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Restaurant Grant 

State Rep. Maurice West, D-Rockford and the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau (RACVB) announced the launch of a $1.5 million state-funded grant program. The funding will provide vital relief to restaurants in Rockford and Winnebago County that suffered skyrocketing unemployment insurance rates resulting from state-mandated closures during the first quarter of 2021. RACVB will serve as the grant administrator, overseeing the application and distribution of funds to eligible restaurants in Winnebago County.

“Rockford and Winnebago County restaurants were hit hard by the Covid-19 pandemic and unfortunately the impact of the pandemic has continued to follow them because they followed the rules. With this grant program, we're taking meaningful steps to support those who diligently followed closure mandates in 2021, remain operational to this day, and have been facing increased unemployment insurance rates,” Rep. Maurice West said. “This assistance will help ensure the resilience and vitality of our restaurant industry, a cornerstone of our community's culture and economy.” 

The application window opens on February 26, 2024, and will remain open until 5 p.m. March 28. Prospective applicants are encouraged to submit their applications and necessary documents via the online application below. This streamlined process typically takes less than an hour to complete and requires payroll forms and related documentation.

The RACVB reserves the right, in its sole judgement, to reject any application. It will consider applications and make awards in keeping with agreements made by and between the RACVB and the State of Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity for the use of funds for their intended purposes. Information provided in this news release and via other means is intended to be informational and may not include all grant requirements or parameters under consideration.

Applications for the Winnebago County COVID-19 Restaurant Relief Grant are currently closed

Stay tuned for upcoming grant opportunities. 

Contact for More Information:


Grant News Release

Award News Release

FAQ click here to read our Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Grant Help Sessions

Join us for help sessions on March 4 (9-10 a.m.) or March 8 (2-3 p.m.) hosted by RACVB Vice President of Finance and Administration, Joanne Nold and president/CEO John Groh. These help sessions will provide guidance on the required information and documentation and address any other questions restaurant owners may have. If you are unable to attend one of the below sessions, they will be recorded and made available for viewing later, ensuring accessibility for all applicants. Secure your spot for these informative sessions below.

March 4, 2024 Webinar Recording 


March 8, 2024 Webinar Recording