BIG salon 103020DES PLAINES – More than $700,000 has been awarded to 18 North Suburban businesses through the second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program, and millions of dollars are still available, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Friday.

“Over the past few months, small businesses have not only been faced with losses as a result of pandemic-related closures, but also the extra costs that come with adhering to state health guidelines,” said Murphy. “These funds will allow them to continue operating with customer and staff safety in mind.”

In the district Murphy represents, 18 businesses—including restaurants, salons and event venues—received a combined $730,000. Grants ranged from $5,000 and $150,000 to be used to help cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they have experienced interruptions due to the pandemic.

In total, more than $46 million has been awarded to 1,200 local businesses across the state in the second round of the BIG program. This investment builds on the $49 million awarded to more than 2,800 businesses in the first round of funding.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, but applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“Thousands of businesses across the state have already taken advantage of the BIG program, but there’s still time to apply for remaining funds,” said Murphy. “I encourage all affected businesses to submit an application as soon as they can.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the financial losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Applications are available on the DCEO website.