pexels oleg magni 2058147PARK FOREST - To help small businesses affected by COVID-19 resurgence mitigations, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is urging business owners to apply for assistance through the second round of Business Interruption Grant (BIG) funding.

“With this new round of grants, small businesses will find economic support as they continue to navigate the pandemic,” Joyce said. “Because small businesses are bearing the brunt of this crisis, it’s really important that they take advantage of this funding.”

The BIG program has allocated $220 million in the second round for movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues and more to help them stay afloat through this time of crisis and ensure they have the resources to open safely in the coming months.
 
BIG funds may be used to help businesses cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.
 
To ensure funds are distributed across the state and across business type, $60 million has been specifically allocated for heavily distressed industries, including indoor recreation facilities and amusement parks. Another $70 million has been set aside for businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19. Many Joliet-area businesses may qualify for part of the $70 million. For a full list of eligible zip codes, click here.

Additionally, businesses in Region 7 that submit an application will be given priority to ensure they receive the support they need to cope with current mitigation efforts. 

“These grants are critical in keeping small businesses afloat,” Joyce said. “I am inviting any business that has been negatively impacted by COVID-19 to apply for assistance starting Thursday.”
 
During its first round of funding earlier this year, the program granted more than $49 million to small businesses across the state. Businesses in Will and Kankakee Counties were awarded a combined $420,000 during the first round.
 
Applications open Thursday, Sept. 17 and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria.

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