BIG restaurant1 103020PARK FOREST – Businesses and organizations in Kankakee, Cook and Will Counties are among the 1,200 recipients of more than $46 million in Business Interruption Grants (BIG) prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced Friday.

“COVID-19 has been especially hard on our small business community these past few months,” Joyce said. “I’m pleased to learn businesses in our community have taken advantage of this program, and with funds still available, I encourage all eligible businesses to apply for grants.”

Twenty businesses in the district Joyce represents received a combined $490,000. Each business received between $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“While these grants have been a great help to local businesses, they still need our support,” Joyce said. “The best way we can show our support is to shop local, especially during the holiday season.”  

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.

Category: News

small business grants FB

KANKAKEE – As small businesses face financial uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging business owners to apply for a Business Interruption Grant (BIG). 

“Small businesses form the core of our community, and the COVID-19 pandemic has made it extremely difficult for some to survive,” Joyce said. “I encourage folks that have suffered significant losses to apply for aid through the BIG program to help them through these challenging times.” 

In this round of grants, $220 million will be allocated to provide relief for all types of small businesses. Funding can be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and other operational costs.

The BIG program is a $636 million program created to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The program uses federal funds provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.
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.

“Even though this funding is available to businesses, it is equally as important to shop local,” Joyce said. “When you buy from small businesses, you’re also supporting jobs and neighbors in our community.”
Applications for the BIG program are open and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria. 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.

Category: Press Releases

flu shot clinics

PARK FOREST – As flu season approaches, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex), State Representative Anthony DeLuca (D-Chicago Heights), and State Representative Debbie Meyers-Martin (D-Olympia Fields) will co-host a drive-up flu shot clinic Tuesday, Oct. 27 from 3-6 p.m. in the parking lot of Freedom Hall, located at 410 Lakewood Blvd. in Park Forest.

“Getting a flu shot is an easy way for Illinoisans to protect themselves and their families from the flu,” Joyce said. “This drive-up clinic will make getting a flu vaccine easier and more convenient for folks, while abiding by IDPH’s health guidelines.”

The lawmakers are partnering with Walgreens to host the clinic, which will be held outdoors in a drive-up format to allow appropriate social distancing. Masks will still be required, and safety precautions will be in place to promote a safe and healthy environment for everyone. Participants are required to bring their insurance card and photo ID to receive a flu shot.  

"With winter approaching, it's important we are prepared, like getting an annual flu shot,” DeLuca said. “It will help keep ourselves and our family safe and healthy.”

This is event is open to the public and caters to all ages.

“As we enter the fall flu season during this pandemic, it’s more important than ever to get a flu shot for you and your family’s health,” said Park Forest Mayor Jonathan Vanderbilt. “That is why I’m proud to partner with Senator Joyce and Representative DeLuca to protect the health of our residents.”

In addition to getting a flu vaccine, Joyce reminds residents to continue to wear a mask, wash their hands often and watch their distance.

For more information, contact Joyce’s office at 708-756-0882 or visit

Category: Events

clean energy 082120JOLIET – To transition Illinois to a 100 percent clean energy economy, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) lent his support to the Climate Jobs Illinois (CJI) 10-point plan initiative, which will create thousands of jobs while reducing the state’s carbon emissions.

“With this plan as a starting point, Illinois moves one step closer toward a clean energy future,” said Joyce, a member of the Senate Energy and Public Utilities Committee.  “I look forward to continuing to work with the coalition to create more jobs as our state transitions to a clean energy economy.”

The CJI plan comprises four main sectors: clean power generation; just transition and inclusion; building efficiency; and transportation. The plan outlines how the state can invest at scale in clean-energy infrastructure to maximize emissions reductions that will address the climate crisis while creating or sustaining thousands of union jobs and apprentice programs, particularly in areas hit hard by the economic crisis.

Currently, there are 142 coal, oil, gas and nuclear plants operating in Illinois, employing 45,000 workers and providing billions of dollars in tax revenue to local communities. With a shift to 100 percent clean energy, the CJI plan calls on the state to properly fund a just transition for Illinois workers and communities impacted by the shift to a 100 percent clean energy economy, including tax revenue replacement for communities where closures may occur, as well as wage and benefit support and retraining for displaced workers.

“We have to continue to stand up for our working class and ensure these folks have a voice,” Joyce said. “Now is the time to build on the progress we’ve made, especially for those who have been impacted by COVID-19 crisis.”

To read CJI’s full 10-point proposal, visit

Category: Press Releases

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