CHAMPAIGN – With cosm restaurant 082120mmunities across Champaign and Vermilion counties still feeling the effects of the pandemic, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging small businesses impacted by COVID-19 to apply for assistance through the second round of Business Interruption Grant (BIG) funding.

“Our small business community has made incredible sacrifices over the past several months to protect their staff and customers,” Bennett said. “We must do all that we can to show our support during this horrible pandemic, and I would encourage any business that is struggling to apply.”

The BIG program has allocated $220 million in the second round for movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues and more to help them stay afloat through this time of crisis and ensure they have the resources to open safely in the coming months.

The second round of grants is intended to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with a focus on businesses located downstate. This round includes $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels, and more. Another $70 million has been set aside for businesses in economically distressed communities that have been the most vulnerable to COVID-19.

“This program is an investment in our community and will help small businesses ease their financial strain,” Bennett said. “The BIG program was able to help many businesses in the first round of funding, and I hope we can see even more receive this assistance.”

The second round of BIG funding builds on more than $49 million in grants awarded statewide in August. The Champaign-Urbana area received a combined $910,000 in grants, and an additional $100,000 was awarded to the Danville area during the first round. The grants ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 to assist businesses with expenses like payroll, rent, utilities, equipment and other possible unexpected costs to relieve the effects of the pandemic.

Applications open Thursday, Sept. 17 and can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website alongside a full list of criteria.

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Champaign Office:
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Champaign, IL 61820
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