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Lightford, Van Pelt announce financial assistance for hardest hit businesses

Senate Majority Leader Kimberly A. Lightford

CHICAGO – Majority Leader Kimberly Lightford (D-Maywood) and State Senator Patricia Van Pelt (D-Chicago) joined Gov. Pritzker and small business owners to announce new grants that will help businesses that have been particularly harmed by closures to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Black and Latino communities are the hardest hit by COVID-19, another symptom of the disease that is racism in our country,” Leader Lightford said. “Working families who have yet to receive a proper pay day have struggled to maintain during this time. Our small business built in our local communities by the people who care about them the most were forced to shut down and were damaged by individuals who exploited our pain for personal gain. They need a government that will work for them without hesitation.”

The Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program is a $636 million initiative administered by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO). The first round of BIG grants, valued at $60 million, will offset the costs that businesses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent civil unrest. Grants are broken down by type of business as follows:

  • Businesses in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) with Recent Significant Property Damage
    • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
  • Bars and Restaurants
    • 1,000 grants of $20,000.
    • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
  • Barbershops and Salons
    • 1,000 grants of $10,000.
    • 50% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.
  • Fitness Centers
    • 500 grants of $20,000.
    • 30% of grants will go to businesses in DIAs.

DCEO will publish a full list of eligible costs and losses that can be covered by the BIG program. Applications for these programs will open Monday, June 22 on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website and will remain open for 7-14 days. One week after the application period closes, grant administration partners will begin reaching out to recipients. Priority will be given to businesses in DIAs.