CHICAGO — The State of Illinois will offer an additional $245 million in grants to businesses impacted by COVID-19 and recent unrest, Governor JB Pritzker announced Tuesday.
“Helping entrepreneurs stay afloat, giving business owners the help necessary to keep the lights on and payroll flowing, is vital to preserving jobs and businesses until we get to the other side of this pandemic,” Pritzker said in a statement.
Pritzker’s announcement comes as Illinois health officials announced 1,466 new cases of COVID-19 and 20 additional coronavirus-related deaths were confirmed over the past day Tuesday.
Businesses and residents across the state remain under restrictions as part of Phase 4 of the “Restore Illinois” plan. Funding made available through a second round of “Business Interruption Grants” will give $220 million to affected businesses, Pritzker said, while $25 million in “Rebuild Distressed Communities” grants will cover the costs of “civil-unrest related repairs.”
Businesses which earned $20 million or less in 2019 can apply for grants starting Thursday. Funding will be divided among various industries and communities, including:
- $60 million for industries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 mitigation measures, like tourism and retail, as well as businesses that have been hit particularly hard, including performing arts venues and movie theaters
- $70 million for businesses in areas hit hardest by COVID-19
- $100 million for downstate communities
- $5 million for agriculture
Businesses in the Metro East region outside St. Louis and South Suburban Region, which includes Will and Kankakee counties, remain under additional state-imposed COVID-19 mitigation measures after the positivity rates there passed the state’s 8 percent limit.
While the positivity rate in the South Suburban region came in below the limit at 6.9 percent as of September 12, the 14-day average remains above the 6.5 percent level where officials said the added restrictions would be lifted.
The positivity rate in the Metro East region is declining but measured at 9.2 percent as of Saturday, and remains above the 8 percent limit.
The 1,466 COVID-19 cases reported Tuesday are below the current 7-day average of about 1,700, data compiled by WGN shows, while the 20 deaths are near the 7-day average of about 21.
The statewide positivity rate from September 8-14 came in at 3.6 percent, near the 3.5 percent level it was at before rising to around 4 percent in late July.
State officials said 39,031 new tests were performed over the past 24 hours as well. That’s below the current 7-day average of about 47,000, where testing levels have been since late August, according to WGN’s data.
Hospitalizations in Illinois remain within state guidelines, with 1,584 patients hospitalized with COVID-19 as of Monday, including 373 in intensive care and 144 on ventilators. State health officials estimate 96 percent of confirmed cases have recovered.