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IL COVID – 19 Update

By September 16, 2020No Comments

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




In August, an initial round of funding was directed to restaurants, personal care services, gyms and fitness clubs, and businesses located in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIA). The first round of BIG provided a $49 million for successful applicants.

A $220 million second round of BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, but with a particular focus on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or operating at a severely diminished capacity since the spring.

The second round application process begins Thursday, September 17, 2020. 




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).

The second wave of funds includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:

  1. $60 Million for Heavily Impacted Industries – such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, and more.
  2. $70 Disproportionately Impacted Areas – Set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19.
  3. Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
  4. Priority Businesses– Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds: businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
  5. Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipients – As authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.  This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.


The application may be accessed here on Thursday, September 17, 2020. More information may be found in the following links:

  1. Application Questions
  2. Application Checklist
  3. Business Certification Form and Eligible Cost List
  4. Guidance for Businesses and Organizations that Receive Business Interruption Grants (BIG) and Funds from Other CARES Act Programs

Zip Codes that Qualify as Disproportionately Impacted Areas for the Illinois Business Interruption Grant (BIG) Program