Naperville offering grants for small businesses affected by COVID-19

  • Naperville is offering grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Community leaders have said several establishments are struggling under additional restrictions, particularly an indoor dining ban placed on bars and restaurants.

      Naperville is offering grants of up to $5,000 to small businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Community leaders have said several establishments are struggling under additional restrictions, particularly an indoor dining ban placed on bars and restaurants. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer, May 2020

 
 
Updated 11/11/2020 3:53 PM

Naperville is offering grants of up to $5,000 to assist small businesses that have been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Working with the Naperville Development Partnership and the Naperville Area Chamber of Commerce, the city has earmarked a total of $100,000 for the program, funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act, according to a news release.

 

The money can help local business owners cover expenses, such as payroll, rent, mortgage costs, personal protective equipment or building modifications to meet public health guidelines.

An indoor dining ban and other coronavirus mitigation efforts have been in effect for more than two weeks in DuPage, Will, Kane and Kankakee counties amid a recent surge in cases. Test positivity rates and hospital admissions have continued to rise, prompting tighter rules to be implemented Wednesday in those two public health regions, including reducing the size of parties eating outdoors from 10 to six and limiting social gatherings from 25 to 10 people per room.

Many Naperville-area bars and restaurants have been struggling under the additional restrictions, community leaders said last week as they grappled over how to slow the spread of the virus while avoiding a major hit to the local economy.

Businesses have been adapting on the fly and developing creative ways to operate under the new guidelines. But a recent survey conducted by the chamber of commerce shows some are "near their breaking point," said Reba Osborne, director of government affairs.

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"Many of them are small business owners who do not have large amounts of capital to keep them floating through rough times," she said in a statement. "Owners are forced to lay off good reliable employees who they may not be able to get back once the mitigations are lifted. There are many unknowns which run counter to being able to make sound financial business decisions."

The city has enacted several executive orders and implemented a six-month waiver of liquor and tobacco license fees to help ease the burden. Offering grants is the next step in Naperville's relief efforts, Mayor Steve Chirico said.

"This new grant funding provides another form of support to our small businesses as they do their very best during these challenging times to stay afloat," Chirico said.

Businesses with up to 50 employees are eligible if they had less than $2 million in annual revenue in 2019 and are able to document the pandemic's negative impact on income levels. Applicants also must be open within city limits with a valid certificate of occupancy and owned by a U.S. citizen or legal resident.

Those who meet basic requirements will be evaluated based on need, the use of funds for eligible expenses, and the ability to create or retain jobs, city officials said. Recipients will be chosen through a lottery system.

The grant application period begins at noon Thursday and closes at 5 p.m. Nov. 19. For information, visit www.naperville.il.us/cdbg.

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