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IL COVID – 19 Update #88

By June 18, 2020No Comments

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) announced the start of the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and the recent civil unrest. 



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

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 disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). Businesses eligible for the program must: 

  1. have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March;
  2. may continue to face depressed revenues or closure; and
  3. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing at least 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each.
  3. Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each
  4. 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.

DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Monday, June 22.


Businesses which demonstrate an interruption may receive a grant to reimburse expenditures incurred during periods of limited capacity or closure. The program focuses on reimbursing expenses associated with the business’s operations operating costs which include, but are not limited to:

  1. payroll & benefit payments on behalf of retained employees;
  2. lease & mortgage payments for business location(s), as well as related utility expenses;
  3. variable costs for the goods or services provided; as well as
  4. expenses related to personal protective equipment (PPE) for employees.

The period in which businesses may claim eligible expenditures is March 21, 2020 through December 30, 2020.

As well as meeting the Program’s basic criteria above, a Qualifying Business is:

  1. Eligible for reimbursement as prescribed by 601(a) of the Social Security Act and added by section 5001 of the CARES Act. This includes businesses with less than 500 employees. Please keep in mind that priority will be given to small businesses.
  2. Experiencing business interruption due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
  3. Registered and in good standing with the Illinois Secretary of State.
  4. Licensed to do business within their industry (if applicable).

Qualifying Businesses will be more exactly defined through subsequent funding notices based on business type, industry, and region–this means the DCEO will prioritize small businesses.

The current funding round includes $60 million for bars, restaurants, barbershops & Salons, and Fitness Centers. The $60 will be divided in the following manner:

  1. $20M for businesses located within a disproportionately impacted area (DIAs) and experienced significant business losses as Illinois entered Phase 3 of Restore Illinois.
  2. $20M for Bars & Restaurants:  
    • With under $3M in revenue in 2019, or pro-rated amount if in business for less than a year; 
    • That have been an operating business for at least three months prior to March 2020; and 
    • Only bars and restaurants that have not provided outdoor food and beverage service during Phase 3 will be eligible. This could be for any reason including prohibition by local ordinance, lack of access to outdoor space, or financial infeasibility.
  3. $10M for Barbershops & Salons: 
    • With (a) under $500K in revenue in 2019, or pro-rated amount if in business for less than a year; and 
    • That have been an operating business for at least three months prior to March 2020.
  4. $10M for Fitness Centers: 
    • With under $2M in revenue in 2019, or pro-rated amount if in business for less than a year; and 
    • That have been an operating business for at least three months prior to March 2020.

Each business will be eligible for up to $20,000.


As mentioned above this is the FIRST ROUND OF FUNDING. Future funding rounds of the BIG program are being planned and the main industries of consideration are ones which will not re-open to full capacity until phases four or five of the Restore Illinois plan. Examples of these industries are:

  • Theaters, concert halls, event venues & event industries;
  • Indoor amusements and other arts;
  • Neighborhood-oriented independent retail;
  • Independently owned/operated personal services; and

Additional industries as identified by DCEO