Chamber Members:

As we begin our second full week of Gov. Pritzker’s stay at home declaration, President Trump retreated yesterday from his desire to relax coronavirus guidelines by Easter. Instead, he has announced that all Americans must continue to avoid nonessential travel, going to work, eating at bars and restaurants, or gathering in groups of more than 10 for at least another month and perhaps until June. With that said, we hope that all of you are weathering this storm. Below are updates and more information for resources to utilize.

Here is a time sensitive request regarding PPE from the Illinois Dept. of Human Services, so please make sure to read the details and pass along this information to anyone that has been affected.

  • Statewide Community-Based Organizations PPE Survey (TIME SENSITIVE)
    • The IDHS wishes to better understand the acute needs for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) among community-based organizations across the state. They have created a short survey that must be completed before April 1.
  • The survey is designed to more precisely understand statewide PPE needs
  • Please note, however, that completing the survey is not a guarantee that you will receive the supplies, and it is not a purchasing order
  • As you fill out the survey, please give your best estimate of need over the next 30-90 days, accounting for both your organization’s staff and customer/client populations
  • A direct link to the survey is here:

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation today announced a series of actions to ensure the protection of Illinoisans in many areas of consumer borrowing, servicing, and collections. The Department also provided Guidance to its regulated entities, state banks, credit unions, installment lenders, payday lenders, title loan lenders, sales finance lenders including auto loans, currency exchanges, student loan servicers, mortgage servicers, and collection agencies concerning their lending, servicing, and collection during the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for full press release

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. The administration soon will release more details including the list of lenders offering loans under the program. In the meantime, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has issued this guide to help small businesses and self-employed individuals prepare to file for a loan. Here are the questions you may be asking— and what you need to know.

USF and Joliet Chamber Partner to Help Local Businesses Acquire CARES Act Dollars

Joliet, Ill. – In light of the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the economy, many Joliet area businesses are wondering how they can acquire funds from the CARES Act to help the local business and local employees. While the government has not released full details yet, local Joliet area resources are already springing to action to help local businesses. Professors at the University of St. Francis in Joliet, in cooperation with the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce, quickly prepared a fact sheet to explain these new programs.  As a result, local bankers are already gearing up to help their customers acquire their share of CARES Act dollars.

View full press release and download fact sheet

Based on continuing assessments of guidance from federal, state and local health authorities, the U.S. Census Bureau is suspending 2020 Census field operations for two additional weeks to April 15, 2020. The Census Bureau is taking this step to help protect the health and safety of the American public, Census Bureau employees, and everyone who will go through the hiring process for temporary census taker positions. The Census Bureau continues to evaluate all 2020 Census field operations and will communicate any further updates as soon as possible.” (

The 2020 Census is open for self-response online, over the phone by calling the number provided in your invitation, and paper forms will be sent out in mid-April through the mail. You can now respond online at or by phone:1 844-330-2020. So far only 39.4% have responded in Will County. Given the current circumstances and precautions we are taking to keeping our community safe, we have canceled and postponed our in-person questionnaire assistance and community education events until further notice. We are shifting gears to focus more on digital media outreach and phone-banking to answer questions our community may have about the census and to assist in completing questionnaires.

How you can help:

This comes from Governor Pritzker’s press conference on Friday. He has addressed our proposals that were shared last week –

“Several chambers of commerce are asking their lawmakers to shift the minimum wage increase schedule, exempt unemployment insurance benefit claims from affecting the business contribution rate and deferring sales tax payments. Are you discussing any of these ideas right now?”

Governor: We’ve already deferred sales tax payments. On the other two, these are obviously things that we’ll want to be working through over the next couple of months. I just want to remind everybody though, I’ve had calls with some legislators or others who raise some of these issues that like the minimum wage or like the fair tax or something else. And I’ll be honest with you, we’re in the midst of the biggest crisis in our lifetimes, at least in my lifetime across the nation. So, we’ll get around to talking about those things, but right now we’re focused on hospitals healthcare workers and those who are sick and dying.

Finally, we’re hearing lawmakers are already planning another round of legislation aimed at keeping companies flush with capital and millions of workers on payrolls amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Senate plans to be on recess until April 20, and the House will take an extended break as well. Depending on how the economy progresses, they may need to report back quicker though. Lawmakers in both parties say they expect discussions on a “phase four” coronavirus response bill in the weeks ahead as travel restrictions, social distancing and sick workers squeeze or shutter businesses nationwide. As an additional component, Democrats are also eyeing new funding for water, broadband, schools and other infrastructure systems that have proven insufficient, they said, in the face of the current coronavirus crisis. We’ll keep you posted as those potential details emerge.

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