pexels andrea piacquadio 845451PARK FOREST – Businesses and organizations in Kankakee, Cook and Will Counties are among the 1,200 recipients of more than $46 million in Business Interruption Grants (BIG) prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) announced Friday.

“COVID-19 has been especially hard on our small business community these past few months,” Joyce said. “I’m pleased to learn businesses in our community have taken advantage of this program, and with funds still available, I encourage all eligible businesses to apply for grants.”

Twenty businesses in the district Joyce represents received a combined $490,000. Each business received between $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.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the grants this week, as part of the second round of the BIG program. However, applications will remain open until all of the funding is spent.

“While these grants have been a great help to local businesses, they still need our support,” Joyce said. “The best way we can show our support is to shop local, especially during the holiday season.”

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’s website.