Jersey’s website for up-to-date information about COVID-19.

Have Questions about the Status of an Unemployment Claim? – You can send a message to the state Labor Department through its website – Then follow these instructions:

  • On the top of the page, scroll to the right for “Need Help” and unveil the drop-down menu
  • Choose Send an Email
  • Choose Email: Submit a message through the new online form.
  • Follow the prompts