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Metro East employers urged to apply for Business Interruption Grants

More than half of funding allocated to downstate communities

Two state senators from Southwestern Illinois are among public officials encouraging businesses to take advantage of funding being offered through Business Interruption Grants being made available by the state.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity on Tuesday released program details for the latest round of the grants.

State Sen. Rachelle Crowe, D-Glen Carbon (shown left), said all businesses in the Metro East area, known as Region 4 affected by COVID-19 mitigation efforts, should consider applying.

“To provide stability for communities hardest hit economically by the pandemic, Illinois is prioritizing downstate small businesses affected by mitigation efforts for this next round of funding,” Crowe said. “I strongly encourage all small businesses in Region 4 to apply.”

Sen. Chris Belt, D-Centreville, said more than two dozen local businesses saw relief from the first round of Business Interruption Grants. He is encouraging more small businesses facing economic hardship to apply for the second round.

“Our state is continuing to support small businesses during this pandemic, and business owners who face financial struggles because of the pandemic should take advantage,” Belt (right) said. “Twenty-five local businesses are currently benefiting from the first round, and I hope to see more area businesses benefit.”

Applications for the second round of the BIG program will be available Thursday afternoon and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses.

The latest wave of funding aims to provide relief for several industries:

●      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.

●      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.

●      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.

●      Heavily Impacted Industries – $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels, and more.

●      Agriculture – $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions.

“To aid in economic relief in the Metro East, 25 businesses in my district were selected as grant recipients for the first round,” Crowe said. “I hope to see several others approved of the same assistance.”

For more information, visit DCEO’s website.


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