PARIS, Ill. (WTWO/WAWV) – Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker announced last week that small businesses affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic can now apply for the first wave of Back to Business grants.

These funds, and previous state funds, are crucial for small businesses to their doors open.

Lynn Holloway, Owner of the Main Street Cafe, said that government funds allowed her to keep the business running as smoothly as it could. She said that she was able to keep her entire staff.

“It always helps to have some support,” Holloway said. “It helped financially because we never did layoff any employees.”

Kiley Ryan began working at the café just a week before shutdowns started to take effect throughout Illinois. She explained that there was uncertainty at the beginning of the pandemic.

“There was many times that I’m like people are just going to get laid off or we’re not going to have our jobs,” Ryan said. “Everyone’s just going to get shutdown where no one will have work.”

However, Holloway and the business weathered the initial hit with the help the community committed to take-out orders and government funds. This enable Holloway to kept her staff onboard.

“She always finds time to fit people in and everyone has an option to work,” Ryan said.