HERE ARE SOME HELPFUL RESOURCES AS YOUR BUSINESS IS MAKING PLANS TO RESPOND TO COVID-19

QUICK LINKS

NEW!!  Illinois Liquor Control Commission COVID-19 Compliance FAQs
STAY AT HOME FAQS
Small Business Resilience Toolkit
Small Business Resilience Quick Action Guide
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
US Chamber of Commerce
Lake County Health Department
Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
Common Issues Small Businesses May Encounter
SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan
Accion’s Small Business Pandemic Funding Options
Stay-At-Home Order Illinois

The Lake County Health Department has enacted bi-weekly phone briefings for the business community, to be held each Tuesday and Thursday from 11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. to provide the latest updates and answer questions. Recordings of previous briefings are now saved online here.

The U.S. Chamber has created a guide to help small businesses, independent contractors, gig economy workers and other qualifying individuals prepare to file for a coronavirus relief loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security(CARES) Act. –

Briefing on Emergency Coronavirus Funding for 501(c)(3) Nonprofits – U.S. Chamber Foundation president Carolyn Cawley and U.S. Chamber chief policy officer Neil Bradley—or would like to view it again, please click here to watch the video.

COVID-19 Blog Posts

North Suburban Region 9 Returns to Phase 4 in the Restore Illinois Plan

Effective today, North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry Counties, has met the criteria set by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to move from Tier 1 mitigations to Phase 4 under the State’s Restore Illinois Plan.

“We’re excited to see the transmission of the virus declining to allow for additional loosening of restrictions,” said Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health. “The way forward, to Phase 5, will continue to demand that we practice the universal precautions to minimize the circulation of the virus. This includes staying home if you feel ill or were in contact with someone who is known to have the virus. Someone who gets the virus might be asymptomatic, but that individual is still able to pass the virus along to someone who might not be as fortunate.”

As of January 31, Region 9’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 6.2% calculated on a 7-day rolling average. The region’s testing positivity rate has been below 6.5% for three consecutive days, staffed intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability has risen to above 30%, and decreases in COVID-19 patients in the hospital have been reported in 10 of the past 10 days.

Phase 4 Guidelines now in effect for Region 9 include the following:

Bars and Restaurants

  • Indoor dining and drinking now permitted for parties of up to 10 people.
  • Seated areas should be arranged so that tables allow for 6 feet between parties; impermeable barriers may be installed between booths which are less than 6 feet apart.

Retail and Service Counters

  • Capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy.

Personal Care

  • Capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy.

Indoor/Outdoor Recreation

  • Reopening select indoor recreation facilities (e.g., bowling alleys, skating rinks); indoor playgrounds and trampoline parks should remain closed.
  • Indoor recreation to operate at lesser of 50 customers or 50% of facility capacity.

Museums

  • Capacity limit of no more than 25% occupancy.
  • Guided tours should be limited to 50 or fewer people per group.

Meetings and Social Events

  • Limit to the lesser of 50 people or 50% of room capacity.
  • Multiple groups may meet in the same facility if they are socially distanced and in separate rooms.

Complete Phase 4 guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website.

“The COVID-19 vaccine is an important tool to help us end the pandemic, but demand for the vaccine vastly outpaces our supply, and we urge people to be patient,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department. “While you wait for your turn to get the vaccine, remember that we still have the power through simple everyday actions to prevent the spread of this virus. Continue to follow the 3 Ws: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance. If you are exposed to COVID-19, follow public health guidance to quarantine yourself and protect others. When these preventative measures are taken, the risks of COVID-19 spreading are greatly reduced.”

IDPH will continue to track the metrics in Region 9 to determine if additional mitigations are required. Information about mitigation and resurgence metrics can be found on the IDPH website at http://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics. Metrics are updated daily, including testing positivity rates, ICU capacity, and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Additional Information

Everyone should continue to follow the 3 Ws to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your distance

For trusted information on the COVID-19 pandemic from reputable state and federal sources, visit the State of Illinois, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

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Media Contacts:

Lake County Health Department: Hannah Goering, (847) 377-2001, COVIDmedia@lakecountyil.gov

McHenry County Department of Health: Lindsey Salvatelli, (815) 236-3238 LRSalvatelli@mchenrycountyil.gov

North Suburban Region 9 Returns to Tier 1 Mitigation for COVID-19

Effective today, North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry Counties, has met the criteria set by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) to move from Tier 2 to Tier 1 mitigations under the State’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan. Mitigation measures are strategies, such as restrictions on certain activities, put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

“Our health departments are encouraged by the improvements in our Region 9 metrics, and we thank everyone for taking precautions to help us move in the right direction,” said Mark Pfister, Executive Director of the Lake County Health Department. “Our counties continue to see substantial levels of COVID-19 transmission, and we must remain vigilant against this virus. Continue to follow the 3 Ws: Wear a mask, wash your hands, and watch your distance – when these everyday measures are taken, the risks of COVID-19 spreading are greatly reduced.”

As of January 23, Region 9’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 7.2%, calculated on a 7-day rolling average. The region’s testing positivity rate has been below 8% for three consecutive days, staffed intensive care unit (ICU) bed availability continues to be above 20%, and decreases in COVID-19 patients in the hospital have been reported in 8 of the past 10 days.

Tier 1 mitigation measures now in effect for Region 9 include:

Bars and Restaurants

  • Must close at 11 p.m. and may reopen no earlier than 6 a.m. the following day
  • Indoor service limited to the lesser of 25 guests or 25% capacity per room
  • Establishments offering indoor service must serve food
  • Indoor service reservations limited to 2-hour maximum duration
  • Maximum 4 persons per party (dining only with members of the same household recommended)
  • All bar and restaurant patrons should be seated at tables
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table
  • Includes private clubs and country clubs

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings (including weddings, funerals, potlucks, etc.)

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity
    • Applicable to professional, cultural and social group gatherings.
    • Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning, or sports.
    • This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general Phase 4 business guidance such as office, personal care, retail, etc.
  • No party buses

Organized group recreational activities (fitness centers, sports, etc.)

  • Sports should follow the mitigation measures set forth in the All Sports Guidelines, which outlines appropriate levels of practice and competition based on individual sport risk
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times in fitness centers, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing
  • Recreation, fitness centers and outdoor activities (not included in the above exposure settings) follow Phase 4 guidance

“Our region’s success is based on all of us doing our part to lessen the opportunity for the virus to spread, but we can’t let our defenses down now,” said Melissa Adamson, Public Health Administrator for the McHenry County Department of Health. “We have a vaccine, and that is one more tool we have to end this pandemic, but vaccine supplies remain low. Until the vaccine availability increases for everyone, it is imperative that we continue to stay home when we are sick and get tested if we’ve been exposed to someone with the virus.”

To move into Phase 4, Region 9 must meet:

  • Testing positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a 3-day period (7-day average), AND
  • Staffed ICU bed availability ≥ 20% for three consecutive days (7-day average), AND
  • The region has no sustained increase in COVID-19 patients in the hospital (7-day average for 7 of 10 days).

IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 9 in the coming days to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place.

Additional Information

Everyone should continue to follow the 3 Ws to slow the spread of COVID-19:

  • Wear a mask
  • Wash your hands
  • Watch your distance

To view the North Suburban Region metrics on the Illinois Department of Public Health website, visit http://www.dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics and select Region 9. Metrics are updated daily, including testing positivity rates, ICU capacity, and COVID-19 hospitalizations.

For trusted information on the COVID-19 pandemic from reputable state and federal sources, visit the State of IllinoisIllinois Department of Public Health, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) websites.

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Media Contacts:

Lake County Health Department: Hannah Goering, (847) 377-2001, COVIDmedia@lakecountyil.gov

McHenry County Department of Health: Lindsey Salvatelli, (815) 236-3238 LRSalvatelli@mchenrycountyil.gov

CARES Act Funded PPP Loan Program Resumes Application Acceptance

The PPP program is designed to help small businesses maintain payroll in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses who enroll in the program will receive a forgivable loan to use for payroll purposes, in addition to helping pay for utilities, rent, mortgage interest payments, and more. New loans are capped at $2 million, compared to $10 million before. Applicants must have no more than 300 employees, instead of up to 500, and must demonstrate at least a 25 percent drop in revenues from the fourth quarter of 2019 to the same period in 2020. The bill expands the type of covered expenses to include things like cloud computing or remote-work software; and equipment for government-mandated sanitation and social-distancing, like sneeze guards or air filtration systems.

These are called “second draw” loans, applicants who meet the qualifications above, can apply even if they previously received assistance through the CARES Act PPP Program. Details are included in the links below.

  • Key Dates: The SBA resumed acceptance of PPP applications on January 11, 2021. Visit the SBA Website for PPP Application Information for more details. The portal will initially accept First Draw PPP loan applications from participating CFIs, which include Community Development Financial Institutions, Minority Depository Institutions, Certified Development Companies, and Microloan Intermediaries.
  • Lender Information: PPP loans will be 100% federally guaranteed but handled by SBA-certified lenders. Lending institutions that are not currently SBA-certified but want to participate should email DelegatedAuthority@sba.gov.
  • Application Information: The deadline for the latest round of applications for a PPP Loan is March 31, 2021.

Second Round of PPP Loans

North Suburban Region 9 to Enter Mitigation for COVID-19

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced that COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in the North Suburban Region 9, which includes Lake and McHenry Counties, beginning 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, October 31, 2020.

As of October 25, the region’s COVID-19 testing positivity rate is 8.4%. Region 9 has seen a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceed the thresholds set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.

Mitigation measures are strategies, such as restrictions on certain activities, put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19. Region 9 restrictions will remain in effect until the region’s positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% over a 3-day period.

Mitigation measures taking effect October 31 in Region 9 include:   READ MORE >>>

Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)

The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is a $636 million program developed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. BIG leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses.

BIG is the largest program of its kind in the nation – leveraging federal CARES Act funds to establish economic recovery programs: over $270 million for small businesses, and another $270 million exclusively for childcare providers, administered jointly by DCEO and IDHS.

Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs as defined in the eligible cost list found below.

Important Application Updates: Applications for a second round of funding are now live. A total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses of all types in Illinois. If you have questions or are experiencing technical difficulties, please submit a question to the BIG Helpdesk via the following forms for assistance with your application in either English or Spanish. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, with funding priorities outlined below. Please take care to submit a complete and correct application. Additional time needed to submit will not impact your eligibility or chances of receiving a grant.

READ MORE >>>

Gov. Pritzker Announces $245 Million in Grants for Businesses and Communities Impacted by COVID-19 and Civil Unrest

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Tuesday, Sept. 15, 2020

CONTACT

Gov.Press@illinois.gov

$220 Million Available for Business Owners through Second Round of the Business Interruption Grants; $25 Million Available for Communities through the Rebuild Distressed Communities Program.

 CHICAGO — Governor JB Pritzker joined the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) today in the Bronzeville community to announce the latest in a series of grants made available for small businesses in Illinois suffering losses as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic as well as communities impacted by the recent civil unrest. Applications for the second round of the Business Interruption Grants (BIG) program will be made available this Thursday afternoon and will offer $220 million in funds for small businesses hit hardest by the ongoing pandemic. The Governor also announced applications for the new Rebuild Distressed Communities (RDC) program will become available in the coming weeks. This program will provide $25 million in funding to cover the cost of civil-unrest related repairs while also supporting new investments in economically distressed communities across Illinois.

“Support for small businesses has been one of the central features of our COVID-19 response: Helping entrepreneurs stay afloat, giving business owners the help necessary to keep the lights on and payroll flowing, is vital to preserving jobs and businesses until we get to the other side of this pandemic,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “These two new programs, combined with the first round of Business Interruption Grants, deliver nearly $300 million in aid to the very small businesses that bring jobs and vibrancy to their communities –offering them increased stability so those jobs and that vibrancy can live on.”

BIG continues to prioritize equity by setting aside a substantial portion of funds for businesses located in economically vulnerable communities. The second round of BIG builds on over $49 million in grants awarded just last month – with initial grants allocated to approximately 2,800 businesses in 400 communities in every corner of the state. Application information for the second round of funds and can be found on DCEO’s website at Illinois.gov/dceo and the application form will open for submissions later this week.

The second wave of funds from BIG aims to provide relief for all types of small businesses, with a focus on businesses located downstate or in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs). The latest wave of funding includes the following provisions to ensure a wide distribution of funds geographically and across business type:

  • Heavily Impacted Industries$60 million for heavily distressed industries, such as movie theatres, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, event spaces located at banquet halls and hotels, and more.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas – $70 million set aside for DIAs, defined by zip codes identified by the General Assembly for communities that are most economically distressed and vulnerable to COVID-19.  A map of DIAs can be accessed here.
  • Downstate Communities – DCEO has committed to ensuring that at least half of all remaining funds, totaling more than $100 million, are reserved for businesses in downstate and rural communities of Illinois.
  • Priority Businesses Apart from the $60 million for heavily impacted industries, applications from the following types of businesses will be prioritized for review for remaining funds:  businesses directly affected by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments, independently owned retail, tourism- and hospitality-related industries including accommodations, and more.
  • Agriculture – $5 million of the remainder of funds will be set aside for livestock production disruptions.
  • Grants and Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan recipientsAs authorized by the General Assembly, DCEO will offer grants for businesses that have incurred eligible costs to offset loans received under the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan program.  This round of loan forgiveness and grants will go to businesses that have received loans or remain on the wait list and the program will sunset going forward as DCEO and its partners focus on making BIG awards.

“From day one of this crisis, the Pritzker administration has prioritized bold and equitable solutions to address the issues facing businesses and communities across our state as a result of COVID-19,” said Director of DCEO, Erin B. Guthrie. “While the first round of funds has helped 2,800 businesses in 78 counties across the state make ends meet, an additional $200 million in BIG grants will help ensure that even more businesses across our state have a shot at unlocking funds that will help them pay the rent, the payroll and other costs to help them safely reopen and regain their livelihoods.”

“The pandemic has taken a real toll on our community, our restaurant and our staff in ways we could never have prepared for. As a full-service restaurant, accustomed to serving hundreds of guests daily, suddenly we found ourselves with an empty dining room, our table servers missing out on much needed income and skyrocketing operating expenses, including new costs for protecting our staff and our guests,” said Darrell Green, Co-Owner of Pearl’s Place Restaurant in Bronzeville. “Along comes the State of Illinois’ BIG grant, which offered us much needed resources for PPE to protect our team and maintain a safe environment for our guests. This grant is helping us to do our part in rebuilding public confidence to welcome more of our customers back safely.”

Earlier this year, DCEO issued a Notice of Funding Opportunity and has identified a qualified administrator to disburse the remaining funds for BIG throughout the rest of the year. Working with administrators Accion and the Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC), the department will take a tailored approach to processing grants in this round. Grants will range from $5,000 to $150,000, commensurate with revenue losses incurred and business size.

“This additional funding is critical for Chicago’s diverse business community, which has faced significant economic impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Alderman Pat Dowell (3rd Ward). “The most recent round of grants will help lift small businesses, like Pearl’s Place, that are an integral part of the Bronzeville community. I thank the Governor and his administration for continuing to support our vibrant business community throughout the ongoing pandemic.”

Eligible businesses will include for-profit and nonprofit entities with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 (annualized for businesses that started after January 2019). All businesses that receive a BIG award must have experienced losses due to COVID-19 that exceed the size of the award.

“The hotel industry has been an integral part of the state’s economy and the anchor of our tourism industry. We generate over $4 billion in state and local taxes a year supporting more than 290,000 jobs and generating $16 billion in wages and salaries to hard working men and work in Illinois. Unfortunately, this pandemic has decimated our industry overnight,” said Michael Jacobson, President of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association. “As hundreds of hotels throughout the state struggle to survive, some of whom remain shuttered altogether, this is a positive step towards providing much needed assistance to the Illinois hospitality community. As one of the largest employers in the state, these grants provide a much-needed lifeline to the hotel industry while we await the opportunity to welcome back visitors and put people back to work.”

“Over the past six months, our Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation has heard from hundreds of business owners who have suffered significant financial losses due to COVID-19. Many who have received emergency assistance have found that they still need additional support to keep their businesses afloat and to continue to provide jobs and goods and services in their communities,” said Karen Freeman Wilson, CEO of the Chicago Urban League. “These programs offer a real opportunity for businesses and communities to recover. We are pleased to continue working with Governor Pritzker and his team to help distribute grants to small business owners, as well as to provide business coaching, mentorship, and technical assistance where it is needed.”

“This round of BIG grants will offer a lifeline to the devastated Illinois cultural sector. Our beloved music venues, performing arts centers, museums and other critical community assets remain either fully closed or severely restricted given capacity limitations, and we have yet to see a light at the end of the tunnel in terms of reopening,” said Claire Rice, Executive Director of Arts Alliance Illinois. “This type of government support is essential to our field as the COVID crisis continues, and we will need our Illinois artists and creative workers more than ever to connect us to our collective humanity, both during the pandemic and into our future.”

DCEO will also oversee the distribution of grants through the RDC program. Supported by the Rebuild Illinois capital plan, RDC funds will be made available to help businesses and economically distressed

communities cover the cost of repairs already incurred, while making way for capital work to address eligible repairs or community improvements still needed in response to civil unrest. RDC funded projects may range in size from $1,000 to $200,000, based on

eligibility and the extent of the damages. DCEO will prioritize contractors from minority, women, and veteran owned businesses to perform the work, and reimbursements will begin in the coming weeks for damages which have already been incurred.

To coordinate reimbursement and capital repairs, the State of Illinois has selected two community development organizations – the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) and the Chicago Neighborhood Initiative (CNI). LISC and CNI were selected via a competitive process and will conduct outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors to perform repairs, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and new building improvements for businesses in eligible communities across the state. Additionally, LISC will host the application for the grants on its website.

“LISC is committed to supporting and strengthening communities by increasing opportunities for residents who live, work and do business throughout Illinois,” said Meghan Harte, Executive Director of LISC Chicago. “We are thrilled to be a part of Rebuild Distressed Communities and continue to invest in the prosperity and wellbeing of businesses that need it most.”

Eligibility for the RDC grants requires businesses and nonprofits to demonstrate property damage as a result of civil unrest on or after May 25, 2020 and be located in economically distressed zip codes identified by DCEO as having sustained property damage due to civil unrest.

“We know businesses and their employees are hurting during this difficult time, particularly those in communities where resources are scarce,” said David Doig, President of CNI, a nonprofit community development organization. “CNI is honored to be joining forces with the DCEO and LISC to help businesses in under-resourced communities gain access to the financial support they need to recover as quickly as possible.”

To promote equity in the program, priority for grant funding will be given to small businesses with 50 employees or fewer, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, and inherently essential businesses – like grocery stores – in economically distressed areas. DCEO has created a list of impacted zip codes to help determine eligibility of project location, found here. For businesses that have sustained property damages during civil unrest but not located in a predetermined zip code, they may work with DCEO’s administrative partners to apply and request that their zip code be added to the list of eligible zip codes.

BIG and RDC build on a menu of small business and community relief programs created by the administration since COVID-19 first hit – with over $500 million in grants and programs launched by DCEO, including emergency hospitality grants, a downstate small business stabilization program, Fast Track Capital, and more. For more information on programs available for businesses and communities, please visit DCEO’s website.

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