Local businesses impacted by this year’s Coronavirus shutdown and restrictions can now apply for round two of Business Interruption (BIG) Grants. State Representative Brady (R-Normal) said this latest round of awards, administered by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, is focused on downstate businesses and entertainment venues hard hit by the Coronavirus response.
“In round one of BIG grant awards, a dozen businesses in our local communities shared $240,000 in awards to help with their recovery. Round two is focused on downstate businesses impacted, with specific emphasis on music and performing arts centers, museums, movie theaters and other entertainment venues struggling with the ongoing COVID restrictions. I encourage all local businesses who believe they qualify for this round of grants to apply as soon as possible,” Rep. Brady said.
According to DCEO, the $220 million second round of BIG includes the following provisions:
- 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.
Rep. Brady said BIG Grant funds may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including: payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other expenses resulting from COVID-19 related closures. A list of documents local businesses will be required to supply with their application is below: