As the economic impacts associated with the spread of COVID-19 continue to emerge, government agencies at all levels – Federal, State, and Local – have developed programs to assist businesses in operating through and beyond this crisis. Below is a list The City of West Chicago is committed to serving as a resource for local business to help “weather this storm.” We will continue to update this page as new information becomes available. We also encourage local business owners/operators and residents to follow information being shared on the State of IL’s new dedicated Coronavirus Response Site. We have put together a list of Q&A’s for businesses related to COVID-19 based on information coming from our partners in economic development at the County, State, and Federal level and industry resources. Questions related to specific programs offered by our partners should be directed to those organizations.
What business assistance is available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was passed by Congress?
Signed into law on March 27th of this year, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) estimated $2+ trillion funding includes: extraordinary public health spending to confront the COVID-19 pandemic; immediate cash relief for individual citizens; a broad lending program for small business; and, targeted relief for hard-hit industries. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain non-profits and other employers.
To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that are or will soon be available to them, a comprehensive guide was created addressing many of the small business provisions in the CARES Act. These programs and initiatives are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. The guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.To keep up to date on when these programs become available, please stay in contact with your local Small Business Administration (SBA) District Office, which you can locate here.
The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act (US Senate Committee)
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:
- Capital to cover the cost of retaining employees? Then the Paycheck Protection Program might be right for you.
- A quick infusion of a smaller amount of cash to cover you right now? You might want to look into an Emergency Economic Injury Grant.
- To ease your fears about keeping up with payments on your current or potential SBA loan? The Small Business Debt Relief Program could help.
- Just some quality, free counseling to help you navigate these uncertain economic times? The resource partners might be your best bet.
Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.
General Information: 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. Details are included in the links below.
Overview of PPP Program (US Treasury)
Guide & Checklist for PPP Emergency Loans (US Chamber of Commerce)
PPP Information Sheet for Borrowers (US Treasury)
PPP Information for Lenders (US Treasury)
- 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. 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.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
On March 19th the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), approved Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker’s application for small businesses and not-for-profits across our state to be declared eligible for low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) assistance relating to financial damages caused to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded the SBA’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL).
General Information: The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program received significant funding in the Families First Act, which was the 2nd COVID-19 stimulus package. 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.
Note that 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. Note that if your business needs short term assistance, and you applied before March 30, 2020, you may need to re-submit your application.
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.
Streamlined SBA Loan Application (NEW! April 2, 2020)
- Application Assistance: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is working with federal and local partners to ensure assistance is available for small businesses seeking loans, counseling, and preparedness planning. Business advisors at the Illinois Small Business Development Center (SBDC) will assist with the application process.
Locate your nearest Small Business Development Center or text LOCATE to 7234
- Additional Resources for SBA EIDL Application Process:
Guide to SBA’s EIDL Program (US Chamber of Commerce)
SBA Small Business Debt Relief Program
The Small Business Administration is providing a program to assist small businesses who have non-disaster SBA loans – namely 7(a) loans, 504 loans, and microloans.
Program Benefits: The SBA will cover payments (on principal and interest) in addition to fees for six months.
- Program Applicability: This program will apply to preexisting loans in these categories, in addition to new borrowers who take out these loans within six months of the CARES Act becoming law.
- Loan Program Details: Please see the below links if you think that your business could benefit from these options:
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) lenders (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.
Employee Retention Tax Credit
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of COVID-19.
General Information: The CARES Act includes an 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.
Guide to Employee Retention Tax Credit (US Chamber of Commerce)
- Key Caveat: 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. Included deferrable taxes include the employer portion of FICA taxes and half of SECA tax liability. Watch for additional IRS guidance on this at the IRS coronavirus webpage.
- Key Caveat: Deferral is not available to employers receiving assistance via the Paycheck Protection Program.
Business Resource Partners (Counseling & Assistance with Applications)
General Information: In addition to direct financial assistance to small businesses and non-profits, the recent stimulus packages have included significant funding for enhanced small business counseling services. 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.
In addition to serving women entrepreneurs, the Women’s Business Development Center is mandated to serve the needs of underserved entrepreneurs, including low-income entrepreneurs.
What Emergency Small Business Grant and Loan Assistance is available from the State of Illinois?
Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund
DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.
How to Apply DCEO is partnering with Accion Serving Illinois and Indiana to provide access to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund in your area.
The State expects high demand for this program, and once submitted, it will take time to process your application and receive a response. Lenders are reviewing applications as quickly as possible, and DCEO is working to add additional lenders to the program. Please continue to check the DCEO website for an up to date listing of lenders and available programs.
As of 6:00pm on April 1st, businesses that submitted an expression of interest form have been contacted at the email address provided. Please check your junk, spam or promotions folders if you submitted the form and have not received a message.
If you did not submit an expression of interest, you are still be able to apply. For assistance with additional questions, please email CEO.Support@Illinois.gov.
Small Business Covid-19 Relief Fund (Bridge Loans)
On Monday March 23, 2020 Illinois Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced that small business and NFPs can apply for low-interest bridge loans through the $250 million Business Invest – Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Fund. The program is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer would make up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.
Through this program, the Treasurer’s Office will partner with approved financial institutions to provide loans — either lower rate loans, or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify — to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.
DCEO Information Gathering Impact Form
Given that an SBA loan is a short-term option, DCEO will continue to gather information around your industry, specific anecdotal data around your supply chain/transportation, distribution (if it applies) and overall information to give a thorough analysis/report to the Governor’s Office to account for the long-term impact of this pandemic. You can directly help through your assistance in identifying affected business by filling out the DCEO Business Impact Form.
Will my business be allowed to remain open under the Governor’s Stay at Home Order issued on March 20, 2020?
The Governor’s Stay at Home; Social Distancing; and Essential Businesses Operations Executive Order mandates all non-essential business and operations must cease effective March 21, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. including fitness centers/health clubs, bowling alleys, private clubs, and theatres unless specifically exempt in Executive Order 20-10 issued on March 20, 2020 The order also lists prohibited activities, outlines prohibited and permitted travel, leaving home for essential activities including certain types of work, and other specific line items. Section 12 of Executive Order 10 lists all Essential Business and Operations as defined by the order. Please consult this list as to whether or not your business may remain open at this time or if you must close your doors until expiration of this ruling which was extended on April 1st to run through April 30th or at such time as the Governor declares otherwise.
The Illinois State Police will work with local law enforcement to enforce this order but adhering to the order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Illinoisan to do their part.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has issued a List of Clarifications for those businesses having difficulty interpreting whether or not their business is considered an essential or non-essential business at this time. If you still have questions after consulting the list you may contact DCEO directly at (800)252-2923 or email@example.com
Restaurant & Bar Closure
On-site consumption at restaurants and bars is currently scheduled to be closed through April 30th per the Governor’s Executive Order 20-10 issued March 20, 2020 and extended on April 1, 2020. The State is continuing to evaluate this timeline as we move forward and will announce any updates as they happen. Delivery, drive-through, carryout and curbside pickup will continue to be allowed at all restaurants able to provide these services. Please visit our list of West Chicago establishments that have confirmed with the City that they plan to modify their business plan for the next few weeks to remain open in some capacity and support local as best you can during this period.
Is there any relief from penalties for late sales tax payments to the State of IL?
In an effort to assist eating and drinking establishments impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, effective immediately, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is waiving any penalty and interest that would have been imposed on late Sales Tax payments from qualified taxpayers. Taxpayers who are eligible for relief from penalties and interest on late Sales Tax payments are those operating eating and drinking establishments that incurred a total Sales Tax liability of less than $75,000 in calendar year 2019. Read the following Informational Bulletin from IL Department of Revenue to learn more.
Did the IRS Extend the Tax Payment Deadline for Businesses?
The IRS announced a tax deadline extension of 90 days to July 15 interest and penalty-free to help individuals and businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
What is available for my employees as a business owner?
Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. Individuals without access to paid sick leave or unable to work due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment insurance under the Governor’s program expansion. The governor’s executive order waives the 7-day waiting period for residents to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning anyone who qualifies can file and become immediately eligible instead of experiencing a week-long lag during this challenging time. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Please review this link for the information to assist your employees: https://www2.illinois.gov/ides/Pages/COVID-19-and-Unemployment-Benefits.aspx
Additionally, encourage individual employees to check into the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) (formerly Food Stamps) which helps low-income persons and families buy the food they need for good health. https://www.dhs.state.il.us/page.aspx?item=30357
What about Utilities?
Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois – including energy, telecommunications and water – until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. Several have announced plans to maintain services and waive late payment fees. This list is not all inclusive but does offer direct connection to specific response to COVID-19.
Best Practices in the Workplace at this Time?
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has published the following interim guidance for Businesses and Organizations. The Guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.
Choose DuPage Board Members have volunteered their expertise to assisting businesses in DuPage County in the coming weeks. If you would like to be connected to an expert in the fields below, please contact Lisa Miceli, firstname.lastname@example.org.
DuPage County Health Department
The DuPage County Health Department has put together information for businesses on COVID-19, including guidance, food facility guidelines, water sampling, CDC guidance, education, outreach and more. Click here for details.