Chamber Members:

The House was able to gather enough members back to Washington D.C. today to vote on the CARES Act and it passed earlier today. President Trump has now signed the CARES Act, marking it the third legislative package approved by Congress in order to address the coronavirus crisis.  The loans/grants that we’ve shared information on in the past updates contained in the Act should be available soon through an SBA 7 lender and additional designated lenders. To our knowledge, you will not apply to these as you would have for the SBA EIDL loan announced earlier. We will share the information as soon as it comes out.

A reminder that the deadline to apply for the loan through the Illinois Treasurers office is on April 1st. Attached is a PDF with a review of information. The Business Invest program is an impact investment loan program to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing. Here is the link again for more information:

Please find the link below for information on a free webinar (April 1) provided by the National Development Council in support of our current challenges during this COVID-19 crisis.  This webinar will provide information on potential solutions and resources to assist us in our communities throughout Will County and beyond. In light of the COVID-19 crisis, communities, small businesses, nonprofits, and community development professionals are facing unprecedented challenges. Small businesses and nonprofits are struggling to stay afloat and retain employees, communities are being forced to reevaluate how they maintain operations and best serve their citizens, and economic development professionals are trying to stay up-to-date with the current federal efforts to rescue families and small businesses.

In this webinar, learn about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) and how our industry is helping to find solutions and craft programs to meet the immediate and long-term economic development needs of communities around the country.

New updates on the SBA (EIDL) program (attachment again on information). All Illinois small businesses can now apply for low-interest disaster loans to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The Illinois District Office will host free webinars as long as there is demand covering:

  • Eligibility
  • Use of proceeds
  • Terms
  • Filing requirements
  • Additional small business resources

Choose the date and time most convenient for you. All events listed in Central Time. Click the link to register now

Monday, March 30, 11 a.m.

Monday, March 30, 1 p.m. (Chinese/Mandarin)

Monday, March 30, 3 p.m.

Tuesday, March 31, 11 a.m.

Tuesday, March 31, 3 p.m.

More webinars will be announced soon! Watch your email for future events.

Updates to SBA’s disaster loan website

We’ve heard your feedback about your experience using the disaster loan website, and the SBA is working diligently to meet customer demand and make the application process as user-friendly and easy as possible. Currently, the online application is under maintenance. In the interim, applicants can download forms, fill them out, and upload or mail them. Visit the website for more instructions, and if you’re still receiving error messages, try closing and reopening your browser and clearing your cookies/browsing cache.

Apply now

IDES Taking Steps to Address Unprecedented Volume of Unemployment Claims
SPRINGFIELD – Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced they are taking additional steps to address the unprecedented volume of unemployment benefit claims the department has fielded as a result of COVID-19.

To date, the department has taken several steps to improve the unemployment benefit claims process via the online portal and the call center.

*    The website has been moved to new hardware infrastructure to handle the increased demand
*    Web, storage, and processing capacity has been increased to meet needs of increased traffic
*    Methods have been implemented to track COVID-19-related claims
*    Call center capacity has been increased
*    Daily call center hours have been extended to respond to those waiting in the queue after closure
*    Call center staff has been supplemented by 40% to cut down on wait times
*    Both the website and the call center will continue to be monitored for improvements in functions and abilities

In addition to these measures, IDES is now asking individuals to adhere to an alphabetized schedule when filing an unemployment benefit claim online and over the phone.  This process mirrors other states, such as Colorado and New York, who are experiencing increased web traffic and high call volumes with their unemployment benefit systems.
Online Filing Schedule:
*    Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
*    Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
*    Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
Call Center Filing Schedule:
*    Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
*    Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
*    Fridays (7:30am – 6pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.
The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether you receive benefits or your benefit amount.  Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19.
IDES is currently working through an unparalleled number of unemployment benefit claims and questions, both online and through the call center.  Over the first three weeks of March, IDES has received over 130,000 unemployment benefit claims, an increase of close to 400% compared to the corresponding weeks the prior year.  The department received close to 115,000 claims for the week of March 21 alone, an increase of nearly 1,400% compared to the corresponding week the prior year.  Additionally, the call center continues to field hundreds of calls per minute, per day.
The administration and the department understand and empathize with the heightened level of frustration this crisis has had on those wishing to file a claim.  IDES is doing everything possible to support our customers and meet the demand for unemployment benefit inquiries and claims.
Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefit at this time are encouraged to visit<>.
*   IDES Taking Steps to Address Unprecedented Volume of Unemployment Claims<>

Finally, attached is checklist to serve as a reminder as to which businesses have been labeled as essential here in Illinois and what types of operations are to be permitted. Please look over if you haven’t yet and/or still have questions as to your status of being operational.

We hope that all is well with you and your organization and that you can find some time over the weekend to unwind.

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors



Mike Paone

Vice President

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

815.727.5371 main

815.727.5373 direct