We hope that everyone is doing as well as possible in these times. Here are updates for Thursday, March 19.
The State of Illinois has posted a new web site to provide updated information and covers all of the executive orders from the Governor. Visit coronavirus.illinois.gov for resources from multiple state offices.
According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security, total claims on Monday and Tuesday this week leapt to 41,000. That’s nearly 10 times the level of the same week a year ago. Most of these claims are likely coming from restaurant, hotel, retail, and service workers. A good percent of the jump is probably coming from employees that are not able to receive paid sick leave and therefore were advised to apply for unemployment. On March 16, Governor Pritzker issued an Executive Order providing that, until (at least) April 8, the provision of the Illinois Unemployment Insurance Act requiring a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance claims is suspended for claimants who are unemployed and otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
The Senate passed the House’s coronavirus aid package on Wednesday, sending it to President Trump, who signed it last night. Senators voted 90-8 on the bill that passed the House in a middle-of-the-night Saturday vote but needed dozens of pages of corrections and changes, which cleared the chamber on Monday.
The bill approved Wednesday bolsters unemployment insurance and guarantees free diagnostic testing for the coronavirus. It also provides up to 10 days of paid sick leave for some workers. It caps that at companies with 500 employees and would allow for those with fewer than 50 to apply for a waiver.
The next phase of a coronavirus bill is expected to include help for impacted small businesses, industries and families, including direct cash payments for Americans. The total package could reach $1 trillion. The proposal will focus on small business loans to help address immediate cash flow problems with a hope that any portion of the loan that would go to paying workers or things like rent would be ultimately forgiven. Additional tax relief will be essential as well to help companies maintain payroll and keep the doors open. We will be discussing with our elected officials additional measures to aid our members.
We believe that the State is on the verge of finding out in the next day or two about receiving disaster status from the SBA. In addition to the information shared by the U.S. Small Business Administration, we encourage our members to utilize those created by CO—, the U.S. Chamber’s own interactive digital platform designed specifically for business owners and offering unparalleled assets and subject matter expertise from the U.S. Chamber.
CO— has consolidated five resources to help small business owners navigate the financial difficulties of the pandemic, including supplemental information about disaster assistance loans, state-wide initiatives to help small businesses, assistance options from credit card companies and banks, and more.
United Way of Will County has enacted our Disaster/Crisis Protocol which includes a 3-prong approach:
• Identify resources for those in need
• Identify opportunities to help those in need
• Enact local response donation fund.
To seek assistance we encourage one to call our 24/7 Helpline operated by Crisis Line of Will County; P: 815-722-3344; W: www.willfinduhelp.org.
We also have a Community Resource document that is a compilation of services available and refers to common questions received by our office. This document and information will soon be on our website https://uwwill.org/. We contract with a Joliet, small business owner to maintain our website and are working with him to expedite the needed updates.
Opportunities to Help
In order to assess the opportunities to help, we are actively working with community-based partners on identifying their needs. Currently, we have a survey gathering the in-kind needs, unforeseen hardships, and changes to hours of operations or programs for local organizations. Initial findings are consistent:
• 65% report financial needs to assist with operations and programs due to increased cleaning/sanitizing costs and/or cancellation of fundraising events.
• 69% report a critical lack of cleaning, sanitizing and proper PPE including masks and gloves.
• Organizations that rely on volunteer support are experiencing volunteer shortages.
As we continue our outreach efforts, these opportunities will continue to unfold. Our Online Volunteer Center: https://uwwill.galaxydigital.com/, is currently equipped with an on-going list of in-kind donations needed, as well as a link for volunteers to give their time.
Local Donation Fund
With the surge in unforeseen needs, It’s critical that these organizations have the resources they need to continue to operate at the highest capacity. A donation to the Will County COVID-19 Response Fund will support the agencies that are ensuring our neighbors can access basic needs in this time of crisis.
• Will County COVID-19 Response Fund Link: https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_s-xclick&hosted_button_id=E4T8RKJVG3BGG&source=url
Supplemental Information and FAQs About our Will County COVID-19 Response Fund
Our Will County COVID-19 Response Fund is an extension of our Will County Disaster & Community Crisis Fund, which was created in 1990 in the aftermath of the devastating Tornado that affected parts of Plainfield, Joliet and Crest Hill. The COVID-19 Response Fund will unite local funds raised by companies, individuals and civic partners and disbursed to local, nonprofit organizations serving our Will County residents.
As we are individually taking steps to protect our own families, workplaces and neighborhoods from the effects of the virus, let’s not forget the impact this will have on our neighbors. Missing paychecks, the inability to pay rent, and lack of food access and essential cleaning/sanitizing supplies are realities that many in our county will have to face in the coming weeks. Please join us in supporting our neighbors across Will County and the surrounding suburbs.
What will my donation support?
Your donation will help provide increased access to emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, utility assistance, direct financial assistance for household supplies, and nonprofit safety and operations assistance.
Can a family apply for resources from the Fund?
All funds will be allocated to local nonprofit organizations who will provide services and supplies. Nonprofit agencies will be granted funds as available, and those awarded funds will be announced. Individuals and families in need of support should check back for updates.
Will all of the money donated go to the local community?
Yes. Other than a small credit card processing fee taken out directly by the credit card processor, 100% of all donations will go directly to support services and supplies for those in need.
What organizations will receive funds?
In order to help the community navigate available resources, we will publish the list of Fund recipients as soon as possible, along with a short description of the services and support they are providing. Check back for updates.
Can I designate my donation to a specific organization?
The Will County COVID-19 Response Fund is a general fund to support those most in need. We encourage you to give directly to any specific health and human service provider you would like to support.
Can I give from my donor advised fund?
Yes! Please recommend a grant through your donor advised fund sponsor to United Way of Will County, with the stated purpose Will County COVID-19 Response Fund and indicate who it is from.
Northern Illinois Food Bank’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response
● As this pandemic continues to spread throughout the US and right here in Northern Illinois, we remain committed to serving our community and our neighbors to the best of our ability every single day in order to meet this increased need.
● Neighbor Impact: We expect need to increase for the foreseeable future as the economic disruption of COVID-19 is likely to fall disproportionately on low wage and hourly workers whose jobs may be interrupted during the slowdown and beyond.
o We also know our neighbors already face limited resources and tight budgets, so any reduction in work hours, income, or time spent in school for children will create additional financial strain and difficulty in accessing nutritious foods—thus making our work more important than ever.
● How to Get Food: For anyone in need of food as a result of this crisis, nearly all of the Food Bank’s 900 partner agencies remain open.
o Find your nearest food pantry or a listing of upcoming mobile pantry distributions on our website at SolveHungerToday.org/GetHelp.
o They can also call our SNAP Team at 844-600-SNAP (7627) to talk with a member of our team and be connected with additional resources and/or for help in applying for temporary or long-term SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits.
● How to Help/Get Involved: We need the support of our community more than ever in order to continue our operations and help meet the needs of our neighbors!
o Volunteer –If you are healthy and want to get involved, please visit www.SolveHungerToday.org/Volunteerr for more info or to sign up for a shift today! You may also call (630)443-6910 and speak to a member of the volunteer team.
o Donate – Donate today at www.SolveHungerToday.og/COVIDSupport
▪ Financial donations of any size will help support the Food Bank’s increased operations during this critical time.
▪ Every $1 donated helps provide $8 in groceries to neighbors, and 96% of resources go directly toward these critical feeding programs.
● The Food Bank’s COVID Response Team has, and continues to, evaluate the level of disruption to our agency network and all of our direct distribution programs. As an initial response, we have developed a number of alternate solutions that will allow us to continue serving our neighbors to the fullest extent of our ability.
● Our plan for the next two weeks is to:
o Pack 2,500 28-lb bags of shelf-stable emergency food boxes at our warehouse in Geneva
o Distribute 1,000 seniors with shelf-stable boxes through our Senior Box Program
o Provide 3,600 meals daily at 15 child sites that are still open, and distribute at least 2,000 shelf-stable food boxes to other child sites.
o Serve 400 households each week with food including shelf-stable, milk, meat and produce through our My Pantry Express program in Lake, DeKalb and Winnebago counties
o Serve 700 households each week at our Winnebago Community Market in Rockford with a drive-thru pick-up of a shelf-stable food box which includes, milk, meat and protein
o Distribute food through 20 mobile pantry distributions with a modified distribution to allow for minimal contact between neighbors and volunteers
o Continue our regular deliveries of nutritious food to our agencies, the majority of which remain open
Over the coming days and weeks, the COVID-19 Response Team will continue to meet and, with input from community partners across our organization and our network, will determine the next phase of our response.
As a reminder, here is information we shared in the March Government Affairs update:
To help educate employers and employees on how they can prepare for and address the impacts of the virus, the US Chamber of Commerce created a toolkit of resources that we hope you will use.
● Guidance For Employers – Click here to download guidance for employers to plan and respond to the Coronavirus.
● Workplace Tips – For workplace tips and resources for employers to combat the virus, please click here.
● Corporate Aid Tracker – Click here to view our corporate aid tracker for details on how businesses are helping nationwide.
● Survey on Business Impact – To view business impact survey results from the American Chamber of Commerce in China, click here.
● Resilience in a Box – If your business needs help putting a plan in place, click here to use the U.S. Chamber Foundation’s toolkit created in partnership with the UPS foundation.
● More Resources – For more resources, including consolidated, business-specific guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), please click here.