As the state continues to deal with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker sought to highlight the efforts officials are taking to help suffering businesses.
According to Pritzker, the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has deployed more than $1 billion in economic relief to state businesses, including more than $270 million into its Business Interruption Grants program.
“With the resources we can afford, we’re continuing to dedicate substantial support for our state’s residents, their families, small businesses, non-profit organizations and local governments to help them get through this pandemic,” Pritzker said.
Thus far, the BIG program has distributed $95 million to businesses in 89 of Illinois’ 102 counties, and Pritzker says approximately $175 million is still available to businesses that apply for the program.
Of the funds distributed so far, nearly $47 million have gone to nearly 1,900 restaurants and taverns in the state, with another $9 million going to 416 gyms and fitness centers, according to data provided by the Pritzker administration. Indoor recreation and concert venues, along with event spaces, have also received funding through the program.
Pritzker’s administration says that another $270 million in funds has been set aside for child care restoration grants, while another $250 million has been set aside for local government grants through the Local Coronavirus Urgent Remediation Emergency Support (CURES) program.
Those funds will be used to reimburse local governments for COVID-19 related expenses. Nearly $50 million has already been distributed through the program, with another $31.9 million currently being processed. More than $170 million still remains to be distributed, but Pritzker says that 560 local governments that are eligible for the funding have not yet registered for it, urging them to do so quickly.
“This is an urgent call to action to local mayors and city councils outside of Cook and the collar counties: submit your costs soon to make sure your community is getting the local CURE dollars you deserve,” Pritzker said.
Even with all the funding the state has allocated and set aside during the pandemic, Pritzker says that he wants Illinois to be able to do more, but the lack of a second coronavirus relief bill at the federal level is hampering efforts to do so.
“The dollars provided by the federal government aren’t nearly enough, so I’ve simultaneously called for the federal government to deliver more direction assistance for Americans in every state, and I would encourage elected officials across the state to join me in that advocacy,” he said.