By Dan Koob

HADDONFIELD, N.J. (CBS) — Small businesses in New Jersey are growing concerned as more and more restrictions are mandated and as they watch the shutdowns happening in Pennsylvania. As South Jersey businesses look across the Delaware River at Pennsylvania’s new COVID restrictions, they’re left to wonder what will happen to them next.

“We fought. We fought, we’re fighting now for it,” Madison Ramirez, owner of the Meraki Market in Haddonfield, said.

Apprehension and “clear energy” are the key words here.

“This is my baby. This is my life,” Ramirez said. “This is how — me and my mom own it. This is how we sustain our family and my child was in life support for three months, and still is.”

Gov. Phil Murphy has promised a more surgical approach to any additional restrictions in New Jersey, but small businesses are still worried.

Colleen Bezich is a commissioner in Haddonfield. She helped secure microgrants of up to $500 to reimburse businesses for purchased personal protective equipment.

“It’s been really great to see and that call to action has been throughout the community,” Bezich said.

She says worry is warranted, but they also have to be mindful of not burdening businesses with more red tape while owners deal with supply chains and third-party issues that may also not be running at full strength.

“Obviously with the shutdowns, we’ve really bumped up our loungewear,” Lauren Makinson said.

Makinson owns Sole Active along a busy Kings Highway.

“We’ve built those backup options for online in the past,” Makinson said. “But I think if we just continue to support each other the best we can, I think that’s the only way we’re all going to survive downtown.”

Supporting each other has been a rallying cry for these stores, which are mostly owned by women.


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