Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the state will extend its tax filing deadline to July 15, and is dedicating millions of dollars to help small businesses affected by restrictions in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
During his daily briefing on the state's response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, Pritzker announced new programs that will provide more than $90 million in financial relief to small businesses.
That includes a $60-million Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. The governor says the fund will support low-interested loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago in every industry. Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and that had under $3 million in revenue in 2019 can apply for the loans starting March 27 — when applications will be made available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website.
The aid announced Wednesday also includes a new $20-million Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. The program will provide grants of up to $25,000 for small businesses in suburban and rural Illinois counties served by the DCEO Office of Community Development. Pritzker's office says the program will allow businesses with up to 50 employees to partner with local governments to obtain those grants. Applications for this program will also be available on the DCEO website on March 27.
The governor also announced a $14-million program to help bars, restaurants and hotels. The Hospitality Emergency Grant Program will provide grants of up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels. The grants will support things like payroll and rent, as well as employee training and technology to support things like increased pickup and delivery services.
A news release about the programs says bars and restaurants that made $500,000 to $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and those that made less than $500,000 are eligible for up to $10,000. The release says hotels that brought in less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.
Applications for the hospitality program are available now on the DECO website.
The governor's office says the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund loans will be supported by a $30 million loan loss reserve that's made up of $20 million of DCEO funds and $10 million provided through a partnership with banks in Illinois. Funding for the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program comes from redeployed Community Development Block Grant funds. The Hospitality Emergency Grant Program will be paid for with money that was allocated for job training and tourism.
The Illinois Department of Public Health announced 330 new cases of the virus Wednesday, bringing the total number of cases to 1,865. The IDPH notes that two correctional officers and an inmate at the Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive for COVID-19, as well as a contract worker at the Sheridan Correctional Center. The public health agency says the correctional officers are recovering in their respective homes, and the inmate has been isolated in a hospital. IDPH says people who may have been exposed are being quarantined, and the facility will be on lockdown for 14 days.
For more information about the grant programs announced Wednesday, including who is eligible and how to apply, click here.
In southern Illinois, a COVID-19 case was confirmed in Franklin County on Wednesday. For more information about that case, click here.
Illinoisans who have qustions about COVID-19 can call the state hotline, 1-800-889-3931. To see the latest updates from the state, click here.
For Local 6's continuing coverage of the coronavirus outbreak, click here.