State offers lifeline to devastated hospitality industry

Restaurants, bars and small hotels that have been most affected by coronavirus outbreak can apply to receive up to $50K through the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

Mar.March 26, 2020 12:39 PM
Governor of Illinois J. B. Pritzker (Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Governor of Illinois J. B. Pritzker (Credit: Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

Restaurants, bars and hotels in Chicago and across the state have been decimated by the coronavirus crisis.

Now, Illinois is set to provide $14 million in grants to those businesses whose revenues have been most affected, according to Block Club.

The program, known as the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program, is intended to help bars, restaurants and small hotels cover payroll, rent and changes in technology and job training, according to the report.

The funds will be distributed on a sliding scale based on a business’ revenue for 2019.

Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million are eligible for up to $25,000, and those brought in less than $500,000 can receive as much as $10,000. Hotels that made less than $8 million in 2019 can receive up to $50,000.

Chicago and the rest of the state is still under a stay-at-home order, which has instructed nonessential businesses to close. Bars and restaurants remain open but not for dine-in services.

Chicago hotels have been hit especially hard. Occupancy dropped about 70 percent last week at city hotels, according to hospitality data firm STR. That’s roughly on par with the national average.

As a result, numerous hotels shuttered temporarily, including the 1,544-key Hilton Chicago, one of the market’s largest hotels. The city is now beginning a program that will use thousands of empty hotel rooms for people who have been diagnosed with or exposed to coronavirus.

The coronavirus-caused devastation could be seen most dramatically today, when the Department of Labor reported that more than 3 million people across the U.S. filed for unemployment in the past week. [Block Club]Brianna Kelly

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