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The Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce (RVCC) has long been a critical marketing and educational resource for entrepreneurs and small business owners, but never has there been a time in recent human history when business owners have needed to know exactly where to go to stay afloat while the country is at a near economic standstill due to coronavirus fears.

 

Public health and safety is everyone’s priority right now. Here at RVCC, we're focused on the small businesses we serve as they work to help our community. RVCC continues our focus on providing businesses with access to information and other valuable resources. RVCC staff is currently working remotely so please contact us by phone or email for local details. Let’s keep our small business community strong!

Local Resources

Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP):

BACP has put together an FAQ document with answers to the many questions facing restaurants and bars:

ChiBizHub:

ChiBizHub has created a small business portal.

Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund: 

In collaboration with the City of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region.

Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund: 

The League of Chicago Theatres and The Saints have developed a Chicago Theatre Workers Relief Fund to help replace lost income due to theatre closures. The Fund is available to all those who have had to stop work and are not getting paid, including those who were on contract, part time employees and those working on a stipend which was not paid.

Chicago Bilingual Landlord Association/Spanish Coalition for Housing: 

They provide assistance to both commercial and residential properties owners. Information here.

Chicago Department of Public Heath: Created a Guidance for Business and Employers, here.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce: Resource page here.

Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund:

In collaboration with the City of Chicago, The Chicago Community Trust and United Way of Metro Chicago launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to unite the funds raised by Chicago’s philanthropies, corporations and individuals to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the region. Information here.

City of Chicago FAQ

City of Chicago Business Affairs & Consumer Protection COVID-19 Resources: 

This page contains resources and information for businesses, consumers and employees impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak.

Community Law Project: Formerly called the Community Law Project, the Chicago Lawyers’ Committee offers pro bono legal services.. Information here.

Deferral of City Business Fines and Tax Payment Extensions: 

The City of Chicago's new economic relief package will temporarily defer all business fine collections as well as license renewal and late fees for Chicago’s businesses until April 30, 2020. To further provide relief for businesses over the coming weeks, the City is also extending due dates for tax payments until June 1, 2020 for the following City taxes:

  • Amusement tax (7510, 7510R, 7511)

  • Bottled Water tax (1904)

  • Checkout Bag tax (2737)

  • Ground Transportation tax (7595)

  • Hotel Accommodations tax (7520, 7520S)

  • Parking tax (7530, 7530V)

  • Restaurant tax (7525)

Department of Cultural Affairs and Special EventsCOVID-19 Arts Community Resources.

DoStuff Amplification Project:

Do312 is offering $1 million in free advertising for entertainers and small businesses for 400-500 businesses. The grants are meant to help people and small businesses who are doing something creative to make it through the pandemic, like bartenders who have created delivery services, artists hosting shows online and restaurants selling groceries to make ends meet. Information here.

Public Health Order Prohibiting Citywide Liquor Sales After 9 P.M.:

Effective beginning Thursday, April 9.

Temporary Suspension of City Debt Collection: 

The City of Chicago will be temporarily suspending debt collection practices and non-safety related citations and impounds, as well as penalties for late payment. These measures take effect immediately through April 30, 2020.

State Resources

The State’s order for Illinois residents to stay home is now in place until the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation expires on May 30th, 2020.

What businesses and operations are considered essential? The Governor's Executive Order (EO-2020-10) requires all non-essential businesses and operations to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations. The intent of the EO is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence, even essential businesses and operations should promote telecommuting whenever possible. [DCEO - Essential Business Checklist]

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund: 

Mayor Lightfoot and Gov. Pritzker announced this grant program that will provide financial assistance to artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19. For individuals, the application is temporarily closed until Monday, May 4 at 9 a.m. CST. To receive an email notification when the application reopens, fill out Application Notification Form. For organizations, the applications will be put on pause on April 15, at 5 p.m. it will reopen on Monday, May 4 at 9 a.m. To receive an email notification when the application reopens, join their mailing list here.​

Business Invest: Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program: 

This 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 businesses and nonprofits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Essential Business Checklist (PDF)

Illinois Department of Commerce: Created an Essential Businesses & Operations FAQ

Illinois Department of Employment Securities (IDES):

There are new guidance for independent contractors and 1099 filers seeking unemployment benefits. IDES now recommends ALL unemployed individuals to apply for benefits immediately, regardless of worker designation. Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and 1099 workers are now eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits under the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in the CARES Act. However, IDES has emphasized that an individual must first be denied unemployment benefits in order to qualify for PUA unemployment. Once an individual receives a denial letter, it will become the basis for approval under a subsequent PUA application. You can find more Information here.

Illinois Liquor Control Commission (ILCC):

The ILCC created an FAQ in response to Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order that mandates the closure of on-premise dining in Illinois restaurants. The FAQ will help restaurants with “combined” on and off-premises liquor license holders gain clarification on what is allowed. Businesses that are unsure about the classification of their state liquor license should contact the ILCC for additional information.

  • Liquor licenses expire on the last day of each month. Due to the hardships on liquor license holders as a result of the COVID-19, all licenses expiring on March 31, 2020, April 30, 2020, and May 31, 2020 are extended until July 31, 2020. For more information please go to ILCC Liquor License Extensions.

Illinois Restaurant Association: Find COVID-19 resources here.

Small Business Advocacy Council:

The SBAC is gathering insight and data to assist with the formation of policy initiatives that can help Chicago businesses weather this storm. While it would be helpful for business owners, entrepreneurs and others supported by the small business community to identify themselves on the survey, please feel free to complete the form anonymously. You also do not need to complete every inquiry on the survey. Please only provide the information you feel comfortable sharing. SBAC will immediately pass completed surveys onto the Mayor’s team. Survey here.

State Income Tax Deferral: The 2019 income tax filing and payment deadlines for all taxpayers who file and pay their Illinois income taxes on April 15, 2020, are automatically extended until July 15, 2020. This relief applies to all individual returns, trusts, and corporations. 

State Sales Tax Deferral for Bars and Restaurants: 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 in the State of Illinois.

State of Illinois: Resource page here.

State of Illinois Unemployment Insurance: ​Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19.

Stay at Home Executive Order: 

In response to the evolving COVID-19 pandemic, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot joined Governor JB Pritzker to announce a statewide order for Illinois residents to shelter in place. The order, which requires all residents to stay home, except for essential needs, is currently in place through April 30, 2020.

The State of Illinois has set up a hotline for businesses to ask questions about whether their business is essential and any other questions regarding the Governor’s executive order. Call 1-800-252-2923.

Federal Resources

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and Loan Advances (currently not accepting new applications): 

These low-interest loans offer up to $2 million in assistance per eligible small business or non-profit organization that applies, providing funding that can be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that cannot be paid due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. The interest rate for businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75%, and the non-profit rate is 2.75%. Loans are available with long-term repayments to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Businesses can also apply for an Economic Injury Disaster Loan advance of up to $10,000. The SBA is making these loan advances available within days of a successful application, and loan advances will not have to be repaid.

 

U.S. Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) (currently not accepting new applications):

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, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The SBA will administer the PPP. More information will be posted here as soon as it is made available.

Federal Income Tax Deferral: 

The U.S. Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance allowing for the deferral of income tax payments for certain individuals and corporations.

Federal Stimulus Packages:

Phase 3 Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act:

A $2 trillion economic stimulus package that addresses the economic impact caused by the COVID-19 outbreak through the Paycheck Protection Program and changes that expand and expedite loans for businesses and unemployment benefits for their employees.

Full text of the bill (PDF)

Phase 2 Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA): 

Requires certain employers to provide employees with paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to COVID-19. These provisions will apply from the effective date through December 31, 2020.

Federal Trade Commission: Has an alert page to avoid Coronavirus scams, here.

SBA Express Bridge Pilot Program:

Formed in 2017, the EBL program originally provided loans to small businesses in communities suffering from presidentially-declared disasters or SBA-declared disasters, according to the SBA. Under the program, SBA lenders could provide bridge loan financing for up to $25,000 for small businesses to be used for disaster-related purposes.

 

But as of March 25, 2020, SBA expanded its program eligibility to small businesses across the country that have sustained financial loss because of COVID-19. The expansion comes after President Trump’s COVID-19 emergency declaration. Normally, EBL loans can only be distributed for up to six months after the date of a Presidential Disaster Declaration. But the COVID-19 program expansions allow loans to be made through March 13, 2021. As for term lengths, the maximum loan term is seven years, but a lender may allow a longer term if the borrower doesn’t receive long-term disaster financing.

You can apply for an express bridge loan by contacting your local SBA District Office. Read more about the SBA Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program here.

SBA Debt Relief:

Businesses that are currently taking advantage of the SBA 504, SBA Microloan, or SBA (7)(a) can have all fees, including the principal, waived for 6 months. In effect, this means that all of your debt payments can be effectively wiped out if you apply under this program.

These loans are often not small. For example, the SBA 504 commercial real estate loan can be up to $5 Million, and the monthly interest on this can be large in dollar amounts. The SBA Debt Relief program is a new offering designed specifically to assist businesses suffering from the COVID-19 fallout.

SBA Microloan Program:

Microloans are loans available from the SBA that are under $50,000. Microloans are available mainly to small businesses in underprivileged areas. They are also typically granted to minority businesses run by women, veterans, Hispanics, African Americans, etc. These businesses must be for-profit and must be located in the USA.

 

The criteria for qualifying for these microloans are quite low. A credit check is not required unless the amount is over $20,000. The borrower cannot already owe more than $50,000 at the time of application. The maximum term of the SBA microloan is 6 years, which is a very long term. No physical collateral is required, though a note of collateral must be signed.

Microloans are processed much more quickly than typical SBA (7)(a) loans. However, it is still not as quick as the emergency funds that are available. There are better options available. A microloan is not a line of credit but a term loan. Eligible uses include inventory, wages, working capital, equipment, and machinery. More details can be found here.

Tax Credits for Paid Sick Leave:

On March 18, President Trump signed a coronavirus relief package into law to take effect by April 2. The law provides tax credits for businesses with fewer than 500 employees to be used for the following paid leave mandate expenses: ​​

 

  • Two weeks of paid sick leave for employees who have been quarantined, have a sick family member, or have been affected by school closings.

  • Up to three months of paid family and medical leave amounting to no less than two-thirds of regular pay for those employees listed above.

 

The law includes the option for the Labor Department to exempt businesses with fewer than 50 employees from abiding by the paid leave mandate, if the Labor Department deems the new law poses an existential threat to the company.

Other Resources

Accion Line of Credit: 

Accion, a global non-profit lender, has launched an expedited line of credit application providing up to $25,000 in funding for existing clients and other entrepreneurs who needs access to capital right now.

Access to Capital 101: 

If you're new to the world of small business lending and don't know where to start, small business expert Florence Hardy, Esq., MBA, is available to answer your questions.

  • Small Business Development Center (SBDC) Consultations: SBDC advisers have real-world business management experience and are ready to help answer questions about business planning, business management, financial statement analysis, cash flow management, record-keeping, bank financing, exports and imports, developing personnel policies, marketing, and more. Email scaldwell@chicagolandchamber.org to schedule a free one on one consultation.

  • How to Find Business Funding (PDF)

Business Interruption Insurance: 

Business Interruption Insurance is a typical insurance policy that most small business owners should have taken out. In fact, it is designed specifically to prevent these kinds of challenges. Business Interruption Insurance is supposed to cover any kind of business interruption that affects wages, fixed costs, loan payments, etc. Many insurance companies are currently trying to default on their loan obligations, claiming that COVID-19 is a natural disaster. 

 

However, policymakers are in the process of forcing the insurance companies to make good on their obligations. In California, the commissioner has issued a notice forcing companies to cover COVID-19 claims. This kind of insurance is most typically for larger companies. Only 33% of small businesses get it, according to the American Action Forum. The issue remains quite controversial at present.

 

The President, and many other state senators, have made statements to the effect that insurance companies have to pay, even where there are specific exemption clauses in place. Multiple bills have been introduced by states including Massachusetts, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, California, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Consider the following clause form a New York draft bill:

 

Any clause or provision of a policy of insurance insuring against loss or damage to property, which includes, but is not limited to, the loss of use and occupancy and business interruption, which allows the insurer to deny coverage based on a virus, bacterium, or other microorganisms that causes disease, illness, or physical distress or that is capable of causing disease illness, or physical distress shall be null and void.

 

In other words, if you have Business Interruption Insurance, you could easily be reimbursed even if the contract has a specific viral clause in place.

Facebook Small Business Grants Program: 

Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries.

GoFundMe: Find information on how to start a campaign here.

Goldman Sachs: Has created a US Small Business Resource Center here.

Hello Alice Business for All Grants:

Apply for grants up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. Join leaders such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kristen Bell, Lisa Price, and Zaw Thet to empower every American with an entrepreneurial spirit.

LISC - Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund: 

LISC and Verizon have partnered to offer grants of up to $10,000 for small businesses to fill gaps in revenue. The Round 2 of the application period is now open. Before completing the application, please read the Grant Overview and FAQ. Applications must be submitted by Tuesday, April 28 at 11:59PM EST. Apply here.

National Restaurant Association: Resources for the Foodservice Industry:

Illinois Restaurant Association COVID-19 Legal Network and Expert Guidance

Off Their Plate: 

Off Their Plate is a grassroots movement that provides a conduit for the community to provide nutritious meals to hospital teams, keeping local restaurants busy and restaurant staff employed. Launching soon in Chicago.

One Fair Wage - Emergency Coronavirus Tipped and Service Worker Support Fund:

Provides cash assistance to restaurant workers, car service drivers, delivery workers, personal service workers and more who need the money they aren’t getting to survive.

Small Business Borrowers’ Bill of Rights: 

Learn your rights before asking for a loan and stay away from predatory lenders here.

State of Illinois Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response Page: 

This website from the State of Illinois provides the latest news releases related to coronavirus, video archives of press conferences and tips from leading experts to keep you and your family safe.

The Red Backpack Fund:

The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation has partnered with GlobalGiving to launch The Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving will award at least 1K emergency assistance grants of $5,000 to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis. Majority women-owned businesses and nonprofits with annual revenues less than $5M, at least one additional paid employee, and fewer than 50 individuals on staff. Information here.

Yelp and GoFundMe Small Business Relief Fund:

The Yelp Foundation and GoFundMe have pledged to match up to $1 million in total donations from matching grants made possible by the Small Business Relief Fund. The Fund is managed by GoFundme.org and will make a $500 matching grant for the first 2,000 eligible businesses that claim or otherwise start their fundraising page on GoFundMe and raise $500.

United States' Bartenders' Guild Emergency Assistance Program:

Provides grants for bartenders and spouses or children of bartenders. You do not need to be a USBG member to apply for a philanthropic grant.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce:

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