CHICAGO (CBS) — Small businesses in Illinois that have been struggling to survive during the pandemic have only a few days left to apply for grants of up to $150,000 from the state of Illinois’ “Business Interruption Grant” program.

Gov. JB Pritzker said the deadline for applications for the program is at 5 p.m. Tuesday.

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Launched in June, the BIG program set aside $540 million in grants, funded by the federal coronavirus stimulus plan, to small businesses that were forced to close or scale back operations due to the pandemic. Half of the money was reserved specifically for childcare businesses.

Of the $270 million available to all small businesses, $168 million has been distributed so far to 6,300 businesses in 500 cities, according to Pritzker.

The governor said the state will continue issuing grants of $5,000 to $150,000 to small businesses through the end of the year. To date, the average grant is approximately $25,000.

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“If you own a small business, or you know someone who does, make sure that they take the time to submit an application if they qualify,” Pritzker said Thursday afternoon.

To qualify for the grants, businesses were required to demonstrate significant losses since March, and a likelihood of continued loss in revenue. Businesses also must have been open for at least three months prior to March. State officials have said they also would place an emphasis on businesses located in areas that have suffered property damage due to civil unrest.

Pritzker said grants can be used for operational expenses such as personal protective equipment, rent, payroll, utilities, and more.

For full details on qualification requirements and eligible costs, visit the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

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CBS 2 Chicago Staff