The Cape May County Business Recovery Task Force, Cape May County Economic Development and the Cape May County Chamber of Commerce, under the direction of the Board of Chosen Freeholders, are encouraging all eligible county businesses that were affected by COVID-19 to pre-register and apply for Phase 3 Grant Assistance through the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.Pre-registration began Monday, Oct. 19.Cape May County, in cooperation with the Chamber of Commerce, is notifying all businesses to read the current program and eligibility requirements at https://www.njeda.com/phase3grantsrelease and prepare to pre-register.The “Phase 3 Grant Program” expands the eligibility for the grant program and increases the amount of funding individual businesses can receive.According to the NJEDA’s press release, any business or nonprofit located in New Jersey, including home-based businesses, with 50 or fewer full-time equivalent employees (FTEs) is eligible to receive grant funding during Phase 3. Businesses that received funding in previous phases of the program are eligible to receive Phase 3 funding.Interested business owners will need to pre-register to receive an application. Pre-registration began Monday, Oct. 19, and will close on Tuesday, Oct. 27. Then applications will be available via a phased approach following the end of the pre-registration period, detailed below. Applicants must complete the full application to be considered for grant funding.To ensure funds flow to businesses that need them most, the NJEDA is targeting Phase 3 grants to restaurants, micro-businesses, and businesses in census tracts that were eligible to be designated as Opportunity Zones.Altogether, $35 million of funding will be dedicated to support businesses classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” under NAICS code 722 and $15 million will be directed to support “micro-businesses” that have five or fewer FTEs. The remaining $20 million will be available to support any eligible business.Phase 3 also increases the amount of funding available to businesses. Grant awards will be calculated based on the number of FTEs businesses employ. Micro-businesses with five or fewer FTEs and sole proprietorships will receive $5,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive $10,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive $15,000.In addition, Phase 3 provides even larger grants for businesses that are classified as “Food Services and Drinking Places” (NAICS code 722). Businesses in this classification with five or fewer employees will receive $10,000; businesses with six to 25 FTEs will receive $15,000; and businesses with 26 to 50 FTEs will receive $20,000.To maximize the funding businesses receive, grant awards will be based on the peak FTE count from a business’s past six quarters of WR-30 filings. Businesses must use funds from the grant program for reimbursement of lost revenue as a result of business interruption caused by COVID-19. Businesses may not use grant funds for capital expenses.Recognizing the significant need for relief, the NJEDA anticipates Phase 3 of the grant program will be oversubscribed. To streamline the application process, the authority is requiring all applicants to pre-register online.Applications will become available on a rolling basis following the pre-registration period. Pre-registered applicants will need to return to complete an application based on the following schedule:Restaurants – 9 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020Micro businesses – 9 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020All other businesses, excluding restaurants and micro businesses – 9 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 2, 2020Other applications for each category will be open for a period of one week and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. Grants from the New Jersey Economic Development Authority will help businesses hurt by the coronavirus crisis.