As businesses continue to struggle financially due to COVID-19, State Representative Mark Batinick (R-Plainfield) is encouraging business owners to take advantage of a new round of Business Interruption Grants. The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.
“This grant program utilizes federal funding through the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for small businesses in our state,” said Batinick. “Funds may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses- including payroll costs, rent, utilities, and other operational costs.”
According to Batinick, the first round of BIG funding focused on restaurants, personal care services, gyms and fitness clubs, and businesses located in severe disproportionately impacted areas. For this second round of applications, a total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industrial regions. The second wave of funds includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:
- Heavily Impacted Industries – $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, and more.
- Disproportionately Impacted Areas – $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19. A map of DIAs is shown below.
- Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
- Priority Businesses– Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds: businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
- Agriculture – $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions. Applications will be available in the coming weeks from the Illinois Department of Agriculture.
- Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients – As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program. This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.
“Any business that is struggling with revenue losses tied to COVID-19 should apply for this grant money,” said Batinick. “The application window is now open, and the grant process is competitive so business owners should not delay.”
All businesses will receive a decision on their grant application within four to six weeks of application submission. Click here for more information and to access the application.