Governor Pritzker is giving priority to businesses in region 7 to ensure they receive the support they need to cope with current mitigation efforts.  Four out of 11 regions are facing new mitigation efforts as positivity rates have gone above 8% for three consecutive days. Those regions include, 7, 8, 5 and 1. Region 7 includes Will and Kankakee counties and region 8 includes DuPage and Kane counties.

To assist local business struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is encouraging business owners to apply for Business Interruption Grants.

“COVID-19 has created many difficulties and uncertainties for our business community,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “This grant program can help our local businesses keep their doors open during these tough times.”

Businesses in Will County, due to the additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of BIG grants, with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic.

BIG funds may be used to help businesses cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

To ensure funds are distributed across the state and across business types, $60 million has been specifically allocated for heavily distressed industries, including indoor recreation facilities and amusement parks, and another $70 million has been set aside for businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas, or low-income areas that have experienced high rates of COVID-19. Many Joliet-area businesses may qualify for part of the $70 million. For a full list of eligible zip codes, click here.

During this difficult time, Bertino-Tarrant is urging residents to support local businesses.

“Our local businesses support our communities in countless ways. Now is our time to support them,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Instead of spending your money at out of state businesses, I urge you to shop local during this difficult time. Your support will make all the difference.”

Applications are open until funding is exhausted and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria and upcoming webinars to assist businesses.