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sm restaurant 082120ELGIN – To help small businesses deal with undue economic burden caused by COVID-19, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Development has begun accepting applications for a second round of Business Interruption Grants. State Senator Cristina Castro (D-Elgin) is encouraging local businesses who are struggling financially as a result of the pandemic to apply.

“The past several months have been hard on all of us, and despite shutdown restrictions being eased, many small businesses are having difficulty paying their staff and keeping their doors open and lights on,” Castro said. “Since small businesses are the backbone of our community, I am encouraging businesses owners to apply for the Business Interruption Grants to help ease some of the pressure they’re under due to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The grants are the second in a series of $636 million in funding for struggling small businesses. Nearly $220 million will be awarded, with a particular focus on downstate businesses, businesses in disproportionately affected areas, and businesses in industries and regions that have been heavily impacted by the pandemic. Businesses outside of these areas are still eligible to apply, but their applications may be reviewed later.

“These grants will help keep people from losing the jobs they’ve worked hard to obtain and shutting down the businesses they’ve worked hard to establish,” Castro said.

Businesses will be informed of a decision regarding their application within four to six weeks of its submission. More information, including eligibility information, can be found on DCEO’s website.