REPORT: HOW THE AMERICAN RESCUE PLAN HELPED ILLINOIS SMALL BUSINESSES THROUGH THE PANDEMIC

In March 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan into law, delivering billions of dollars in economic relief for workers, families, and small businesses across the country. Here’s a look at how the American Rescue Plan helped families across Illinois:

In Illinois, 1.2 million small businesses account for 99.6% of businesses, employing 44.8% of all workers statewide. The American Rescue Plan rushed critical COVID supplies to hospitals and first responders, boosted vaccine distribution in the early days of the Biden Administration, funded safety improvements in schools, and spent billions supporting state and local governments and their economies.

A large part of this emergency aid was targeted directly at small businesses and their employees. For families struggling to make ends meet, the assistance offered by the American Rescue Plan was a lifeline.

Today, not only did the American Rescue Plan ensure that hundreds of thousands of small businesses hit by the pandemic survived, and millions of workers could support their families, it laid the groundwork for an economic boom we’re now starting to see. In Illinois alone, more than 197,000 new business applications were filed in 2021.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans

  • Paycheck Protection Program loans allowed businesses to apply for low-interest private loans to meet payroll and certain other costs. The loans could be partially or fully forgiven if the business kept employees on payroll and kept their wages stable.
  • From January to May 2021, Illinois small businesses received 435,736 PPP loans worth a total of $15.3 billion, according to the U.S. Small Business Administration. Hundreds of thousands of businesses and their employees are afloat today thanks to the American Rescue Plan.

Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF) Grants

  • Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants provided restaurants with funding equal to their pandemic-related revenue loss, limited to $10 million per business and no more than $5 million per physical location. Restaurants are not required to repay the funding as long as funds are used for eligible purposes by March 2023.
  • The American Rescue Plan distributed Restaurant Revitalization Funds to 4,542 Illinois restaurants, totaling over $1.4 billion. The average grant was $312,430 per restaurant, helping small businesses weather the pandemic.
  • According to the National Restaurant Association, over 45,000 restaurant jobs in Illinois were saved as a result of the initial round of Restaurant Revitalization Fund grants.

Shuttered Venue Operators Grants (SVOG)

  • The Shuttered Venue Operators Grants provided emergency assistance to support the ongoing operations of live venues and other performing arts businesses impacted by the pandemic, with grants available for up to $10 million.
  • The American Rescue Plan distributed funding to Illinois entertainment venues through 840 Shuttered Venue Operators Grants, totalling $550 million statewide. Thanks to the American Rescue Plan, concert venues, arts centers, and entertainment centers all across Illinois are still up and running.