holmes 082120AURORA – In an effort to provide support to small business owners facing economic hardship as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, State Senator Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) announced 33 local businesses will receive a combined $540,000 through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program.

“So many local businesses have faced unprecedented challenges during the COVID-19 pandemic, and I’m proud to see them receive these grants to help them get back on their feet,” said Holmes. “Our small businesses were resourceful and flexible in adapting to new safety guidelines, and I hope this will give them the assistance they need to bounce back.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

First round grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding.

“There is so much more to do to help our business community recover from this crisis,” said Holmes. “These funds will let them focus their efforts on reopening in a way that keeps staff and customers safe.”

The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.