Aid for struggling small businesses in Illinois to start flowing | Government and Politics

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SPRINGFIELD — Financial aid is about to start flowing for Illinois businesses that have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity published emergency rules this week to implement the Business Interruption Grant program, or BIG. Those rules took effect July 21 when they were submitted to the secretary of state’s office.

State lawmakers authorized the program in the budget they approved during their special session in May. It will make $636 million in federal CARES Act money available to small businesses that have been forced to close or that have seen a substantial loss of customer activity due to COVID-19.

“The Business Interruption Grant program, otherwise known as BIG, is a key component of Governor Pritzker’s comprehensive response to COVID-19 and the economic distress it’s caused for Illinois businesses and communities,” DCEO spokeswoman Lauren Huffman said in an email. “This historic $636 million program …

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