State’s battered hospitality industry gets $10M in emergency grants

Just 700 of 12K hotels and restaurants that applied were able to collect

Chicago /
Apr.April 09, 2020 09:25 AM
The state Department of Economic Commerce & Opportunity, whose acting director is Erin Guthrie, is administering the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. (Credit: background by Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

The state Department of Economic Commerce & Opportunity, whose acting director is Erin Guthrie, is administering the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. (Credit: background by Jim Vondruska/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Thousands of bars, restaurants and hotels around Illinois have been shuttered since the statewide stay-at-home order took effect last month. Now, a fraction of those will be getting some financial relief.

About 700 of them will receive a total of more than $10 million through the state Hospitality Emergency Grant Program, according to Crain’s. The funding, from the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, had originally been set aside for tourism.

With the economy reeling, over 12,000 Illinois hotels and restaurants applied for the funding, according to the report. The businesses were selected at random. The volume of applications is another stark example of the need, ever since Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that all nonessential businesses statewide must close to help contain the spread of the coronavirus. The order has been extended through the end of the month.

In total, 250 small hotels will each receive about $30,000 to help pay workers and business expenses, and 450 restaurants and bars will each get $14,000, Crain’s reported. Chicago hotels in particular have been battered, with occupancy now in the single-digits, according to the latest report.
The Hospitality Emergency Grant is the latest effort to help prop up the state’s economy. This week, Cook County said it will provide $10 million in no-interest loans to small businesses, gig workers and independent contractors, though it was unclear whether real estate agents would qualify. Among other measures, Chicago has also created a Small Business Resiliency Fund, which received 4,500 applications on its first day of enrollment. [Crain’s] — Alexi Friedman


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