Chamber Members:

We hope that you are all staying healthy during this time of tremendous change. In an effort to make sure that you are all receiving as much helpful information about the Coronavirus and its impact on businesses and organizations, we have set up a web page that will be updated with news, notes and offers from members, and directions for important action.

You may visit this site at:

Here is the latest information to share with you:

We had shared the news about the first legislative move and now lawmakers look to add an additional legislative package that would include broader economic measures such as a tax rebate, a payroll tax cut, small-business grants and loans, expanded unemployment insurance and relief for the airlines and other hard-hit industries. The thought is to help Americans with financial challenges, efforts to shore up the economy and small business and bolstering the health care system. This would include a $50 billion expansion in loan capacity to small businesses. We hope that the loans will be available for use with paid leave and telecommuting costs. It is nice to see that grants are included in the discussions as businesses will need more than just loans.

A new proposal has emerged in which President Trump has indicated the administration was still considering a payroll tax cut, but looking at other measures to more quickly send money to Americans.The proposal would include cash payments to Americans in the next two weeks, but wouldn’t say how much the one-time payments would be. Reports have been anywhere from $1,000 per adult and $500 per child to $4,500 per adult for those making less than $65,000.

Shared info:

• Nicor Gas recognizes that the evolving landscape surrounding the new coronavirus (COVID-19) may cause financial hardship for residents and businesses in the Joliet Region impacted by employment changes or business slowdown. For more information on how Nicor Gas is taking steps to support them as they face increasing challenges caused by the fallout of COVID-19, they can visit –

• The Will County Health Department has opened a Coronavirus hotline. Hours are Monday through Friday from 8 am until 4 pm. The number is 815.740.8977.

• Accion’s Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

To our clients, partners, funders and supporters,

Helping neighborhood entrepreneurs grow is Accion’s mission. Now more than ever, Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana is working hard to creatively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic that threatens the health of small business owners, employees, customers, families, and communities.

First, for all existing Accion Serving Illinois & Indiana clients, we offer you a 90% reduction in your monthly loan payment for the next three months. We will extend the term of your loan for three months after the original maturity date to help you to catch up after the crisis has passed. Click here to request this option and to learn more.

Second, for existing Accion clients and for any entrepreneur who needs access to capital right now, we are launching an expedited Accion line of credit application for up to $25,000. Any entrepreneur who has a clean credit report in 2019 is eligible for this expedited process. Rather than conduct a full underwrite of your business, we will set the maximum loan amount based on your monthly revenues in January and February. If you didn’t make on-time payments in 2019 or you need more capital than your recent revenues suggest, we are still here to help: an Accion Community Lender will work with you to evaluate your application in more detail. Click here to apply.

Third, the Accion Coaching Team continues to be available to provide you free assistance. Please click here to schedule a meeting with a Business Coach.

Fourth, we are working quickly with philanthropic and government partners to explore possible ways to provide additional emergency help to entrepreneurs in need of financial support. We will communicate more about this effort as soon as possible.

Finally, in effort to contribute to the flattening of the infection curve, many of our staff will be working remotely. We will continue to be reachable by phone and email and will work just as effectively to meet the needs of our clients and partners. If you have any questions or concerns, please call us at 312-275-3000 or email us at We thank you for your partnership and support, and wish the best to you and your families during these difficult times.

Brad McConnell

• From our friends at the Illinois Retail Merchants Association comes some grocery shopping tips:

There is plenty of food for everyone if everyone practices common-sense. Common-sense means:

1. Shop for the amounts you normally would. There is ZERO need for hoarding (buying more than you need for a week).

2. Hoarding (buying more than you need for a week) creates problems for others such as those over 60-years of age or those with compromised immune systems. This is because hoarding creates unnecessary shortages and impacts delivery or curb-side pick-up options.

3. If the grocer of your choice has delivery or curb-side pick-up options available, everyone should consider utilizing those. However, if people continue buying more than they need, these options are difficult for the grocer to support. That is why people, particularly our more vulnerable neighbors, are now having to wait days for delivery or pick-up.

4. Even in nations like Italy or Spain that have imposed in-home quarantines, citizens are allowed free access to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. to obtain what they need. Again, no need for hoarding.

5. The supply chain is healthy and working. All that is needed to return to normalcy is for consumer to return to buying only what they need for a week.

6. When shopping in-person, consumers should maintain social distancing and exercise common-sense hygiene (e.g. wash hands, wipe down goods when taken home, use a sanitation wipe on grocery cart/basket). But those are all actions we should take under normal circumstances, not just during a pandemic.

• More updates from SBA:
We know these are tough times. The SBA stands ready to be your partner.
Right now, Illinois small business owners are focused on keeping their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. No matter how you’ve been affected, the SBA can help you protect the business you’ve worked so hard to build.
Update: Disaster loans
SBA Administrator Jovita Carranza has streamlined the process for states to request SBA disaster assistance, which means businesses will be able to access low-interest disaster loans faster. Learn more about the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program, which provides working capital loans to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue. We’ll inform you through e-mail and Twitter when you can begin to apply for a loan.
Need help now?
SBA works with a number of local partners to counsel, mentor, and train small businesses. To talk with a small business expert about challenges you need help addressing immediately, find the resource nearest to you at You can also call us at (312) 353-4528 or e-mail your questions to
More resources
• For information on all federal programs, visit or (en Español).
• The IRS has established a web page to help taxpayers and businesses affected by the coronavirus.
• The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including use of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
• New guidance outlines how states can administer their unemployment insurance programs to help Americans affected by coronavirus.

• Finally, a refresher on policy updates if you have missed the details:
State and local leaders have taken a variety of actions in response to the coronavirus.

Restaurants: Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced all restaurants and bars in Illinois will be closed to dine-in service from March 16 through at least March 30. Establishments will still be allowed to continue drive-thru and take-out services, including pickup and delivery.

Schools: Schools in Illinois will also be closed March 17 through at least March 30. Pritzker’s order applies to all schools with students in kindergarten through seniors in high school. Day care centers will still be allowed to remain open at this time. Universities across the state have also suspended most in-person learning. Many have moved all classes online for the remainder of the spring semester and told their students to move home.

Public events: Pritzker recommended avoiding any gathering of more than 50 people, while President Donald Trump recommended avoiding gatherings of more than 10 people. Gatherings with over 1,000 people have been canceled for 30 days, with the suggestion they be postponed until at least May 1. In addition, Pritzker spoke with the owners of all major sports teams in Illinois and asked they not host any home games until at least May 1. The owners agreed, meaning the home opener for the Cubs and White Sox will not take place until at least May 1 and possibly as late as July depending on how Major League Baseball reacts to the situation. Casinos: All 10 casinos in Illinois have been told by state gambling regulators to shut their doors for at least two weeks.

State parks: The Illinois Department of Natural Resources also announced they will be closing all state parks until further notice.

Toll roads: The Illinois Tollway also announced all tolls will need to be paid electronically, and it will not operate toll booths staffed by employees for the time being.

Stay well,

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