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State of Illinois and City of Chicago Offer Businesses Additional Coronavirus Relief as Loans and Grants  

by Todd Gale

Published: March, 2020

Submission: March, 2020


The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (the Department) and the City of Chicago (the City) are providing emergency assistance for Illinois small businesses. These grants and loans are separate from incentives and programs being offered by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Information about the programs and how to apply is set forth below. Some of the details regarding the loans, specifically the interest rate, have not been made available by the Department or the City.

The Department’s Programs

1. The Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is a $14 million grant fund to help hospitality businesses that have suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

How much money is available?

  • Bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $10,000
  • Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $25,000
  • Hotels that generated less than $8 million in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $50,000

Who is eligible?

  • Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and that generated revenues of less than $1 million in 2019
  • Hotels with a valid license (hotels, motels other lodging establishments) and who generated revenues of less than $8 million in 2019

What can grant funds be used for?

Bars and Restaurants:

  • To support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable)
  • Job training (such as new practices related to take-out, delivery and sanitation)
  • Technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology


  • To support working capital and to support the retention of employees

How do businesses apply?

Submit an application online here: Landing PageEnglish ApplicationSpanish Application

Applications will only be accepted until 5 p.m. on April 1, 2020

Awards will be made through a lottery system

How soon will businesses receive funds?

  • Award notifications will be sent on April 4, 2020
  • The Department is striving to make funds available to awarded businesses within two days of receiving the necessary bank information from an awarded grantee

2. The Department and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation are establishing the $60 million Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund.

How much money is available?

Up to $50,000 per borrower.

Who is eligible?

  • Businesses located outside the City of Chicago
  • Fewer than 50 employees
  • Under $3 million in 2019 revenue

What are the loan terms?

  • No payments due in the first six months
  • Fixed payments thereafter at below-market interest rate
  • five-year repayment term

How do businesses apply?

Applications opened on March 27, 2020; interested businesses should submit an expression of interest here.

3. The Department is repurposing $20 million in Community Development Block Grant funds to establish the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program.

How much money is available?

Up to $25,000 per applicant.

Who is eligible?

Small businesses with up to 50 employees.

What can grants be used for?

Grants can be used to support working capital.

How do businesses apply?

  • To apply, the small business must partner with its local government to apply for an obtain grant funds
  • The unit of local government applies on behalf of a business
  • Only units of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution and able to support economic development on a sufficient scale can apply
  • Must NOT be a HUD direct Entitlement community or be located in an urban county that receives Entitlement funds (detailed information is available here)
  • Application materials are posted to the Department website.

How soon will businesses receive funds?

The Department’s goal is to execute grants within 30 days of application receipt, after which funds will be accessible.

The City’s Program

The City is establishing a $100 millionChicago Small Business Resiliency Fund. It aims to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate COVID-19 health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans. Neither the maximum loan amount nor the interest rate has yet been made available by the City.

Loan applications will be administered through the City’s Community Development Financial Institution partners. The City has pledged to make more information about administration available prior to March 31, 2020.

Who is eligible?

To qualify, the borrower must:

  • Have suffered more than 25 percent revenue decrease due to COVID-19
  • Employ fewer than 50 employees
  • Have gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019
  • Provide a City business address or City business license
  • Have no pre-existing tax liens or legal judgments

What are the loan terms?

  • “Low-interest” loans for a term of up to five years
  • Proceeds are required to be used for working capital
  • At least 50 percent of proceeds should be applied toward payroll and commitment to retain the workforce at 50 percent of pre-COVID-19 levels

What other information must applicants submit?

  • Bank statements dating back to October 2019
  • Most recent tax return
  • Photo ID (CityKey will be accepted)

How do businesses apply?

Starting March 31, 2020, businesses can apply here

We will continue to supplement this alert as more information on this Program becomes available. For more information, please contact Steven Mroczkowski (312-627-2547 or [email protected]) or your Dykema relationship attorney.

Stay ahead of emerging issues with Dykema's COVID-19 Legal Resource Center and subscribe to all relevant publications so you can easily leverage information, stay up to date on evolving developments, and better position yourself for success.






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