McHenry County Businesses to Receive Emergency Grants

When people hear news about the state of Illinois and how they’re doing with the novel coronavirus outbreak, 9 of 10 stories are usually about Chicago. Though the entire state is suffering due to the pandemic, like most states in the USA. McHenry County decided to step up and do something incredibly meaningful for 22 small businesses in the area that are suffering. They’re offering grants of $10,000 or $20,000 to struggling small businesses.

Typically, when a business receives any sort of Covid-19 relief, the check is much smaller. With up to $20,000, a business can really be helped. They can make payroll, keep their mortgage and utilities up to date, and purchase the supplies necessary to stay in business. This grant money comes from a pool of $46 million in emergency financial assistance that’s part of the county’s money, the state’s, and the federal government’s CARES Act financial aid.

The governor of the state, J.B. Pritzker, announced on Thursday, August 13, that 22 of the county’s small businesses would be receiving these grants. The catch here is that they will be receiving this money in increments, a few thousand at a time. This idea is not because they cannot afford this money from their relief pool; rather, it’s to help businesses out over the long term. If they’re receiving smaller injections over time that total up to around $20,000, then they will be able to make better use of the money. At least that’s the thinking of the state government.

This is also another chance for Illinois to show their commitment to minority business owners in the area. Over half of the number of recipients, 14 of the 22, were chosen specifically because they were minority owned business. African American and Latino businesses are taking precedence over other businesses during this global pandemic, as the state feels it’s more important to assist these businesses so that they stay operational. The remaining 8 businesses to receive grants also include minority businesses, though simply through the luck of the draw and not specifically chosen due to their minority status.

McHenry County is receiving a pretty large portion of the state’s proposed $540 million in grants to assist in Covid-19 relief. Half of this large amount of money will be awarded to childcare providers, as it’s still unclear when schools in the area will open, or even if they will open at all this year. To date, school is on a very fragile schedule, set to attempt opening sometime in September, but no one really expects that schools will open. Therefore, childcare services are going to be a lot busier than usual, as parents are going to have to work and need someone to care for their children.

Pritzker said in a statement that the virus “hits our most vulnerable parts of our community,” continuing that “small businesses….working families [and] communities of color…[pay] the highest price” during the pandemic. The state has been doing well fighting the virus compared to other states in the nation. To date, the state has 200,000 cases, mostly coming from the Chicago area, but unfortunately cases continue to go up despite their best efforts.

The Timeline for Relief

As of right now, there is not exactly a set schedule on when these small businesses will get all of their money. While the money has been earmarked all over the state, Illinois doesn’t simply have the money lying around in a vault somewhere to hand out. So from the small businesses and childcare centers to working families who still need funds, most in the state will be receiving these relief packages in increments, as the state and county is able to put this money together. Though the first round of stimulus money for small businesses has already been given out.

Among the 22 businesses in McHenry County to receive the grant money are: Donna Lowe Salon, Inc, $20,000; DRS Foods, $10,000; Lily Nails, $10,000; T Nails 1 Spa, $10,000; Unique Nails, $10,000; Huntley’s Tacos Locos, $10,000; Rustic Roots Salon, $10,000; and Taqueria Las Cumbres, $20,000, among others. As one might be able to tell from this list, these are mostly very small nail shops, salons and taco places, owned by Latino and African American residents of McHenry County.

The people of McHenry County, like people everywhere, are hoping that we will soon be able to push past this pandemic and get back to business as usual. In the meantime, the state is hoping these grants will help.

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