OAK LAWN, Ill. – As COVID-19 cases surge and local businesses face additional challenges under Tier 3 mitigations, state Rep. Kelly Burke, D-Oak Lawn, is urging business owners to apply for the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program.
“Many of our local businesses are facing unprecedented losses as a result of pandemic-related closures and decreased patronage, and it’s important that we provide support to business owners who are scrambling to regain financial stability,” said Burke. “Connecting business owners with the resources available to them through the BIG program and other opportunities is a critical step in recovering from the economic setbacks created by the COVID-19 crisis.”
To help offset COVID-19-related losses, the BIG program leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to provide eligible business owners with grants ranging from $5,000 to $100,000. Grants awarded in the first round of BIG funding totaled $49 million, which were directed to restaurants, bars, personal care services and businesses in disproportionately impacted areas.
The second round of BIG funding will total $220 million and will focus on providing aid to industries hit hardest by pandemic-related closures including movie theaters, concert venues and more. Businesses across Illinois have been awarded over $92 million thus far during the second round of BIG funding, including grants to several businesses in Burke’s district, which encompasses parts of Oak Lawn, Chicago Ridge, Evergreen Park, Worth, Palos Park and Palos Hills.
Burke is encouraging businesses who are interested in applying for the BIG program to visit the DCEO’s website at www.dceo.illinois.gov for information on eligibility and the application process. The website also includes information on other resources for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including loan options and the federal Paycheck Protection Program.
“Our local businesses are truly the backbone of our local economy, and one of my priorities throughout this unprecedented public health emergency has been to support Illinois business owners,” continued Burke. “These grant dollars can be used for payroll costs, rent, utilities or other expenses, and can help keep businesses from being forced to close their doors for good. I urge business owners in our community to apply for these important opportunities.”