The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis creates unique challenges for our local business community. The City of Elmhurst remains actively engaged in serving the needs of our business community through this crisis and is committed to assisting and connecting businesses with the resources they need during this unprecedented time. 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.
Restore Illinois Plan
On Tuesday, May 5, Governor Pritzker announced a 5-phase plan to safely reopen Illinois as we progress through the COVID-19 pandemic. Restore Illinois is designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. Elmhurst is currently in Phase 4 of Restore Illinois.
View the complete Restore Illinois plan HERE.
Effective Friday, November 20, 2020 at 12:01am the entire State of IL will move into Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations to combat a resurgence of Covid-19.
Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations
A full list of increased restrictions is available as part of the Restore Illinois Mitigation Plan. The restrictions include but are not limited to the following:
The new mitigation requirements to combat the surge of COVID-19 across Illinois are as follows:
The provisions above apply to industries/sectors with Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidance or other mitigations. Other functions (i.e. infrastructure, governments, logistics and warehousing etc.) that previously have not been subject to specific guidance may continue regular operations but are encouraged to voluntarily take proactive steps to support new mitigation strategy wherever possible. In these areas, customer serving functions should be limited to 25 percent capacity, aligned with Retail mitigations, and maximize work from home wherever possible.
IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 12 percent test positivity rate for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability AND declining COVID hospitalizations in 7 out of the last 10 days.
From the State of Illinois: For the purposes of these guidelines, a dining or drinking area is considered an outdoor dining or drinking area if the area meets any of the following criteria:
The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity has issued a list of frequently asked questions regarding mitigation restrictions: FAQs for Phase 4 & Mitigation Actions
Unless additional restrictions are specified under the Tier 3 Action Plan all other business activities will continue under the guidelines outlined for Phase 4 operations.
Elmhurst moved into Phase 4 of the State’s Restore Illinois Plan on Friday, June 26th. The State issued guidelines for different industry sectors eligible to re-open and/or expand capacity during Phase 4 are available at the following link and are subject to change throughout Phase 4:
Restore IL Phase 4 Guidelines
Elmhurst Applications for Outdoor Business Operations
Outdoor Dining Operations Temporary Use Permit Application
Outdoor Fitness Classes Temporary Use Permit Application
Businesses with specific questions on outdoor business expansion in Phase 4 are encouraged to email Business Development Coordinator Erin Jason at email@example.com
What business assistance is available from DuPage County?
***UPDATE NOVEMBER 17, 2020***
At its meeting on Tuesday, November 17th, the DuPage County Board will be voting on a resolution authorizing $2.5 million in additional funds for a new phase of the DuPage County Small Business Grant Relief Program designated for Restaurants and Food Establishments in DuPage County. Under this new phase, restaurants and food service establishments in DuPage who have less than $4 million in annual gross revenue and meet the criteria and qualifications outlined below, will be eligible to apply for Covid-19 relief funds up to $15,000 to cover business and operational expenses.
APPLY HERE: Link to Application
If approved by County Board, the portal to accept applications will open on Wednesday, November 18th at 8 a.m. and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis at https://www.choosedupage.com/reinvest-dupage/. Based on sheer number of applicants during the last phase of this program, they expect to reach funding capacity within hours of this opening BUT the portal will remain open until funding capacity is reached.
All dollars will be distributed on a first come first served basis. The October round of grants closed within 90-minutes. Please be prepared to apply at open of grant applications.
ComEd has just launched a new assistance program to help small businesses who are facing financial difficulties during the COVID-19 crisis. ComEd’s Small Business Assistance Program provides eligible small-business customers that are past due on their energy bills with a one-time grant equal to 30 percent of their total ComEd balance (up to $1,000) for a limited time. In addition, customers whose electric service has not been disconnected can then set up their remaining balance due on a payment plan of up to six months. For details on this program, see below. As a reminder, ComEd’s Helping Hands Program was also launched earlier in the week to provide assistance to residential customers facing hardships. Please share this information with your businesses and residents.
Small-business customers can visit ComEd.com/SmallBizAssistance or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more or apply for the Small Business Assistance Program.
Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH)
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has several Business & Organization Guidance forms and best practices available on their website for both businesses that are currently operational and those that are in the process of preparing to reopen: IDPH Business & Organization Guidance
Guidelines for Opening Up America Again
President Trump has unveiled Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, a three-phased approach based on the advice of public health experts. These steps are geared to help state and local officials when reopening their economies, getting people back to work, and continuing to protect American lives.
Guidelines for Opening Up America Again (CDC)
What business assistance is available through the State of Illinois?
ILLINOIS BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANT PROGRAM (BIG Grant)
***UPDATE OCTOBER 22, 2020***
The IL Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched a second round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) for businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. Grants will be awarded and funded on a rolling basis until funding is depleted.
Restaurants & Bars in regions experiencing increased restrictions due to a resurgence of Covid-19 are being given priority for the BIG grant. Businesses are encouraged to apply asap if they have not already done so. While restaurants & bars in regions experiencing increased restrictions, such as Elmhurst, are the current priority for the program, the BIG program is open to ALL eligible businesses (for profit and nonprofit) with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 and experienced losses due to COVID-19. The grant size will be equivalent to two months of expenses.
Application for BIG Grant
The Illinois SBDC at SIU will get more information on this program as it comes available. If you have any questions or need assistance when this program becomes available, you can reach the Illinois Small Business Development Center at SIU at firstname.lastname@example.org or 618.536.2424.
What business assistance is available through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) that was passed by Congress?
President Trump signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) the afternoon of March 27, 2020. The CARES Act’s 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.
On Friday, April 24, 2020 President Trump signed a $484 billion bill Friday to aid employers and hospitals under stress from the coronavirus pandemic H.R. 266, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. The bill is the latest effort by the federal government to assist businesses that have had to close or dramatically alter their operations. It includes a $320 billion replenishment for the Paycheck Protection Program as well as approximately $75 billion in aid for hospitals, $25 billion for coronavirus testing, and $60 billion to replenish the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.
To help small business owners and entrepreneurs better understand the new programs that 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)
CARES Act Assistance Guide for Small Businesses (Congressman Mike Quigley Dist. 5)
Struggling to get started? The following questions might help point you in the right direction. Do you need:
Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP)
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act originally allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn; an additional $320 billion in funds were added to the program through the H.R. 266, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act on April 24, 2020. 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.
The EZ application requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers. Details regarding the applicability of these provisions are available in the instructions to the new EZ application form. Click HERE to access instructions for EZ borrowers seeking to apply for loan forgiveness.Both applications give borrowers the option of using the original eight-week covered period (if their loan was made before June 5) or an extended 24-week covered period. These changes will result in a more efficient process and make it easier for businesses to realize full forgiveness of their PPP loan.
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. Additional funding was made available through H.R. 266, Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act on April 24, 2020. 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 a 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
Locate your nearest Small Business Development Center or text LOCATE to 7234
Guide to SBA’s EIDL Program (US Chamber of Commerce)
Understanding the Basics of SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans Slide Deck
SBA Disaster Loan Resources Guide
SBA Loan Front Line Staff Contacts
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.
7(a) Loan Program Information
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 Loan Program Information
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
SBA Microloan Program Information
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.
FAQs: Employee Retention Credit under the CARES Act (IRS)
Guide to Employee Retention Tax Credit (US Chamber of Commerce)
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.
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.
Illinois Small Business Development Center and ITC at College of DuPage
Women’s Business Development Center
312-853-3477 / email@example.com
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.
Minority Business Development Agency Business Center
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
What do I do if I believe a business is violating the Governor’s Stay at Home Order?
If you believe that a business is violating Executive Order 20-10, which requires all non-essential businesses cease all activities except for working from home, you may submit a complaint to the State of IL. Please review this document that describes the executive order before submitting the complaint Essential Business FAQ. You can also view the Full Executive Order 20-10 Here. Note on April 1st the Governor extended the length of the order to April 30th.
If after review of the Executive Order you still believe that a business is in violation, you may Submit a Complaint Here.
If you have questions about whether a business is violating the Stay at Home Order by not allowing for safe social distancing or that it is not maintaining a safe and sanitary work environment to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, please contact the Workplace Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at (844)740-5076 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have questions about employee benefits, including paid leave, please contact the Illinois Department of Labor at 312-783-2800 (Chicago office), 217-782-6206 (Springfield office), or email@example.com.
In the event you observe a flagrant violation of the Stay at Home order, such as a bar or restaurant having a room full of customers eating in, please contact the Elmhurst Police Department (630)530-3050.
How can my company Donate, Make, or Sell needed PPE items?
For donations of personal protective equipment, please email: PPE.firstname.lastname@example.org. All donated items should be in the manufacture’s original packaging and unopened. For non-PPE items, tangible or financial, please email: CEO.BusinessDonations@illinois.gov.
“Make”: Manufacturers who are ramping up or altering their operations to provide more essential items should contact the Illinois Manufacturers Association (IMA) at: https://ima-net.org/covid-19/supplies/
“Sell”: Wholesalers, suppliers, or manufacturers that already have items on hand to sell or will in the future, should contact: COVID.email@example.com.
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.
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.