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Covid-19  Business Resources

Summary of COVID-19 Small Business Financial Resources

If your email inbox has been anything like ours, it seems like every day there are hundreds of messages coming in of new COVID-19 related grant opportunities, loan criteria, webinars, and safety guidelines! The Chamber has taken all of this information and put it in one document, available below. We will be updating this document in real-time, so make sure to continue to check it for the latest information and resources.

With businesses and residents facing so many challenges and difficulties created by the pandemic, Cook County is moving to waive various County fines, fees and deferring tax collections. Waiving these fines and fees and deferring the County’s tax collection will assist businesses in terms of cash flow to the tune of $35 million during these trying times. This can provide some breathing room for businesses that are struggling.

Under this relief package, due dates for Home Rule Taxes like the Alcoholic Beverage Tax, Amusement Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gasoline and Hotel Accommodations Tax will be pushed back. So will numerous fines and fees under the jurisdictions of the Departments of Transportation and Highways, Environment and Sustainability, Revenue, Building and Zoning and Public Health.

Click here to view the full list of Cook County business-friendly efforts.

Cook County Community Recovery Fund

Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development has launched The Community Recovery Fund as part of the Community Recovery Initiative. This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders. Applications open in mid-April on a first-come, first-serve basis.


Eligibility - To apply, businesses and independent contractors in suburban Cook County must meet these requirements:

  • Small Businesses

  • Fewer than 25 employees

  • Less than $3 million in revenue

  • Gig Workers

  • At least half of income from 1099 contract work

  • Less than $100,000 in gross annual income


More Info - To learn more about the initiative and sign up for updates for when the application period opens, please complete this form. Updates will be sent on a regular basis.

​​​​​Illinois Liquor Control Commission

Please visit the Illinois Liquor Control Commission website for guidance regarding COVID-19 related developments within the liquor industry. This includes updates on delivery of alcohol, license renewal extensions, etc.

Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act

The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This 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. Click here for "The Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act".

Small Business:

  • $377 billion for the Keeping American Workers Paid and Employed Act, which will help prevent workers from losing their jobs and small businesses from going under due to economic losses caused by the COVID-19 pandemic

  • $350 billion worth of 100 percent guaranteed SBA loans, a portion of which SBA will forgive based on allowable expenses for the borrower, through a new Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)

  • $10 billion in direct grants for businesses that do not qualify for the EIDL program

  • $17 billion for to have SBA step in and make six months of principle and interest payments for all SBA backed business loans

  • $562 million for SBA to administer Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) to businesses that need financial support. SBA has signed emergency declarations for all 50 and the territories, so the EDIL program will be able to help small businesses across the country.

Payroll Protection Program:

As of Friday, April 3rd- small businesses and nonprofits can apply for the nearly $350 billion in loan/grant available through the Payroll Protection Program Final Borrower Form HERE.

  • Up to 100% forgivable as long as employers keep paying their workers

  • Employers can borrow up to 250% of their average monthly payroll (max. of $10M) 

  • Eligible if you are: sole proprietor, partnership, C-Corp, S-Corp, LLC, Independent contractor, self-employed individual, 501c3 non-profit, 501c19 veteran organization, tribal business of SBA

Talk to your lender today (or a local lender): Ask to apply for SBA 7a program called Payroll Protection Program FINAL Borrower form HERE.

Department of Labor Unemployment Insurance:

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.

  • Supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation -Through July 31, 2020, the federal government would provide an additional temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits

  • Allows employers to receive an advance on the tax credit for required paid family leave implemented in Families First Coronavirus Response Ac from Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end

  • The bill includes $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans. This also includes funding for DOL agencies to ensure new Paid Leave and UI benefits are implemented swiftly and effectively.

Direct Payments to Americans

  • 1 time direct payment $1,200 (individuals), $2,400 (joint filers), and an additional $500 per child

  • Based on 2019 tax returns for those who have filed and 2018 tax return for those who have not

  • Income eligibility: Full amount for individuals making up to $75,000 (individual) and $150,000 (joint filers) who are not a dependent of another taxpayer and have a work eligible SSN. The direct payment amount begins decreasing and then phases out completely for those making over the full payment income cap. Completely phases out at $99,000 (individuals) and $198,000 (joint filers)

Unemployment Benefits for Workers Impacted by COVID-19

If your business was forced to temporarily close and employees laid off to COVID-19, your employees may qualify for unemployment benefits under emergency rules filed by Governor Pritzker last week. For the full press release, click here.

Here is a Q&A guide release by the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES). For more information on the application process and/or to file an application, employees may visit this website.

IRS Updates for Small Businesses: Tax Day is now July 15

The Treasury Department and Internal Revenue Service announced March 21 that the federal income tax filing due date is automatically extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020.
Taxpayers can also defer federal income tax payments due on April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020, without penalties and interest, regardless of the amount owed. This deferment applies to all taxpayers, including individuals, corporations and other non-corporate tax filers as well as those who pay self-employment tax.

Taxpayers do not need to file any additional forms or call the IRS to qualify for this automatic federal tax filing and payment relief. The IRS urges taxpayers who are due a refund to file as soon as possible.

For a list of frequently asked questions, go to the Filing and Payment Deadlines Questions and Answers page at
For this and other COVID-19 related news, see the special section on focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the pandemic.

Coronavirus-related Paid Leave & Tax Credits for Small Businesses


The U.S. Treasury Department, Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Department of Labor recently announced in a March 20 news release that soon, small and midsize employers can begin taking advantage of two new refundable payroll tax credits, designed to immediately and fully reimburse them, dollar-for-dollar, for the cost of providing coronavirus-related leave to their employees.

This relief to employees and small and midsize businesses is provided under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, signed by President Trump on March 18, 2020. For more information, click here to view the complete March 20 IRS news release.

BACP COVID-19 Resource Website for Business Owners

The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) has launched a new website, which will continue to be updated with additional guidance and resources for employers in response to COVID-19. For more information, click here.

ChiBizHub Resource Website for Business Owners

ChiBizHub, an initiative of World Business Chicago, is dedicated to supporting Chicago’s small business community. They have created this page as one place you can regularly turn to for updated resources and information to help your business weather the storm. For more information, click here.

Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce Resource Website for Business Owners

The Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce created a COVID-19 Resource page, which is a a go-to source of information for the business community. With state, local and federal links, as well as government and small business loan information, this page will help businesses navigate the current options available to support them and their employees.

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently, leading to lost income, jobs and economic stability. Thanks to a $2.5 million investment from Verizon, the Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC) is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available.

Eligibility - LISC will use the Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. The grants can be used for:

  • Paying rent and utilities

  • Meeting payroll

  • Paying outstanding debt to vendors

  • Other immediate operational costs


More Info -The application period for Round 1 has closed. Please register here to stay updated about another round beginning mid-April.

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