Mayor Ras J. Baraka announced this week that Newark will waive certain permitting fees for outdoor special events and activities. This will reduce the barrier to entry and make participation in outdoor activations easier for struggling local retail and food services businesses that have been impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Commercial corridors are central to urban life and revitalizing them will be one key to Newark’s economic recovery,” said Mayor Baraka. “Outdoor activations create a safe, fun, atmosphere to shop and dine locally. They draw residents and visitors to increase spending, revitalizing Newark’s business districts and introducing shoppers to businesses.”
The City will waive fees for businesses that host events that benefit the community and its residents between September 1 and December 31. In order to qualify, the event must be open to the public, benefit Newark residents, and create revenue-generating opportunities for local businesses.
The City will fund the program with American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds. It is one of many initiatives that are part of Mayor Baraka’s Equitable Economic Recovery Plan announced in June. The funding addresses the negative economic impact of the loss of business activity due to government-imposed public health restrictions aimed at reducing the transmission of the virus.
Newark’s pandemic job losses have led to $60-$100 million of lost consumer spending. This has directly impacted local small businesses and the families that rely on them, even after factoring in government benefits. It has disproportionately affected local restaurants, and entertainment, apparel, and personal services businesses.
Reducing the barrier to participate in outdoor activations comes at a small cost to the City and can make a big impact for local small businesses and neighborhood pride.