BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS PROGRAM (BIG)
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 of which has been set aside for childcare providers and is funded by the CARES Act.
In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in DIAs. Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will also be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.
Specifically, the program includes support for:
Businesses in DIAs – $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each
Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing 1,000 grants of up to $20,000
Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each
Gyms and Fitness Centers – $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each
Businesses must have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020 and must meet specific annual revenue criteria outlined in document below.
WHEN AND WHERE TO APPLY: DCEO will begin accepting applications on June 26th. The application submission portal will be posted on this webpage. Until the 26th, DCEO is posting the application questions and required documents for businesses and business support organizations to read, review and prepare.
DISPROPORTIONATELY IMPACTED AREAS
The map (click here and scroll down) shows all disproportionately impacted areas for the Business Interruption Grant program. To determine whether or not you are located in a DIA, enter your address in the search box.
Note that for this first round of BIG funds, businesses located in a subset of DIAs where there has been recent property damage due to civil unrest will be eligible for specific grant funds. The zip codes eligible for this specific subset of funding are found here.
FUTURE BIG ASSISTANCE
This $60 million funding round represents only the first wave of the BIG program, which in total will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 million of which has been set aside for childcare providers. For the remaining BIG funding, DCEO will issue a NOFO at a later date to seek qualified partner(s) in assisting with administering future phases of the BIG program to small businesses. Check back here for the latest updates on BIG grant availability.
PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) FORGIVENESS
The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has announced that recordings of two webinars hosted last week to help businesses and lenders with the federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Applications are available to anyone who missed the sessions but may still require assistance.
The first webinar is for businesses and the steps they need to take to complete their loan forgiveness applications. The second webinar (for lenders), detailed the process in how those loan forgiveness applications should be reviewed.
The Paycheck Protection Program is a forgivable small business loan program administered by the SBA. The program is designed to assist small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 Pandemic to keep their workers on the payroll. Over $125 billion in PPP funds are still available. Eligible small businesses include sole proprietorships, independent contractors, and the self-employed.
Watch the business webinar here. -click “watch on web” then click “join anonymously”
Watch the lenders webinar here.
Additional resources from the Small Business Administration (SBA) regarding the Paycheck Protection Program may also be found here or by visiting one of the 35 SBA resource partners in Illinois
PHASE 4: REVITALIZATION
Phase 4 allows for the safe reopening or expansion of several key business segments – such as health and fitness, movies and theater, museums and zoos, as well as indoor dining at restaurants. Phase 4 also allows for expanded gathering sizes, increasing from 10 to 50 people (or fewer). During Phase 4, common public health standards remain in effect; including the use of face coverings and social distancing.
Industry-specific guidelines may vary but are designed to help employers, workers and residents feel safe in transitioning to the next phase of reopening the state. All industries should continue to conduct regular cleanings, employee health screenings upon entry and mid-shift, and allow employees who can continue working from home to do so.
Click HERE for the Governor’s complete press release.
See an overview of the Phase 4 changes here.
See Phase 4 industry specific guidlines here.
CHECKLIST FOR RE-OPENING
Effective May 29, 2020: The Recovery Phase of the Restore Illinois public health approach to reopening the Illinois economy includes returning people to work, businesses reopening and group gatherings of 10 or fewer. We must all continue to social distance, frequently wash our hands and cover our faces to maintain progress in overcoming COVID-19.
Reopening Guidance For…
Now that Illinois is bending the curve, it is vitally important that we follow a safe and deliberate path forward to get our Illinois economy moving. This five-phased plan will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. This is an initial framework that will likely be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for treatments or vaccines is realized.
ILLINOIS DEPARTMENT OF EMPLOYMENT SECURITY
Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributed to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.
U.S. DEPARTMENT OF LABOR
The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus. Resources include: