Disclaimer: We are not experts in health or policy and make no guarantees as to the accuracy or timeliness of the details on this page. This page is for informational purposes only. See our full COVID-19 disclaimer for more.

 

If your business has hit trouble because of the pandemic and you need guidance, the attorneys at G & G Law have assembled a toolkit of accessible, easy-to-digest information that answers many common questions we’ve received from our clients. You can read more about it and purchase it here.

 

As the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) runs through Chicago, we at G & G Law remain dedicated to meeting the needs of our small business community. While that usually entails legal services of one form or another, right now that means information.

Through our partners in Chambers of Commerce and city government, we receive more than our fair share of newsletters, email blasts, and the like. Here, we’re collecting all the resources that come our way. It’s not comprehensive, but we’ll update it as we find and receive more.

 

Some government agencies are looking for ways to provide immediate financial assistance for small business owners who have suffered economic damages from COVID-19. You can help make aid available to you and your small business community with the following resources:

  • SBA Disaster Assistance Loans: SBA disaster loan applications are now available online (March 31st, 2020). Here’s what you need to know:
    • Apply for an EIDL
    • Request an advance, up to $10,000, to provide the immediate relief you need.
    • Funds will be made available within 3 days of the request and will not have to be repaid.
    • You can apply online here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
  • BACP Chicago COVID-19 Impact Survey: The BACP is seeking input from business owners on the impact of the novel coronavirus and what type of aid would best help them as they develop support for Chicago’s small businesses. This survey allows business owners to weigh in.
  • Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan FundThis relief package will provide low-interest loans to severely impacted businesses, in Chicago especially those in economically distressed and under-invested neighborhoods. Business owners can apply for loans starting on March 31st. In the meantime, they are encouraged to fill out an interest form (here) and a City representative will be in touch.

We will update this post as aid gets approved, including details about what is available and how you can take advantage of it.

 

This article contains information about:

 

Financial Assistance

See our full writeup on the various loans and grants available to Illinois businesses for more complete details on these resources.

 

SBA Disaster Assistance Loans: SBA disaster loan applications are now available online (March 31st, 2020). Here’s what you need to know:

  1. Apply for an EIDL
  2. Request an advance, up to $10,000, to provide the immediate relief you need.
  3. Funds will be made available within 3 days of the request and will not have to be repaid.
  4. You can apply online here: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/

 

BACP Chicago COVID-19 Impact Survey: The BACP is seeking input from business owners on the impact of the novel coronavirus and what type of aid would best help them as they develop support for Chicago’s small businesses. This survey allows business owners to weigh in.

 

Accion Loan ServicesAccion is offering several services to suffering business owners:

  1. 90% reduction in monthly loan payments for the next three months for existing Accion clients. Request this option here.
  2. $25,000 line of credit for existing Accion clients and entrepreneurs who need immediate capital. Apply here.
  3. Free coaching for business owners. Schedule a meeting here.

 

Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan FundThis $100 million relief package will support small businesses in the city which have taken a serious hit because of COVID-19. It will provide low-interest loans to severely impacted businesses, especially those in economically distressed and under-invested neighborhoods. Business owners can apply for loans starting on March 31st. In the meantime, they are encouraged to fill out an interest form (here) and a City representative will be in touch.

Mayor Lightfoot announced the fund in a March 19th press releaseThe main points:

  • “The new emergency fund will lend up to $50,000 in working capital loans to neighborhood entrepreneurs suffering substantial economic injury to help support rent and payroll expenses.”
  • “…eligible businesses must have experienced a more than 25% revenue decrease due to the impact from COVID-19.”
  • “Furthermore, to qualify as a small business, each establishment must have fewer than 50 employees.”

 

Business Guidance

Executive Order in Response to COVID-19 (“Shelter-in-Place”)

On March 20th, Gov. Pritzker issued a statewide order for residents to stay at home, effective at 5PM on March 21st. All businesses and operations, save those deemed essential, are forced to cease activities as part of this order.

  • If your employees and contractors can work from home, they are permitted and encouraged to do so.
  • Restaurants and bars that have switched to carryout or delivery-only may continue to operate.

Businesses deemed essential include:

  • Healthcare, public health, government, human service operations, essential infrastructure, and essential government functions
  • Those providing essential consumables, such as medicine, food (including restaurants), beverages (including alcoholic beverages), home supplies (including cleaning and personal care products), pet food/supplies, and cannabis
  • Transportation services (gas, car and bike supplies/repair) and transportation providers (including Uber, Lyft, etc.)
  • Financial services and professional services (legal, accounting, real estate, and insurance)
  • Hardware stores, laundromats, and delivery services
  • Any business that provides supplies or services necessary for people to work from home or necessary to support the previously mentioned essential businesses

We’ve summarized what the shelter-in-place order means for your business here. Read the executive order (sec. 7 through 10) for a full list of Essential Businesses and more information about the requirements. The order is active until April 7th but may be extended.

 

IDES COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits

“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.”

As businesses across the state closed their doors for the time being, sweeping unemployment followed. The Illinois Department of Employment Security has weighed in about unemployment insurance qualifications and applications, specifically focusing on job loss caused by the novel coronavirus.

 

BACP COVID-19 Resources for Businesses, Consumers and Employees

“This page contains resources and information for Businesses, Consumers and Employees impacted by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Outbreak. The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) is working closely with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to communicate updated guidance with the businesses, consumers and employees affected by this crisis. This is a rapidly evolving situation and this page will be updated regularly with new resources. For up-to-date health guidance, please visit www.chicago.gov/coronavirus

 

CDPH COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers

The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has released guidance “intended for businesses and employers and may help prevent exposures to all acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.”

 

IDFPR Assistance for Licensees and Education Providers

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) has “issued a series of variances that provide relief from the provisions of certain Administrative Rules pertaining to license renewal terms and to continuing education requirements. The five Variances may be found here.

 

G & G Law

Several of our blogs and articles find themselves suddenly and pressingly relevant. In those areas where we have yet to see official guidance, these are a good start:

 

Employers and Unemployment

The Families First Coronavirus Act, passed by the federal government on March 18th, mandates the following for businesses with fewer than 500 employees:

  • Two weeks of sick time for all employees at normal pay.
  • Up to 12 weeks of emergency family leave for all employees, provided they have a minor child whose school or childcare services were suspended due to COVID-19 and have been employed for at least 1 month. The first ten days are unpaid, and the rest is paid at two-thirds of the employee’s normal rate.
  • Businesses will receive tax credits from a portion of the payroll tax to mitigate these costs.
  • Independent contractors can take tax credits to fund their own paid leave.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees may receive a waiver if these requirements would force the business to close.

The Department of Labor will release a summary of these requirements within 7 days (by March 25th), and they will take effect in 15 days (April 2nd).

 

IDES COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits

“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.”

As businesses across the state closed their doors for the time being, sweeping unemployment followed. The Illinois Department of Employment Security has weighed in about unemployment insurance qualifications and applications, specifically focusing on job loss caused by the novel coronavirus.

 

G & G Law

Our attorneys revisited unemployment issues through the lens of COVID-19 and published their findings in the following blog posts:

 

Industry-Specific Aid

Restaurants and Bars

Given the inherently social nature of culinary establishments, restaurants and bars have been

  • Governor Pritzker’s order on March 15th closed all restaurants and bars in the state from March 16th until March 30th to dine-in service, but curbside pickup and delivery are still allowed. The Governor’s order on March 20th issuing a statewide stay-at-home order does not change this.
  • A collection of FAQs released by the BACP details more about who the closure affects, what kinds of service are still allowed, etc.
  • An IDPH statement provides guidance about how to implement the order, its background and enforcement, and FAQs.
  • Dining at a Distance is a website dedicated to connecting takeout-hungry consumers with customer-hungry restaurants. Business owners can reach out to get their establishment on the list.
  • The Bartender Emergency Assistance Program, offered by the U.S. Bartender’s Guild, provides financial aid to eligible applicants. YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE A MEMBER OF USBG TO APPLY.

 

Artists and Arts Businesses and Organizations

Many national organizations have compiled lists of aid assets for the creative disciplines, including:

  • The COVID-19 Freelance Artist Resource is an updating and aggregated list of FREE resources, opportunities, and financial relief options available to artists of all
  • NCAPER (The National Coalition for Arts’ Preparedness & Emergency Response) is regularly updating its site with arts-specific resources and advice.
  • ArtsReady is an organization with additional similar resources.

 

There are also several focused specifically on helping the Chicago arts community:

 

Courts

The Illinois Courts’ website has a running roster of status updates on, sortable by date and by court. Many Illinois courts are delaying cases or operating at a reduced capacity.

Cook County Updates:

 

Situation Updates

Chicago

The City of Chicago Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) website contains:

  • Important numbers, like the number of cases in the city
  • Communications on key developments, like school closures and actions by the State and federal governments
  • An FAQ section
  • CDPH’s COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses and Employers

If you have any additional questions, you can reach the CDPH at coronavirus@chicago.gov or call 312-746-4835. You can also sign up to receive email updates.

In addition, Crain’s Chicago Business has removed the paywall for news about the novel coronavirus

 

Illinois

The Illinois Department of Public Health’s (IDPH) website contains:

  • Important numbers and infographics, like the number of cases in Illinois and their geographical concentration.

For general questions about COVID-19 and Illinois’ response and guidance, call 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov

 

The Governor has created a dedicated website to track the novel coronavirus in Illinois. It contains:

  • Important numbers and infographics, like the number of cases in Illinois
  • Executive orders and proclamations
  • Advice about how to prepare for and prevent the disease
  • FAQs for issues of business, education, and unemployment

 

National

The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) website contains

  • Important numbers and infographics, like the number of cases in the country and their geographical concentration.
  • Information about COVID-19
  • Information on prevention and treatment
  • Recommended preparatory measures.
  • Links to specific resources for a wide range of communities.
  • Flyers about measures to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus, available in English and Spanish.

To stay apprised of the outbreak’s progression, you can sign up for email updates.

 

We make no guarantees regarding the accuracy or timeliness of the information in this post.