From taco shops to CrossFit gyms, day spas to pest control providers, the state of Illinois on Wednesday released $46 million in grant funding to a range of small businesses across the state that have seen their operations interrupted during the coronavirus pandemic.
The grants, which range from $10,000 to $20,000 are headed to 2,655 small businesses, the first round of funding from the Business Interruption Grant program, funded by federal CARES Act dollars.
Recipients are able to use the grants for payroll costs, rent, utilities, equipment and other pandemic-related needs, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology. The first round of funding is aimed at businesses that were forced to close fully during the spring, when Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a statewide stay-at-home order, a sweeping measure aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19.
Small businesses that continue to suffer economic hardship due to the pandemic and areas that have experienced property damage and closures as a result of recent civil unrest, are also included.
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday announced 1,645 new confirmed cases of coronavirus and 16 additional deaths, raising the statewide totals to 198,593 known cases and 7,672 deaths throughout the pandemic so far.
The seven-day statewide average positivity rate stood at 4.1% as of Tuesday. The rate was 3% a month earlier.
“My concern is growing each day about the direction our numbers are going,” Illinois Department of Public Health Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said at a news conference in Chicago on Wednesday.
“And I’m not concerned about numbers just for numbers’ sake,” she said. “Remember that the numbers increasing actually represents people infected with this virus. And those people infected with the new virus can go on to get sick, and those people who are sick can go on to be hospitalized, and those people who are hospitalized can go on to have very severe complications, including and up to death.”
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