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.
On Thursday, March 18, 2021 Governor Pritzker announced the Bridge Plan to move Illinois from Phase 4 to Phase 5 of Restore Illinois. The step between Phase 4 and 5 will allow for greater capacity limits for bars and restaurants, social gatherings, and museums etc., depending on whether they are indoors or outdoors. The metrics to advance into the Bridge Phase include reaching a 70% of residents over 65 have received a first vaccine dose and maintaining a 20% or lower ICU bed availability and hold hospital admissions and case rate steady over a 28-day period. As of 3/18/2021, 58% of people over 65 had received at least one vaccine. Barring no significant COVID19 resurgence, in order to go into Phase 5, Illinois must reach a 50% vaccination rate for residents over 16 and maintain metrics or hospitalizations and cases for an additional 28-day period (as of 3/18/2021 28% of this population has received at least one vaccine dose).
The mask requirement in public spaces where distancing is not achievable, will remain in effect until such time as the CDC recommendation terminates. Elmhurst is currently in Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan.
Click Here for More Details on the Bridge Phase
On Tuesday, May 5, 2020 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 moved into Phase 4 of Restore Illinois on February 4, 2021.
View the complete Restore Illinois plan HERE.
Click Here for Phase 4 Guidelines Overview
Full Restore IL Phase 4 Guidelines and toolkits.
PHASE 4 GUIDELINES INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:
Restaurants and Bars:
Retail and Service Counter:
Meetings and Social Events:
Please continue to monitor the City's website and the Governor's announcements for updated information. IDPH will continue to closely monitor test positivity, ICU bed availability, and the number of people in the hospital with COVID-19. Should data show regions trending in the wrong direction, based on the established mitigation metrics, regions could once again find themselves in a higher tier with increased measures.
Elmhurst Applications for Outdoor Business Operations for 2021
Outdoor Dining Operations Temporary Use Permit Application
Outdoor Fitness Classes Temporary Use Permit Application
The Elmhurst City Council approved extended & expanded outdoor dining and fitness opportunities for the local business community again in 2021. Businesses with specific questions on outdoor business expansion are encouraged to email Business Development Coordinator Erin Jason at email@example.com
**03/15/2021** What business assistance is available through the Third Federal Stimulus Package?
On March 12, 2021 President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 into law. The Act designated an additional $1.9 trillion in economic relief, approximately $65-billion of which is directed towards businesses. The American Rescue Plan Act provides additional relief for the nation’s small businesses and hard-hit industries for programs the SBA is currently administering and adds new efforts, including:
The nearly $65-billion business assistance package contains many top priorities, including:
SBA’s current relief efforts can be found at www.sba.gov/coronavirusrelief, and more details about these program updates and new efforts the SBA will administer in the coming weeks.
All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL), will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note.
Paycheck Protection Program Loans (PPP): Open January 11 - March 31, 2021
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, another approximately $284 billion was added in the Second Federal Stimulus Package signed 12/27/2020, and an additional $7.25 billion was added March 12, 2021 in the American Rescue Plan Act. 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. New loans are capped at $2 million, compared to $10 million before. Applicants must have no more than 300 employees, instead of up to 500, and the business can show a 25% gross revenue decline in any 2020 quarter compared with the same quarter in 2019.The bill expands the type of covered expenses to include things like cloud computing or remote-work software; and equipment for government-mandated sanitation and social-distancing, like sneeze guards or air filtration systems.
These are called “second draw” loans, applicants who meet the qualifications above, can apply even if they previously received assistance through the CARES Act PPP Program. Details are included in the links below.
Application for PPP First Draw Borrower Overview of First Draw PPP
Application for PPP Second Draw Borrower Overview of Second Draw PPP
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.
SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
On March 19, 2020 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, and in the American Rescue Plan act on March 12, 2021. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act expanded the SBA’s long-standing Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL) additional funding was added by the American Rescue Plan Act.
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 / firstname.lastname@example.org
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
ComEd Small Business Relief Program
In November 2020 ComEd 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
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.
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.