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Local News

Will County area lawmakers urge small businesses to apply for state grants

The bartender tip jar fills up on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at Werk Force Brewing Co. in Plainfield, Ill. In light of the coronavirus outbreak, many restaurants and bars face uncertainty as Governor J.B. Pritzker announces mandated closures.
The bartender tip jar fills up on Sunday, March 15, 2020, at Werk Force Brewing Co. in Plainfield, Ill. In light of the coronavirus outbreak, many restaurants and bars face uncertainty as Governor J.B. Pritzker announces mandated closures.

State legislators are urging Will County businesses affected by COVID-19-related restrictions to apply for newly available financial aid.

Gov. JB Pritzker this week announced the new round of about $220 million worth of Business Interruption Grants this week. The money is available for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and in communities impacted by recent civil unrest.

The state is prioritizing businesses such as bars and restaurants in Will and Kankakee counties, which have been directly impacted by additional measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, to receive the grants. The state banned indoor service at bars and restaurants in the region late last month.

“The measures needed to stop the spread of COVID-19 require extra sacrifice from certain businesses,” state Sen. Pat McGuire, D-Joliet, said in the release. “That’s why the new Business Interruption Grants grant competition prioritizes those businesses.”

The grants may be used to help businesses cover the costs of payroll, rent, utilities and other working capital during the time they experienced interruptions because of the pandemic.

The state has designated certain amounts of the aid to industries that have been particularly affected, including recreation facilities and amusement parks.

During the first round of grant funding earlier this year, the state distributed more than $49 million to small businesses across the state. Businesses in Will and Kankakee counties received a combined $420,000 earlier this year.

“Small businesses play a vital role in our community and I was pleased to see so many local organizations take advantage of the program,” state Sen. Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant, D-Shorewood, said in a news release. “I encourage any other affected businesses to apply for funding as soon as it becomes available.”

The application period for the grants is open. For information, go to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

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