02252020HAO0929EAST ST. LOUIS – More than two dozen local businesses saw relief from the first round of Business Interruption Grants, leading State Senator Christopher Belt (D-Centreville) to encourage more small businesses facing economic hardship to apply for the second round.

“Our state is continuing to support small businesses during this pandemic, and business owners who face financial struggles because of the pandemic should take advantage,” Belt said. “Twenty-five local businesses are currently benefiting from the first round, and I hope to see more area businesses benefit.” 

The second round of BIG funding builds on the more than $49 million in grants awarded statewide in August. The Metro East area received nearly $500,000 in grants during the first round, which ranged from $10,000 to $20,000 to assist businesses with expenses like payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment, and other possible unexpected costs to relieve the effects of the pandemic. 

The second round of grants is intended to provide relief for all types of small businesses, focusing on businesses located downstate, including the Rockford area. The second round of funding includes $60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels. An additional $70 million has been set aside for disproportionately impacted communities that have been the most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19. Some disproportionately impacted communities are East St. Louis, Cahokia, Alorton, Washington Park, Caseyville, Venice, Madison, and Centreville. 

To promote equity in the program, priority for grant funding will be given to small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured companies, and inherently essential businesses – like grocery stores – in economically distressed areas. DCEO has created a list of impacted zip codes to help determine project location eligibility found here.

Category: Press Releases

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