Illinois COVID-19 small business relief grants prioritized for those impacted by recent rollbacks

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Help for small businesses is coming from the state of Illinois in the form of a second round of COVID-19 relief grants.

The grants total $220 million and those preparing for new restrictions can be first in line. While the grants will not make up for lost revenue, they may be enough for now.

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Gov. JB Pritzker gives the daily COVID-19 briefing on October 21, 2020.

Franky's Red Hots in Addison is getting ready for a state-ordered rollback of operations due to an increase in COVID-19 cases. The owners are trying to remind customers they will be open for takeout.

"People feel they're going to be closed," owner Maria Spano said. "They're not going out to eat, which isn't terrible, but for business owners like us, it does hurt us."

Maria and Frank Spano said it's already been a tough few months with at this restaurant and another in Saint Charles.

"I started this 23 years ago. This is my livelihood," Frank Spano said. "Now you're picking on a small business."

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With a new round of grant money, Illinois is offering priority for grants to businesses impacted in the most recent rollbacks. Applications from Small businesses in Will, Kankakee, Kane and DuPage counties will be put ahead of other areas where operations can continue as normal.

"We try and speed up the process and delivery of dollars directly to those businesses," Gov. Pritzker said.

The governor emphasized help for small businesses with the business interruption grants at DLV Printing in Chicago, which received a grant in the first round. Owner Vernita Johnson says their $20,000 grant allowed her to stay in business when her clients cancelled orders.

"That will probably take us over for winter and hopefully next year we will be back," Johnson said.

Back in Addison, the Spanos welcome the help but don't expect it to go far.

"It helps. For one month. But it's not a long term solution," they said.

For now, the Spanos are trying to make sure customers feel safe and hope they will come back for takeout.
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