Grant Funds Available for Bars, Restaurants, Salons and Fitness Centers Through July 7

By Jeremy Coumbes on July 1, 2020 at 8:51am

Small businesses impacted by COVID-19 may still be eligible for grant funding in Illinois.

The Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce is urging small businesses in the area to apply for available funding, now that the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has finalized their guidelines and application for the new Business Interruption Grant.

President of the Jacksonville Chamber, Lisa Musch says the Business Interruption Grants are aimed at businesses that were specifically impacted during the pandemic, including bars and restaurants, barbershops and hair salons, and fitness centers and gyms.

The criteria is a bit narrow, there is information on DCEO’s website. If you go to DCEO Illinois, Google that and then look up the Business Interruption Grant. In about the middle of the page you will see Eligibility Requirements and then the application as well.

This is a lottery based system again this time, so you don’t have to rush rush rush to get yours in first, but the deadline for applying is next Tuesday, July 7th at 5:00 pm. Then they will look through all of the applications, run it through their lottery process, through the company Axiom they have used for some of their other grant programs, and then the winners will be notified in mid-July and receive their monies.”

Musch says there are some specific requirements to qualify which because of a limited amount of funds, are geared toward businesses that were the most effected by the shut down.

For restaurants and bars, probably one of the biggest caveats to that is, they must not have been open to the public for onsite consumption of food and beverage between March 21st and June 17th, so they could be doing curbside or pick up delivery, but no outdoor dining before June 17th. And I know a lot of our restaurants were able to do that because the governor opened that up on the 29th of May, so this is really geared toward those restaurants that did not have any outdoor dining space, or were able to do that.”

In total, $20 million dollars will go toward bars and restaurants who were not able to offer outdoor dining before June 17. $10 million dollars will go toward salons and barbers and $10 million to fitness centers. Musch says individual grants can run between $10,000 and $20,000 depending on the type of business and what the previous year’s earnings were compared to this year.

Musch says even if business owners are not sure they would qualify, the application process helps them determine that as they go, and it’s worth giving it a shot.

As you are going through the application process, if you can’t move any further or you don’t fit one of the line items they have, then most likely you aren’t going to be eligible. So the application process kind of works you through that yourself so you’re not wasting a lot of your time. But do take a look at the eligibility requirements, it’s spelled out in a pretty delineated two pages of information there, based upon what type of business sector you are in, and then the application is a separate document to go into and actually complete. Then just make sure all of that is submitted by 5:00 pm on July the 7th so that you have the opportunity to hopefully win the lottery for some of those grant monies.”

To apply or to find out more information about the B.I.G. Program go to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website at:

You can also call the Jacksonville Chamber of Commerce with questions at 217-245-2174.