ILLINOIS — With the ongoing coronavirus pandemic exerting financial strain on the state and its small businesses, Gov. J.B. Pritzker urged community members, during his Monday press conference, to make use of the grant opportunities that Illinois is providing to mitigate economic impact of the virus.
"With the resources we can afford in Illinois, we are continuing to dedicate substantial support for our state's residents, their families, small businesses, nonprofit organizations and local governments to help them get through this pandemic," Pritzker said.
He said that he has directed the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity alone to deploy $1 billion in economic reliefs. In addition to direct community assistance programs, he said his government is offering $270 million in Business Interruption Grants, $270 in Childcare Restorative Grants, $250 in Local Government (CURES) Grants, $20 million in Downstate Small Business Stabilization Grants and $14 million in Hospitality Industry Emergency Grants.
The BIG is the largest business support program in the nation and to date, the DCEO has distributed $95 million to business in 4,000 individual grants, 469 cities and 89 counties. These grants have focused on the hardest-hit industries, such as restaurants and taverns, gyms, indoor recreation facilities, entertainment venues and event spaces.
The Local CURES grant program reimburses local governments for COVID-related expenses, Pritzker said. Over 1,300 local governments are eligible, but 560 of them haven’t yet registered for the grants, he said, urging them to avail these funds.
Nearly $50 million has already been distributed with another $31.9 million in the process of being distributed. Between the CURES and BIG grants, there's still $350 million remaining and those interested can apply through the DCEO website.
"I encourage everyone listening to support their local small businesses," Pritzker said. "These are the heroes who are the lifeblood of our communities, and they're our job creators. Instead of going to a big-box store to buy everything, try your local retailer. It's how we can all keep each other going."