Dear Business Owners,
At today’s press conference, Governor Pritzker announced a statewide executive order for Illinois residents to stay at home. Beginning Saturday, March 21st at 5PM, all residents in the State of Illinois are to stay home unless traveling for essential needs or businesses. S#8 and SSA#17 will continue to have security patrols in the late night/early morning hours to do frequent checks of our business district.
Here is an update from BCAP (Business Affairs and Consumer Protection):
Businesses that are considered essential operations that can continue operating, include, but not limited to:
- Emergency City services and other essential government services
- Gas stations
- Grocery stores, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants
- Hardware stores/plumbers
- Laundromats/laundry services
- Transportation, including CTA and private transportation
- Essential infrastructure, such as utilities and public transportation
We encourage everyone to read the order and pay particular attention to section 12, which lists in three pages of detail the essential businesses that are able continue operations. Non-Essential businesses can maintain minimum basic activities to preserve the value and condition of the business’s inventory, equipment and location, to maintain security and to process payroll and employee benefits. Additionally, the business can take the minimum necessary activities to facilitate employees of the business being able to continue to work remotely from their residences. Please read the FAQ for more information.
We understand that this order will have an impact on all Illinoisans, but this is a critical step to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Thank you in advance for your cooperation. To help support businesses in this time of need, last night, Mayor Lightfoot announced the details of her relief package, headlined by a $100 million loan fund, to support small businesses affected by COVID-19.These measures are intended to provide much-needed local cash flow and stopgap relief for small businesses as we await federal support that will be necessary for businesses affected by this crisis. Please know that your City is working hard to put the necessary emergency measures in place to support all small businesses during this unprecedented time.
The following measures are included in Mayor Lightfoot’s Relief Package
- Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: Through an innovative public-private partnership, Chicago has dedicated over $100 million to provide emergency, low-interest loans to severely affected small businesses. The fund will lend up to $50,000 in working capital loans to small businesses with fewer than 50 employees that have seen a 25% revenue decrease due to the impact of COVID-19. Applications will be accepted starting March 31st. Interested business owners are encouraged to fill out an interest form for more information. Philanthropic institutions or corporations interested in contributing to the fund, may submit their information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Business Tax Deferral: To further provide relief for businesses over the coming weeks, the City is also extending due dates for tax payments until April 30, 2020 for the following City taxes:
- Bottled Water tax
- Checkout Bag tax
- Amusement tax
- Hotel Accommodation tax
- Restaurant tax
- Parking tax
- Additional Support Measures: On March 18, Mayor Lightfoot announced the temporary suspension or debt collection, ticketing and towing practices until April 30, 2020. The City will also temporarily defer all business fine collections as well as license renewal and late fees for Chicago’s businesses until April 30th. Finally, the City will also be temporarily suspending non-public safety related business penalties until that date.
Importantly, all of these local measures are meant to serve as immediate, temporary relief to ensure cash flow and supplement federal support that may take a bit longer to activate. All Illinois small businesses are currently eligible to apply for loans of up to $2 million from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) through the Economic Injury Loan Program. These loans can go toward working capital to meet needs including payroll, accounts payable, and fixed debt payments until the situation improves. Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. Business owners can apply for a loan now at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.
The Illinois District of the SBA is hosting twice daily webinars on the Economic Injury Disaster Loans starting Thursday, March 18. You can find details and register for these training events at www.sba.gov/il.
We know that this is an incredibly difficult time for all Americans, and that small business owners are particularly hit hard by this crisis. This is time for decisive action, and we hope that these relief measures can make an immediate difference. We will be sharing additional information on Chicago’s Small Business Resiliency Fund in the coming days.
In the meantime, please check out www.chicago.gov/BACPCOVID19 for business resources, including information on Governor Pritzker’s restaurant and bar closure. We remind all businesses to keep their business secure during closures. Please yourself and your family safe, and continue to visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus for us to date information on the COVID-19 outbreak.