COVID-19 Business Updates

Below are several updates on important issues to our business community:

Illinois Liquor Commission

There have been several updates from the Illinois Liquor Commission in regards to COVID-19. 

Due to the outbreak of COVID-19, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker has issued Executive Order 2020-07 ordering the suspension of all on-premises sales of food and beverages.

  • The Illinois Liquor Control Commission is authorizing the return of Beer sold and delivered to a retailer on or before March 23, 2020 only. No returns shall be authorized (other than through normal legal channels) for retailer Beer purchases made after March 23, 2020. You can find the full guidance on product returns from the Illinois Liquor Commission here.
  • If a retailer is placed on the Delinquency List, the Illinois Liquor Control Act (“Act”) authorizes the retailer to file a “bona fide dispute” with the State Commission. Once the bona fide dispute is filed with the Commission, the Act and State Commission Rules require the removal of the retailer from the Delinquency List while Chairman or Executive Director of the State Commission makes a determination of delinquency or non-delinquency. You can find more details on the Bone Fide Dispute process here.
  • On March 16, 2020, as a result of Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-07, the Illinois Liquor Control Commission issued guidance on whether a license holder authorized to conduct on-premises alcoholic liquor sales only.  In short, only those license holders that are currently authorized for off-premise sales may continue to conduct such sales. You can find the full guidance here.
  • 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 virus outbreak, all licenses expiring on March 31, 2020, April 30, 2020, and May 31, 2020 are extended until July 31, 2020. Unless otherwise directed, all license holders with March, April, and May expiration dates will be required to renew licenses no later than July 31, 2020.  More details on license renewal can be found here.

For additional news and information from the Illinois Liquor Commission, check out their website here.

Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation

IDFPR recently announced several proactive measures to help professional licensees and educational providers with challenges in light of COVID-19.  Due to the limits of in person courses and reduced contact amongst individuals, IDFPR has provided a series of variances to provide relief for license renewal terms and continuing education requirements.

The five variances can be found here.

  • Any professional licenses that have renewal dates between March 1st and July 31st 2020 are granted an automatic extension to renew to September 30th, 2020.
  • All current licenses under the Department’s jurisdiction whose license renewal dates fall between March 1st and July 31st 2020 shall have up to September 30th 2020 to complete their continuing education requirement.
  • Continuing education coursework can be completed online through interactive webinars.
  • Massage therapy schools can offer online instruction for lecture-based courses.
  • Barber, cosmetology, esthetics, hair, braiding, and nail technology schools can exceed the 10% cap for teaching online theory classes.

A complete list of professional licenses affected by this renewal extension can be found here.

Illinois Department of Human Services

IDHS has provided an updated guidance with information for human services providers.  This guidance includes information for expense-based and fixed rate grants as well as billing fee for service Medicaid.

  • Expense-Based Grants: IDHS will continue to make payments for expense-based grants as normal. 
  • Fixed-Rate Grants:  For fixed-rate grants, please continue to submit billing information. IDHS will make grant payments equal to “average monthly billings x reimbursement rate.” The portion of the grant payment not supported by service billings will need to be expended for costs (e.g. salaries and benefits, facility and administration costs).
  • IDHS Funded Medicaid Fee for Service:  For IDHS funded Medicaid for service providers, please continue to submit billing information. IDHS will make retention payments equal to “average monthly billings x reimbursement rate.”  Retention payments are to be expended for costs (e.g. salaries and benefits, facility and administration costs).

New information and guidance is coming in each day.  IDHS will continue to provide updates as well as FAQs on the IDHS coronavirus website.

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 non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  The purpose of this program is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.  Through this program, the Treasurer’s Office would partner with approved financial institutions to provide loans — either lower rate loans, or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify — to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

More details on this program can be found here.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000.

Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

Starting this Friday, March 27th, interested businesses will be able to express interest at a form that will be posted here.  Below are further details on the program:

Who is eligible?

Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 can apply.  Small businesses within the City of Chicago can apply to a similar loan program here.

What can loan funds be used for?

Loans can be used to support working capital.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses will be able to complete an interest form on this web page on Friday, March 27, 2020.

How much money is available?

Businesses can receive up a low interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.

How soon will businesses receive funds?

Eligible businesses will be invited to submit a full application beginning on April 1. Once submitted, we will strive to make a loan decision within 10 days, and make funds available within two days of receiving bank information from a business.

Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

To help hospitality businesses make ends meet in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, DCEO is launching the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program with $14 million drawn from funds originally budgeted for job training, tourism promotion, and other purposes.  Grant funds are available to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500K and $1M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000, and bars and restaurants that generated less than $500K in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000.  Hotels that generated less than $8M in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000.

Who is eligible?

Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and who generated revenues of less than $1 million in 2019. Hotels with a valid license (hotels, motels other lodging establishments) and who generated revenues of less than $8 million in 2019.

What can grant funds be used for?

For bars and restaurants, based on the businesses needs identified in the grant application, funds can be used to support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology. For hotels, funds can be used as working capital to support the retention of employees.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses can submit an application online here: Landing PageEnglish ApplicationSpanish Application. Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00pm on April 1st, and winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there is no benefit to submitting an application first as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.

How much money is available?

$14 million is available under this program. 

  • Bars and restaurants that generated less than $500,000 in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $10,000. 
  • Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1M in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $25,000. 
  • Hotels that generated less than $8 million in annual revenue last year will be eligible for up to $50,000. 

How soon will businesses receive funds?

Accion will notify businesses on April 4th if they have received an award. Accion and DCEO are striving to make funds available to awarded businesses within two days of receiving the necessary bank information from an awarded grantee.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

This program ONLY applies to businesses in McHenry County in District 65

To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to stand up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program.  This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital.  These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Who is eligible?
Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less. Only units of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution and able to support economic development activities on a sufficient scale are eligible to apply for Economic Development grant funding.  This includes cities, villages, and counties.  Municipalities must not be a HUD direct Entitlement community or be located in an urban county that receives “entitlement” funds.  A map of eligible areas of the state can be accessed here, see “Staff Contact Information.”

Ineligible Communities          
Communities receiving an annual allocation directly from HUD on an entitlement (formula) basis are not eligible to apply for the State’s CDBG funding.  In 2019, Illinois had 33 metropolitan cities and eight urban counties named as Entitlements.  They are:

Urban Counties

  • Cook County
  • DuPage County
  • Kane County
  • Lake County
  • Madison County
  • McHenry County
  • St. Clair County
  • Will County

Metropolitan Cities

  • Arlington Heights
  • Aurora
  • Berwyn
  • Bloomington
  • Champaign
  • Chicago
  • Cicero
  • Danville
  • DeKalb
  • Des Plaines
  • Elgin
  • Evanston
  • Hoffman Estates
  • Joliet
  • Kankakee
  • Moline
  • Mount Prospect
  • Naperville
  • Normal
  • Oak Lawn
  • Oak Park
  • Palatine
  • Pekin
  • Peoria
  • Rantoul
  • Rockford
  • Rock Island
  • Schaumburg
  • Skokie
  • Springfield
  • Urbana
  • Waukegan

What can grants be used for?

Grants can be used to support working capital.

How do businesses apply?

Businesses in the eligible areas should work with their local governments to submit applications.  Application materials will be posted to the DCEO website on Friday, March 27, 2020.

How much money is available?

Grants of up to $25,000 per business will be available.

How soon will businesses receive funds?

DCEO’s goal is to execute grants within 30 days of application receipt, after which funds will be accessible.