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INDIAN CREEK – Assistance for restaurants, hotels and other small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak is available through two new state programs, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced Thursday.

“This pandemic is having major repercussions on our local businesses, many of which have had to close temporarily,” Link said. “It’s critical that our state finds ways to help them through this difficult time.”

To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for sm​all businesses outside of Chicago.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

“These businesses are central to our communities, and we have a responsibility to do everything we can to help them face these new challenges,” Link said.

Applications to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27.

The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here. A Spanish-language application is available here.

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