Chamber Members:

Good afternoon to everyone on this last day of March. As we move into the month of April, we hope that sooner rather than later we can return to business as (somewhat at least) usual. With that said, Governor Pritzker has now made the much-rumored extension of the stay at home order official until April 30th. We’ll let you know if any new information is included in this new order.

Today’s update will be a little lighter than usual as it seems as if a lot of you are trying to dig through the mounds of information concerning loans, grants, and employee decisions. We hope that the information that we’ve been sharing is helping in these decision-making processes.

We’re compiling a list of Chamber member banks and credit unions that are participating in the CARES Act grant / loan process with SBA as well as those that have partnered with the State of Illinois through DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) for their Small Business Emergency Loan Fund that opens April 1st. We anticipate sharing this list on Thursday afternoon. If for some reason the email did not make it to you earlier today, please send info to if you are lending for one or both of these programs by noon on Thursday.

As a reminder, 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.

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:

*Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00pm on April 1st, and winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there are no worries to submitting an application in the later period as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.

As another reminder, 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. For more information, click here: . These are the loans that will be handled locally by lenders.

Attached is a document reviewing the emergency resources for businesses through the Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity and here is the link to a their landing page:

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has a helpful page as well regarding COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits. The page can be found here:

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF) is a new statewide fundraising effort to support nonprofit organizations serving those whose lives have been upended by this pandemic. Chaired by former U.S. Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, ICRF will focus on filling Illinois residents’ most basic needs, including:
* Emergency food and basic supplies
* Interim housing and shelter
* Primary health care services
* Utility and financial assistance
* Supports for children and other vulnerable populations
* Nonprofit safety and operations assistance

You can make a donation or find out more here:

Finally, from the SBDC program at JJC comes this reminder:

Effective tomorrow, April 1st employers must post a notice of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) requirements in a conspicuous place on its premises. All employers covered by the paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) (i.e., certain public sector employers and private sector employers with fewer than 500 employees) are required to post this notice.

Given many are working remotely, an employer may satisfy this requirement by emailing or direct mailing this notice to employees or posting this notice on an employee information internal or external website. The poster can be found on the US Dept of Labor’s site here: . The IL SBDC at Joliet Junior College is working remotely, and we are available to answer your questions. Please contact us at (815) 280-1400 or email

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