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$35 Million In Federal COVID-19 Relief Coming To Aid Of New Jersey Bars, Restaurants

COLLINGSWOOD, N.J. (CBS) -- On the road to recovery, a big announcement was made Friday for small business owners in New Jersey. Relief is coming to bars and restaurants.

Small businesses have been waiting for financial help for more than a year now, and it's finally on the way.

"New Jersey will formally put aside $35 million in federal pandemic relief funds for our restaurants, bars, breweries, brewpubs, and wineries," Gov. Phil Murphy said.

On Friday, Murphy signed Assembly Bill No. 5444, which would provide $35 million in federal COVID-19 relief aid for restaurants throughout the Garden State.

"Our restaurants, bars and breweries and wineries are a critical part of our start, our economy, and our culture. These are not just small businesses, these are places where communities come together," Murphy said.

Throughout 2020 many communities came together to support the service industry, including mom-and-pop restaurants like Il Fiore in Collingswood.

"Thank God and thanks to our loyal customers. They helped us through the most hard time with to-go, they placed an order to go. Soon as they allowed us to dine outside, they came to support us," Landi Daku said.

New Jersey restaurants were among the businesses that were hit hardest by the pandemic. Many had to close their doors due to the financial impact but federal help is on the way.

"To be able to carry on like this, anything helps. So we are really thankful about that," Daku said.

The grants from federal aid to the state will not have to be repaid by eateries. And there's finally some hope on the horizon for small businesses.

"It's great news. It's something I can't describe," Daku said.

New Jersey restaurants are still only allowed to operate at 50% indoor capacity.

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