Information and Resources For Local Businesses

Customer safety posters to print and display at your business.

covid 19
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) issued a new workplace poster listing steps employers and employees can take to protect worker’s safety and health during the coronavirus pandemic. These measures include encouraging sick workers to stay home; following respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes; discouraging workers from using other workers' phones, and desks; and regularly cleaning and disinfecting surfaces and equipment.
The Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA or Act) requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. The Department of Labor’s (Department) Wage and Hour Division (WHD) administers and enforces the new law’s paid leave requirements. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.
The deadline to file tax returns has been extended until July 15, 2020.
Read more here.
The deadline to file Illinois state tax returns has been extended until July 15, 2020. Read more here.
The Cook County Department of Revenue is pushing back the due dates for the February and March home rule taxes to May 1st and temporarily suspending debt collection and home rule tax assessments. No penalties or interest will accrue during this period. In addition, for those in unincorporated Cook, President Preckwinkle is extending the time to file for liquor licenses to July 31st. Read more here.
Payment has been deferred for the Village’s Prepared Food and Beverage taxes and Hotel/Motel taxes for the month of March 2020. Tax reporting forms still must be filed by April 20, 2020, but the tax payment need not be paid until June 20, 2020. Click here for Prepared Food and Beverage tax form
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is waiving late Sales Tax payment penalties and interest from Taxpayers operating eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total Sales Tax liability of less than $75,000 in calendar year 2019.
Read more here
This is a $14 million grant program for the hospitality industry's and can be used for payroll, working capital, use in training, obtaining tech for delivery, and rent payments. Applications will be accepted until 5:00 pm on Wednesday, April 1st, and recipients will be chosen via a lottery.
Food and beverage businesses who generated less than $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply. Businesses that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for $25K, and businesses that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for $10K. Businesses must hold a valid restaurant or liquor license.
Hotels that generated revenues less the $8 million in 2019 are eligible to apply. Hotels are eligible to up to $50K. Businesses must hold a valid hotel, motel or other lodging license in Illinois. Accommodations related to home sharing, including Shared Housing Unit Operators and Hosts, are not eligible.
Click here for additional information and a link to the application
Business Interruptions Grant (BIG) Program

To help businesses that have been impacted or closed as a result of COVID-19, earlier this week Governor Pritzker announced an additional $85 million will be made available through two new grant programs designed to help alleviate the burden for businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. The new Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) will make $60 million available for up to 3,500 businesses experiencing losses and/or unable to fully reopen until Phase 4 or 5. This program is earmarked specifically for restaurants which haven’t been permitted to allow outdoor dining, health and fitness centers, barbershops and salons, and other businesses located in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) of the state. Visit the Business Interruptions Grant (BIG) Program page for more information.

Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act includes the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) which is designed to help small businesses keep their employees and maintain their payroll during the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible businesses who enroll in the program will receive a forgivable loan typically equal to 2.5 times their monthly payroll plus health insurance and retirement costs. The loan can be used for payroll purposes, utilities, rent, mortgage interest payments, and more. Details are included in the links below.

Key Dates: The start date for small businesses and sole proprietorships to submit PPP loan applications is April 3, 2020.  The start date for independent contractors and self-employed individuals to submit PPP loan applications is April 10, 2020.  Importantly, the Treasury Department guidance urges businesses to apply as soon as possible, due to a funding cap in place on this program.

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: Interested parties should contact their local lender to see if they are SBA-certified and/or planning on participating in the program.  Applicants will have to provide payroll documentation to the lender.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program

General Information: The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program received significant funding in the FFCRA.  These SBA loans provide small businesses with a long-term, low interest loan of up to $2 million to pay for expenses they would have met if not for the COVID-19 pandemic.  These are loans, not grants, although refinancing an EIDL into a PPP Loan is a possibility, provided you used the fund for the proper purpose.  Additionally, applicants can apply for both EIDL and PPP loans simultaneously, although the funds cannot be used for the same purpose.

Application Process:  The SBA has just recently rolled out a new, streamlined application process that is  available here.  Note that if your business needs short term assistance, and you applied before this week, you may need to re-submit your application (see below).

If you have already applied for funds through EIDL and do not need the $10,000 advance, your application should continue to be processed without additional steps.  You may check on the status of your application by calling 800-659-2955.

Emergency Economic Injury Grants (advance on EIDL loans)

General Information: Businesses that need an infusion of capital in the short term and who have applied for a loan through the EIDL program can also apply for an Emergency Economic Injury Grant, which will provide an advance of $10,000 from the requested EIDL amount.  This process can be started from the EIDL application, available hereImportantly, if you already submitted an EIDL application prior to the launch of this program, you will have to resubmit an application using the streamlined process.

SBA Small Business Debt Relief Program

The SBA will cover principal, interest and fee payments for six months for pre-existing loans and loans within six months of the effective date of the CARES Act  for the following loans:

7(a) loans max out at $5 million are targeted towards borrowers who lack credit elsewhere and need access to flexible capital.  These loans are offered through approved 7(a) (a list is available here)

504 Loans max out at $5.5 million and provide long-term fixed-rate financing and may be a good option for businesses looking to purchase property or large equipment

The SBA’s microloan program offers loans of up to $50,000 to help small businesses start up or expand.

IRS INFORMATION
Employee Retention Tax Credit

General Information: The CARES Act includes a Employee Retention Tax Credit, designed to encourage employers to retain their employees during the COVID-19 crisis.  The IRS describes the credit as a “fully refundable tax credit for employers equal to 50 percent of qualified wages (including allocable qualified health plan expenses) that Eligible Employers pay their employees.  This applies to wages paid between March 12, 2020 and January 1, 2021, with a maximum credit for any employee amounting to $5,000.  Additional IRS guidance is  available here.  This credit is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program.

Employer Payroll Tax Deferral

General Information: According to the Guide, a provision in the CARES Act allows for the deferral of the employer portion of certain payroll taxes through the end of 2020.  These deferred amounts are due in two installments – one at the end of 2021, the other at the end of 2022.  Additional information will be provided at  IRS coronavirus webpage. Deferral is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program.

Small Business Counseling/Assistance

These organizations are well versed in how to help small businesses succeed and stand ready and willing to help your organization navigate these difficult times.  Counseling resources include:

General Resources

Small Business Owner Guide to the CARES Act  This guide has frequently asked questions for each of the programs established or enhanced to support small businesses, and I have briefly summarized the major provisions of each program below to make it easier to digest.

Unemployment Benefits

The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current COVID-19 emergency as possible. Under emergency rules IDES recently adopted, an individual who is temporarily laid off due to COVID-19 does not have to register with the employment service and search for a new job if the individual is prepared to return to his or her job as soon the employer reopened. More information for workers laid-off due to COVID-19 can be found here.

Individuals receiving unemployment benefits beginning the week of March 29, 2020, will receive an additional $600 each week above what they would receive in regular unemployment benefits until the week ending on July 25, 2020. Additional unemployment benefits may now be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. For more information clic here or call Claimant Services at (800) 244-5631

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