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SPRINGFIELD – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is sharing information on two new emergency assistance programs to provide relief to local restaurants, hotels and other small businesses during this difficult time.
 
“We have a strong small business presence in our community. It’s what gives us character and it’s tough to see them struggle during this outbreak,” Bennett said. “Small businesses are crucial to our economic health and will play an essential role in our recovery from the pandemic, so we must invest in them during this challenging time.”
 
To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago.
 
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.
 
Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.
 
Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.
Applications to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27.
 
The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here.

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