Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) H.R. 748

UNDERSTANDING THE FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE*

We understand it can be overwhelming to digest the Federal Stimulus Package, so here is a more concise breakdown:

Paycheck Protection Program

Read Info Sheet Here. Click Here for the application form.

The Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) will provide cash-flow assistance through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans (of up to $10 million) to small businesses through December 31, 2020. Importantly, if recipients of a PPP loan maintain payroll through June 30, 2020, and use the funds for eligible purposes, the loan turns into a grant and is forgiven. If a business has already laid off employees, it has until 30 days after the enactment of the act to rehire these employees in order to be considered to have maintained payroll.

The covered loan period for this program begins on February 15, 2020, and ends on June 30, 2020. There is no fee for the loan and no personal guarantee or collateral are required. Businesses and nonprofits with 500 or fewer employees, entities that meet the current Small Business Administration size standards, sole proprietorships, independent contractors, the self-employed, and businesses with multiple locations if they employ no more than 500 employees per physical location.

A business that was in operation on February 15, 2020, and had employees for whom it paid salaries and payroll taxes or independent contractors is eligible for a PPP loan. PPP loans will be distributed in the community by SBA-approved lenders or Department of Treasury-approved PPP lenders.

Recipients of a PPP loan can use the funds for:

  • Payroll costs;
  • Costs related to the continuation of group health care benefits during periods of paid sick, medical, or family leave, and insurance premiums;
  • Employee salaries, commissions, or similar compensations;
  • Payments of interest on any mortgage obligation (not including any prepayment of or payment of principal on a mortgage obligation);
  • Rent (including rent under a lease);
  • Utilities; and
  • Interest on any other debt obligations that were incurred before the covered period

“Payroll costs” include:

  • Salary, wage, or similar compensation;
  • Payment of cash tip or equivalent;
  • Payment for vacation, parental, family, medical, or sick leave;
  • Allowance for dismissal or separation;
  • Payment required for the provisions of group health care benefits including insurance premiums;
  • Payment of retirement benefit; and
  • Payment of state or local tax assessed on the compensation of employees.

“Payroll costs” do not include:

  • Compensation of an individual employee in excess of $100,000 annually, as prorated in the covered period;
  • Taxes imposed or withheld;
  • Compensation of an employee whose principal residence is outside of the U.S.;
  • Qualified sick leave wages under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (already getting tax credit); and
  • Qualified family leave wages under Families First Coronavirus Response Act (already getting tax credit).

PPP loans are eligible for loan forgiveness for an 8-week period beginning on the date of the origination of a covered loan. Loan forgiveness will be in an amount equal to the sum of the following costs incurred and payments made during the covered period:

The amount of loan forgiveness will be reduced proportionally by any reduction in employees during the covered period compared to prior periods. Additionally, the loan will be reduced by the reduction in pay of certain employees in excess of 25 percent. As stated earlier, businesses can rehire employees already laid off and not be penalized.

To apply for loan forgiveness, lenders will require the following:

  • Documentation verifying the number of full-time equivalent employees on payroll and pay rates for the covered period, including:
  • Payroll tax filings reported to the IRS;
  • State income, payroll, and unemployment insurance filings;
  • Documentation, including cancelled checks, payment receipts, transcripts of accounts, or other documents verifying payments on covered mortgage obligations, payments on covered lease obligations, and covered utility payments;
  • A certification that the documentation presented is true and correct and the amount for which loan forgiveness is requested was used to retain employees, make interest payments on a covered mortgage obligation, make payments on a covered rent obligation, or make covered utility payments; and
  • Any other documentation the Administrator determines necessary

Lenders must decide if the recipient of the PPP loan receives forgiveness no later than 60 days after the lender receives an application for loan forgiveness. Canceled indebtedness will not be included in the recipient’s taxable income.

The interest rate for PPP loans cannot exceed 4 percent. Any portion of a PPP loan that is not forgiven will have a term of up to 10 years, repaid with fixed monthly principal and interest payments over the term.

Once the PPP loans are made available, businesses cannot have both an SBA disaster loan and a PPP loan for the same purposes. However, the act allows businesses with an Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) related to COVID-19 to apply for a PPP loan with the option to refinance that loan into the PPP loan. If a business has received an emergency EIDL grant award (described in the following section), that amount will be subtracted from the amount forgiven under the PPP.

Additionally, until January 1, 2021, the maximum 7(a) express loan is $1 million.

When can you apply? 

Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.

Where can you apply?

You can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating. Visit www.sba.gov for a list of SBA lenders.

What do you need to apply?

You will need to complete the Paycheck Protection Program loan application and submit the application with the required documentation to an approved lender that is available to process your application by June 30, 2020. Click HERE for the application.

What other documents will do you need to include?

You will need to provide your lender with payroll documentation.

Emergency EIDL Grants

The act establishes an emergency grant of up to $10,000 for eligible entities that have applied for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) due to COVID-19. Eligible entities can request an advance on that loan which the SBA must distribute within 3 days. A business that receives an EIDL grant is not required to repay the advance, even if the business is later denied an EIDL loan.

Additionally, eligibility for EIDL loans will expand to include those operating as a sole proprietor or independent contractor and private non-profits during the covered period from January 31, 2020, to December 31, 2020.

During the covered period, the SBA will waive personal guarantees on advances and loans below $200,000, the requirement that an applicant needs to have been in business for the 1-year period before the disaster, and the credit elsewhere requirement.

The SBA will approve businesses for an EIDL loan based on:

  • the credit score of the applicant; or
  • an alternative appropriate method to determine applicant’s ability to repay.

Recipients of the EIDL emergency grant can use the funds for:

  • Providing paid sick leave to employees unable to work due to the direct effect of COVID-19
  • Maintaining payroll to retain employees during business disruptions or substantial slowdowns
  • Meeting increased costs to obtain materials unavailable from the applicant’s original source due to interrupted supply chains
  • Making rent or mortgage payments
  • Repaying obligations that cannot be met due to revenue losses

Entrepreneurial Development

The act provides grants for training, resources, and education in the amount of:

  • $240 million in grants for SBA Small Business Development Centers and Women’s Business Centers for counseling, training, and related services for small business owners impacted by COVID-19;
  • $25 million for SBA to provide grants to associations representing resource partners to establish an online platform that consolidates resources across multiple Federal agencies and a training program to educate small business counselors on those resources to ensure counselors are directing small businesses appropriately; and
  • $10 million for minority business centers for technical assistance for businesses.

Subsidy for Certain Loan Payments

The bill appropriates $17 billion for loan subsidies for certain loan payments. A covered loan is an already existing 7(a) (including Community Advantage), 504, or microloan product. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans are not covered.

The SBA is required to pay the principal, interest, and any associated fees that are owed on the covered loans for a six month period starting on the next payment due. Loans that are already on deferment will receive six months of payment by the SBA beginning with the first payment after the deferral period. Loans made up until six months after enactment will also receive a full 6 months of loan payments by the SBA.

The SBA must make payments no later than 30 days after the date on which the first payment is due, including if the loan was sold on a secondary market. Further, the SBA must encourage lenders to provide deferments and allows lenders, up until one year after enactment of the act, to extend the maturity of SBA loans in deferment beyond existing limits.

You can read an FAQ about the SBA loans here and a checklist for what is needed and calculated for the loans here.

Expanded Unemployment Assistance

The bill increases eligibility for unemployment insurance to include the following circumstances:

  • An individual is unemployed, partially unemployed, or unable or unavailable to work because:
    • the individual has been diagnosed with COVID–19 or is experiencing symptoms of COVID–19 and seeking a medical diagnosis;
    • a member of the individual’s household has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
    • the individual is providing care for a family member or a member of the individual’s household who has been diagnosed with COVID–19;
    • a child or other person in the household for which the individual has primary caregiving responsibility is unable to attend school or another facility that is closed as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency and such school or facility care is required for the individual to work;
    • the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because of a quarantine imposed as a direct result of the COVID public health emergency;
    • the individual is unable to reach the place of employment because the individual has been advised by a health care provider to self-quarantine due to concerns related to COVID–19;
    • the individual was scheduled to commence employment and does not have a job or is unable to reach the job as a direct result of the COVID-19 public health emergency;
    • the individual has become the breadwinner or major support for a household because the head of the household has died as a direct result of COVID–19;
    • the individual has to quit his or her job as a direct result of COVID–19;
    • the individual’s place of employment is closed as a direct result of the COVID–19 public health emergency; or
    • or the individual meets any additional criteria established by the Secretary for unemployment assistance under this section.
  • An individual is self-employed or otherwise would not qualify for regular unemployment or extended benefits and meets the above requirements.

An individual is not eligible if he/she has the ability to telework with pay or is receiving paid sick or other paid leave benefits.

The expanded unemployment assistance provides people who are unemployed with an additional $600 per week on top of normal compensation from the state for up to four months until July 31, 2020. The bill also allows for an additional 13 weeks on unemployment insurance on top of what states currently offer. However, total time on unemployment cannot exceed 39 weeks. The expanded coverage period will begin on January 27, 2020, and end on December 31, 2020.

TO APPLY FOR UNEMPLOYMENT FOR COVID19 PLEASE CLICK HERE.

States are incentivized to waive the traditional one-week waiting period for unemployment compensation.

2020 Recovery Rebates for Individuals

Individuals are eligible for a one-time direct payment equal to:

  • Up to $1,200 for eligible individuals ($2,400 for eligible individuals married filing jointly), plus
  • $500 per qualifying child

The payment amount will be based on your adjusted gross income for your 2019 tax return. If you have not yet filed your 2019 tax return, the amount will be based on your 2018 tax return. If you did not file in 2018, the amount can be based on your 2019 Social Security Benefit Statement or Social Security Equivalent Benefit Statement.

The payment amount will be reduced based on how much your income exceeds:

  • $150,000 in the case of a joint return,
  • $112,500 in the case of a head of household, and
  • $75,000 in the case of an individual taxpayer, not head of household

Special Rules for Use of Retirement Funds

The act allows the penalty for early withdrawal from an eligible retirement plan to be waived for coronavirus-related distributions of up to $100,000. The amount distributed may be repaid over a three-year period.

Coronavirus-related distributions means any distribution from an eligible retirement plan made on or after January 1, 2020, and before December 31, 2020, to an individual:

  • who is diagnosed with the virus SARS-CoV-2 or with coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) by a test approved by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention;
  • whose spouse or dependent is diagnosed with such virus or disease by such a test; or
  • who experiences adverse financial consequences as a result of being quarantined, being furloughed or laid off or having work hours reduced due to such virus or disease, being unable to work due to lack of child care due to such virus or disease, closing or reducing hours of a business owned or operated by the individual due to such virus or disease.

Additionally, the act temporarily waives required minimum distributions, the amount individuals are normally required to withdraw from certain retirement accounts, for calendar year 2020. By temporarily waiving this requirement, individuals are not forced to sell investments that may have recently fallen substantially in value.

Payroll Tax Credit Refunds for Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The act provides for advanced refunding of the payroll tax credits enacted in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. The credit for required paid sick leave and the credit for required paid family leave can be refunded in advance using forms and instructions the IRS will provide. The IRS is instructed to waive any penalties for failure to deposit payroll taxes if the failure was due to an anticipated payroll tax credit.

Paid Leave for Rehired Employees under Families First Coronavirus Response Act

The CARES Act amends the Families First Coronavirus Response Act’s definition of an eligible employee for paid leave to include an employee who was laid off by an employer no earlier than March 1, 2020, had worked for the employer for at least 30 of the last 60 calendar days prior to being laid off, and was rehired by the employer.

Employee Retention Credit

Eligible employers can receive a refundable employee retention credit equal to 50 percent of the qualified wages (of up to $10,000 per employee) for each employee in the calendar quarter. The number of employees is determined by the average number of employees in 2019.

Eligible employers are employers who were carrying on a trade or business during 2020 and for which the operation of that business is fully or partially suspended due to orders from an appropriate governmental authority limiting commerce, travel, or group meetings due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Employers that have gross receipts that are less than 50% of their gross receipts for the same quarter in the prior year are also eligible, until their gross receipts exceed 80% of their gross receipts for the same calendar quarter in the prior year.

For employers with more than 100 employees, wages eligible for the credit are wages that the employer pays employees who are not providing services due to the suspension of the business or a drop in gross receipts. For employers with 100 or fewer employees, all wages paid qualify for the credit.

Delay of Payment of Employer Payroll Taxes

The bill delays payment of 50 percent of 2020 employer payroll taxes until Dec. 31, 2021; the other 50 percent will be due Dec. 31, 2022.

This does not apply to businesses that receive a forgivable loan.

*Resource:  American Booksellers Association

*Click here for a comprehensive list of Available Small Business & Employee Loans & Applications

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund

The new Arts for Illinois Relief Fund will provide financial assistance to artists, artisans, and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19. The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community. To date, more than $4M has been committed from public and private sources to seed an upcoming statewide campaign that will provide additional funding to meet the growing and critical needs of the state’s creative sector. Individuals looking to apply or corporations and charitable foundations looking to donate can learn more here.

City of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund

Mayor Lightfoot announced the creation of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund. This Fund will start with more than $100 million in targeted, low- interest loans to severely impacted small businesses. These loans are designed to provide much needed cash- flow relief for neighborhood entrepreneurs. Businesses can apply here.

City of Chicago Tax Relief for Small Businesses

The City of Chicago is also providing further relief to small businesses by extending the due dates for tax payments until April 30th for the following City taxes:

  • Bottled Water Tax
  • Checkout bag tax
  • Amusement tax
  • Hotel Accommodation tax
  • Restaurant Tax
  • Parking Tax

Stay at Home Order Extended Until April 30, 2020

Read Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order here.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Statewide Stay At Home Order to Maximize COVID-19 Containment, Ensure Health Care System Remains Fully Operational

Order Begins 5 p.m. Saturday; Governor Orders Local Governments to Halt Evictions, Bans Gatherings of More Than 10 People
Friday, March 20, 2020 – Governor, Office of the

Chicago — Following the advice of leading public health experts around the globe, Governor JB Pritzker announced today has signed a statewide stay at home order, aiming to keep new cases of COVID-19 from rapidly increasing and ensure the state’s health care system remains fully operational to treat patients in need of urgent care.

The order takes effect 5 p.m. Saturday, March 21, 2020. In addition to the stay at home provisions, it also orders all local government units across the state to halt all evictions and bans gatherings of more than 10 people.

“We are doing all that we can to maintain as much normalcy as possible while taking the steps we must to protect our residents,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods.  But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life. This will not last forever, but it’s what we must do to support the people on the front lines of this fight, and the people most vulnerable to its consequences.”

“This action underscores the seriousness of the situation and reinforces what many people all across Illinois are already doing to protect themselves, their neighbors and the community at large,” said Senate President Don Harmon (D-Oak Park). “Please, take this seriously, stay inside, limit your travel and be responsible for not just your own health, but everyone else’s, too.”

“During these unprecedented times, it is important we do what we can to prevent the spread of this virus. Simply staying home and following these best practices will help ensure our families, our neighborhoods and our communities remain safe,” said Senate Republican Leader Bill Brady (R-Bloomington). “It is also important that we not panic. Essential businesses and services will remain open and available. We will get through this if we all work together.”

“I commend Governor Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership, and join them in urging people to adhere to this ‘stay at home’ order to help flatten the curve and ultimately save lives,” said House Speaker Michael J. Madigan (D-Chicago). “We should all rest assured that we will continue to have regular access to groceries, medication, gas and other essential services. We will get through this together by following the advice of experts and giving doctors, nurses and first responders a chance to fight this disease. I want to extend my full gratitude to the frontline medical personnel working hard to save lives. By adhering to this order and following best medical advice, we can stand with them in this fight.”

“This is a critical time for our state and our nation, and we must take any and all steps, including the governor’s action today, to reduce the number of those affected by this virus so that we can return to our normal way of life as quickly as possible,” said House Republican Leader Jim Durkin (R- Western Springs).

“Every action we’ve taken so far is based on the latest science and data from health officials as we combat the dynamic spread of COVID-19, and this is no exception,” said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “This decision was not an easy one, but Governor Pritzker’s order for Illinois residents to stay at home is the right thing to do to ensure we are protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents. We strongly encourage our residents to follow the guidelines and ensure the safety of their neighbors as we work to confront this crisis together.”

Read more here.

Petition for Restaurants & Bars That Exceed the $75K Sales Tax Bill Threshold

UPDATE:  The Hospitality Association of Chicago is circulating a petition on behalf of restaurants and bars that exceed the $75K threshold for sales tax bill from 2019.  Many of our businesses do not qualify for this sales tax break and we are asking bars and restaurants to sign this petition if you fall in this category for medium sized Chicago businesses doing more than $750k in sales annually.

PLEASE SIGN DIGITALLY ASAP FOR THE HOSPITALITY ASSOCIATION OF CHICAGO:
https://forms.gle/6qgY4KoZiQHtF7BcA

SBA Loans Now Available; Sales Tax Deferrals for Small Restaurants and Bars

Two days after submitting documentation demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Governor Pritzker announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov.

Governor Pritzker has also directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants. Under the directive, eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late.

Click here to read more.

ILCC Announces Guidance on Delinquency, Product Returns, On-Premise, Renewal Extensions

The Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC) has announced new guidance related to the dispute process for retailer delinquencies and product returns.

Click here to read the guidance on the dispute process for retailer delinquencies.

Click here to read the guidance on product returns.

Click here to read the guidance for on-premise retailers regarding to-go alcohol sale privileges.

Click here to read the guidance on extending the deadline for state liquor license renewals.

Overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act for Employers

Hinshaw & Culbertson has provided an overview of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act that was signed into law by President Trump last night. The law expands FMLA along with separate paid sick leave benefits to American workers. The law becomes effective April 2, 2020, and it also contains a sunset provision.

The summary contains key facts for (1) paid sick leave benefits and (2) the expansion of the family medical leave provision. As a threshold matter, employers will want to understand if they are subject to the new law, and which of their employees are entitled to the benefits. The summary also identifies the qualifying reasons for either sick pay benefits or expanded paid FMLA leave. Finally, among the important components are the compensation requirements and applicable caps.

Click here to read more.

Gov. Pritzker Announces Series of New Measures to Help Illinoisans Affected by COVID-19

Governor Announces Sales Tax Deferral for Bars and Restaurants, SBA Loan Eligibility, New Grocery Hours for Seniors, Expanded Health Care Services
Thursday, March 19, 2020 – Governor, Office of the

Chicago — As Illinoisans face increasing challenges as a result of the coronavirus, Governor JB Pritzker announced a series of new measures to relieve pressure on small businesses, increase safe opportunities for vulnerable populations to purchase essentials and expand health care services for patients and providers.

“Our social distancing efforts are the most important thing we can do to protect our seniors and support our health care workers,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The fight against COVID-19 is a scientific one: it requires the best that medicine, innovation and statistics have to offer. But as we do all that we can to find a cure, find treatments, and support our medical infrastructure, we can’t forget the exceptional human costs of these mitigating measures. We must do all that we can to address them.”

SALES TAX DEFERRAL FOR BARS AND RESTAURANTS

To help alleviate some of the unprecedented challenges facing bars and restaurants due to COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants — accounting for nearly 80% of all such entities statewide.

Under the directive, eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. The Department of Revenue estimates this will give relief to nearly 80% of bars and restaurants in Illinois.

Penalties and interest will be automatically waived; however, qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return even if they are unable to make a payment. Any taxpayers taking advantage of this relief will be required to pay their sales tax liabilities due in March, April and May in four installments starting on May 20 and extending through August 20. For more information, please view IDOR’s informational bulletin available at tax.illinois.gov.

SBA APPROVES SMALL BUSINESS LOANS IN ILLINOIS

Two days after submitting documentation demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Gov. Pritzker announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at: https://disasterloan.sba.gov

NEW GROCERY STORE HOURS FOR OLDER RESIDENTS

After convening the largest grocers and food manufacturers in the state with the help of Illinois Retail Merchants Association, Gov. Pritzker announced today that a growing coalition of grocery stores statewide will set aside one or more hours of operation for older residents to shop, before stores open to the general public.

Among the grocers with new hours for elderly shoppers are Whole Foods and Shop & Save in the Chicagoland area and Hy-Vee and Valli Produce throughout Illinois.

EXPANDING HEALTH CARE SERVICES

Gov. Pritzker announced today that his administration is implementing several measures to remove regulatory barriers for health providers and increase opportunity for patients as Illinoisans are urged to stay home as much as possible during this time.

Through emergency rules and an executive order, the Pritzker administration has significantly relaxed rules around telemedicine for both Medicaid and private insurers, allowing more providers to get reimbursed for these services that allow patients more flexibility and safety. For plans regulated by the Department of Insurance, the executive order calls for providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits and prohibits private health insurers from imposing any cost-sharing for in-network providers. For Medicaid, the emergency rules also require providers to be reimbursed at the same rate at which they are reimbursed for in-person visits.

The Department of Healthcare and Family Services has filed an 1135 waiver with the federal government to remove administrative barriers for Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The Pritzker administration is seeking to increase access to telehealth and the number of health care providers that can screen patients, allow 90-day prescription supplies without prior authorization and early refills, as well as several other items that will increase flexibility and provide additional resources.

The Department of Human Services has also filed a federal waiver to ease eligibility requirements for food assistance programs like SNAP and WIC, which cover 1.8 million Illinoisans and 174,000 pregnant women and parents of young children respectively.

ESSENTIAL SERVICES WILL REMAIN

As rumors continue to swirl, Gov. Pritzker assures Illinoisans that essential services will always remain open, including but not limited to grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations. As new information becomes available, the Pritzker administration will continue to communicate with the public and media in a timely and transparent manner.

Gov. Pritzker Launches Coronavirus.illinois.gov with Resources for Illinois Residents, Small Businesses

Murphysboro, Ill. — Following an earlier stop at the St. Clair County Health Department in Belleville this morning, Governor JB Pritzker held his administration’s daily COVID-19 press briefing in Jackson County today and announced the launch of a new website detailing the state’s evolving response to COVID-19 and resources available to Illinois residents during this challenging time.

“My administration is doing everything in our power to support our working families and our small businesses during this time—which means a lot of new information coming at you every day. Consider our new website as a hub for all the resources we’ve developed in response to this crisis,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “If you want to review our announcements on unemployment eligibility benefits—which we expanded and sped up for those impacted by COVID-19—or the work we’ve done to prevent utility shut-offs, expand health care, and support small businesses, you’ll find it all on this new website at coronavirus.illinois.gov.”

In another effort to provide timely and accurate information to the public, Coronavirus.illinois.gov centralizes the breaking updates from state government, prevention and preparation tips, frequently asked questions and resources from public health experts.

See more information here.

SBA Disaster Relief Loans Available in Certain Counties and Agenda On Unemployment Insurance

See below for an update on the SBA disaster loan program.

SBA Disaster Loans

Businesses in Clark, Cook, Crawford, Edgar, Gallatin, Iroquois, Kankakee, Lawrence, Vermilion, Wabash, White and Will counties can apply for the federal loans here:  https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela

We will let everyone know when businesses in other counties throughout the state can apply for these SBA loans.

SBAC Advocacy On Unemployment Insurance

The SBAC is advocating that the State of Illinois immediately enact the following rules:

  • No increase in an employer’s contribution rate that is attributed to coronavirus layoffs
  • A 90-day grace period for paying unemployment taxes for a business that certifies it impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
  • Allowing a parent, who out of necessity remains at home with a child whose school has closed because of the coronavirus, to qualify for unemployment insurance as long as the parent seeks work that could be performed from home.

Illinois Unemployment Insurance Update

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) put into place emergency rules to help workers impacted by the coronavirus shutdowns.  Here are emergency rules that may apply to your employees:

  • An employee who is temporarily laid off because their place of work closed due to the coronavirus is eligible for benefits as long as he or she is willing and able to return to work as soon as the workplace is reopened. The seven day waiting period and the requirement that the applicant register with the state employment service have been waived.
  • An employee who quits their job because of concern about the coronavirus or wants to stay home to take care of a child whose school is closed is not eligible for unemployment coverage unless there is another legally valid reason for the departure.
  • An employee who is confined to their home because the employee or family member has COVID-19 or because of a government required quarantine is eligible for unemployment insurance but must register with the state employment service and actively seek work that could be performed from the home.

The SBAC continues formulating its agenda and will be working with policymakers to enact policies that will help small businesses weather this storm

Please feel free to contact the SBAC with any questions.

BACP OFFICES CLOSED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE

Effective Thursday, March 19, 2020, all Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) offices will be closed to the public until further notice. This includes the following locations:

·     BACP Administrative Offices, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 805

·     Small Business Center, 121 N. LaSalle St. Room 800

·     Public Vehicle Licensing Center, 2350 W. Ogden Ave. 1st Floor

·     Public Vehicle Inspection Facility, 2430 W. Pershing Ave.

BACP will continue processing business licenses, where applicable, online or over the phone. Please visit www.chicagobusinessdirect.org or call 312-74-GOBIZ. Please allow for extra time as BACP staff are working hard to keep City services going under this disruption.

The renewal of public passenger chauffeur and vehicle licenses that expire before April 1, 2020 will be deferred until April 30, 2020. BACP staff will continue to work servicing public vehicle licensees during closure to the public. BACP staff will be available at bacppv@cityofchicago.org and 312-746-4300.

Public vehicle inspections scheduled at the BACP Public Vehicle Inspection Facility from March 19, 2020 to March 31, 2020 will be rescheduled. An updated inspection list will be posted on the Public Vehicles page, and BACP will notify taxicab affiliations and license managers via e-mail of updated public vehicle inspection dates.

In addition to these changes at BACP, Mayor Lightfoot today announced a temporary suspension of debt collection, ticketing and towing practices to provide relief in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This package will extend the deadline for Transportation Network Provider (TNP) and Taxi drivers to pay debt owed to the City to April 30th and eliminate debt holds on new licenses and permits.

Furthermore, the Mayor will soon announce additional economic relief measures to relieve the burden the outbreak has placed on businesses, as well as individuals, to help stabilize the health of our local economy.

As this situation develops we will continue updating you with the latest resources and information. Please note that, as of today, the state of Illinois has now mandated the cancellation of events of more than 50 people, and the White House is advising against gatherings of over 10 people.

To assist businesses, consumers and employees during this difficult time, BACP has created a dedicated resources page at www.chicago.gov/BACPCOVID19. Please visit that website for updated information on the available resources and steps the City is taking to support business owners.

For the latest health guidance and updates from the Chicago Department of Public Health, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.

 

STATEWIDE CLOSURE OF RESTAURANTS & BARS

LATEST ON CARRY OUT

From the Illinois Restaurant Association:

State of Illinois Executive Order: “To-Go”, Carry Out, Take Out Permitted

Governor Pritzker has issued an official Executive Order that mandates the closure of on-premise dining in Illinois restaurants. Due to the advocacy of the IRA, the Executive Order clarifies that “to-go”, carry out, and take out will be permitted at Illinois restaurants.

Click here to read the text of the Executive Order. Read the paragraph related to restaurants below:

“Beginning March 16, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. through March 30, 2020, all businesses in the State of Illinois that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption—including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and food halls—must suspend service for and may not permit on-premises consumption. Such businesses are permitted and encouraged to serve food and beverages so that they may be consumed off-premises, as currently permitted by law, through means such as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, and curbside pick-up. In addition, customers may enter the premises to purchase food or beverages for carry-out. However, establishments offering food or beverages for carry-out, including food trucks, must ensure that they have an environment where patrons maintain adequate social distancing. Businesses located in airports, hospitals, and dining halls in colleges and universities are exempt from the requirements of this Executive Order. Hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service and carry-out. Catering services may continue.”

Additional operational guidelines are expected from the state of Illinois soon. We will share this information as soon as it is available.

BAR & RESTAURANT CLOSURES

Delivery, curbside pick up, and take out is allowed. View a running list of businesses available for delivery & pick up here.

CITY OF CHICAGO ISSUES GUIDANCE AND SUPPORTS FOR COVID-19 RESTRICTIONS ON RESTAURANT DINING AND TAVERNS

Restaurants and bars in the City of Chicago are required to follow the following updated guidelines, with the City beginning any necessary enforcement measures at midnight tonight:

  • The consumption of food or beverage is not permitted inside a restaurant or bar
  • Congregation of any kind is not permitted inside or outside a restaurant or bar
  • Drive-thru, delivery and carry out or curbside pick-up may continue, with the restaurant owner responsible to ensure social distancing policies are in place and followed.

Customers may enter restaurants to order food and immediately leave upon receiving the food. BACP has put together an FAQ document with answers to the many questions facing business owners and consumers. The following establishments are included in the mandated restaurant and bar closure order:

  • Concession stands at movie theaters, bowling alleys and other entertainment venues
  • Cafes, coffee bars, ice cream counters and other concession areas within grocery stores
  • Coffee shops and cafes

More information can be found here.

We understand the devastation and hardship this causes for our business community, however public safety must come first.

FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE

It is imperative that our partners at the State are able to quantify the impact on small businesses as denoted in the communication below in order to release the SBA assistance through the Disaster Loan program. As a result, the State of Illinois has created a portal to assist with capturing info using this link: 

https://form.jotform.com/200717156003039 

PLEASE FILL THIS OUT, IT WILL MEASURE  THE IMPACT FOR FINANCIAL SUPPORT FOR BUSINESSES.

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection has informed us SBA is working with the State of Illinois to support their efforts to submit the Governor’s request for a declaration. To accomplish this, the state is identifying businesses who have experienced substantial economic injury. This step is important as a county can only qualify if they either, have an identified business that has suffered economic injury, or the county is contiguous to a declared county. Once the state has pulled together its request, it goes to SBA for review. Once a disaster is declared, the EIDL becomes available for businesses located in declared counties.

Process for Accessing SBA’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Disaster Relief Lending

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
  • Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
  • SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
  • Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses without credit available elsewhere; businesses with credit available elsewhere are not eligible. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.

For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail disastercustomerservice@sba.gov.

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS & PAID SICK LEAVE

The City’s Paid Sick Leave Ordinance mandates that all Chicago businesses provide paid sick leave to employees.

  • Any employee who works at least 80 hours for an employer in Chicago within any 120-day period is covered by the ordinance and is eligible for paid sick leave.
  • Employees begin to accrue paid sick leave on the first calendar day after they begin their employment. For every 40 hours worked, employees accrue one hour of paid sick leave.
  • Employers with paid time off policies that meet or exceed the paid sick leave requirements are not required to provide additional paid sick leave.
  • More information is at the City of Chicago website here.

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. 

Click here for more information.

GRUBHUB & ECONOMIC RELIEF

CHICAGO, March 13, 2020 — In collaboration with the mayors of large cities across the United States who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 response efforts, Grubhub today announced it is temporarily suspending collection of up to $100 million in commission payments from impacted independent restaurants nationwide.

READ MORE HERE: https://bit.ly/3913av6

CDC COVID-19 GUIDANCE & RESOURCES

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) continues to work closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal, state and local partners to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. There have been 64 cases of COVID-19 identified in Illinois so far (as of 3/15/2020). The City of Chicago is responding to a decision by the state of Illinois to close all schools statewide, and in addition postponed St. Patrick’s Day weekend parades as a precautionary measure to prevent further spread of COVID-19. The city has also offered updated guidance on other gatherings, including a recommendation to consider cancelling or postponing planned events of at least 250 people and a requirement to cancel events greater than a thousand people, as well as additional recommendations for schools, workplace and long term care settings.

Current information suggests that person-to-person spread will continue to occur and more cases will be identified in the United States and in Chicago. CDPH’s goal is to reduce the impact of COVID-19 in Chicago by detecting new cases quickly, minimizing transmission and developing guidance to prepare communities to respond. As this outbreak has spread globally, CDPH has tracked it closely and is using data to guide its response. The virus seems to be spreading easily from person to person and we encourage everyone to take measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready and staying healthy.

  • Individuals and communities should familiarize themselves with recommendations to protect themselves and their communities from getting and spreading respiratory illnesses like COVID-19.
  • Older people and people with severe chronic conditions should take special precautions because they are at higher risk of developing serious COVID-19 illness. They should limit travel and should not attend large gatherings unless it is essential.
  • Event organizers should stay informed on the latest developments and public health guidance and anticipate that some events may need to be modified, canceled, or postponed.
  • Childcare facilities, K-12 schools and colleges/universities should review their emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and online learning. Schools should consider postponing or canceling student foreign exchange programs. See CDPH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Childcare Programs and COVID-19 Guidance for Schools and Institutions of Higher Education.
  • Businesses and employers should actively encourage all employees to stay home when sick, perform hand hygiene, and cover coughs and sneezes. Businesses should review their emergency operations plan, including identification of essential business functions, teleworking and flexible sick leave policies. For more information, see CDPH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers.
  • Community- and faith-based organizations should review existing emergency operations plans, including strategies for social distancing and modifying large gatherings. Community-based organizations should take steps to protect both the clients they serve and their employees. See CDPH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Community- and Faith-based Organizations.
  • Help reduce the spread of rumors. Let people know that viruses cannot target people from specific populations, ethnicities, or racial backgrounds. Being of Asian descent does not increase the chance of getting or spreading COVID-19.
  • Fight stigma and fear by supporting people who may be coming back to school or work after traveling internationally or completing a quarantine or isolation period for COVID-19.

If you have been in China or another affected area or have been exposed to someone sick with COVID-19 in the last 14 days, you will face some limitations on your movement and activity. Please follow instructions during this time. Your cooperation is integral to the ongoing public health response to try to slow spread of this virus.

What is Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)?
COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. Symptoms include fever, cough and difficulty breathing. Symptoms may appear in as few as 2 days or as long as 14 days after exposure. At this time, there is no vaccine to protect against COVID-19 and no medications approved to treat it. The best way to prevent infection is to take everyday preventive actions, like avoiding close contact with people who are sick and washing your hands often.
How does COVID-19 spread?
The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet) through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes. People are thought to be most contagious when they are the sickest.
How can I protect myself and my family?
You can protect yourself from respiratory illness, including COVID-19, by practicing these simple everyday preventative actions:
• Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
• Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
• Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
• Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.
What should I do if I’m sick?
• Stay home except to get medical care.
• Separate yourself from other people and animals in your home.
• Call ahead before visiting a doctor and help keep other people from getting infected or exposed.
• Monitor your symptoms.
• Cover your coughs and sneezes.
• Clean your hands often.
• Avoid sharing personal household items.
• Clean all “high-touch” surfaces every day.
Who is at risk of getting sick with COVID-19?
While many persons in our community may get sick, the vast majority will recover. Most cases of COVID-19 result in mild illness. To date, children also seem less likely to become ill. But people who are older and who have other health conditions are more likely to have serious illness. CDPH recommends people at higher risk to consider avoiding travel to areas with widespread transmission of COVID-19 and staying away from crowded social gatherings as much as possible, including parades, conferences, sporting events, and concerts where large numbers of people are within arm’s length of one another.
For more information visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus.