Chamber Members:

As the COVID-19 situation continues to evolve, we would like to share some updates with you regarding assistance programs and potential legislation. In addition, with concern to all regarding health and safety, we have decided to keep the Chamber office open for business with reduced hours of 9:00 a.m. through 3:00 p.m. We will ask however that anyone who wishes to meet in person please call the Chamber office first as we will be closing to the public. We can be reached at 815.727.5371.

We’re here to help and pass on information as it becomes available. Please let us know how we can be of assistance during this time. All of us can still communicate electronically and we’re happy to share out any messages through our social networks.
The U.S. House of Representatives approved the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (H.R. 6201). The bill includes two new paid leave mandates on employers with less than 500 employees. If passed:
● Businesses with less than 500 employees will be required to offer Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave benefits to all employees. Eligible employees must have been on the employer’s payroll for 30 days.
● Employers will receive a 100% refundable tax credit from the federal government for qualified family leave wages paid by an employer for each calendar quarter, but this is capped at $200 per day and $10,000 for all calendar quarters.
● Businesses with less than 500 employees will be required to offer full-time employees 10 days (80 hours) and part-time employees a two-week hourly average of paid sick leave, on top of any other existing paid leave program, to quarantine or seek a diagnosis or preventive care for COVID-19.
● Employers will receive a 100% tax credit for all wages that are paid, but capped at $511 per day, and $7,156 altogether for each employee.

We’re keeping an eye on Senate action and follow-up measures that will aid businesses in an effort to see immediate assistance. Illinois is seeking an economic injury disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration but the application requires data from every county. If your business has been affected by COVID-19, please complete the survey below:

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Upon a request received from a state’s or territory’s Governor, SBA will issue under its own authority, as provided by the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act that was recently signed by the President, an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration.
● Any such Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations in designated areas of a state or territory to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
● SBA’s Office of Disaster Assistance will coordinate with the state’s or territory’s Governor to submit the request for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance.
● Once a declaration is made for designated areas within a state, the information on the application process for Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance will be made available to all affected communities as well as updated on our website:
● SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.
● These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses. The interest rate for non-profits is 2.75%.
● SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
● SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response, and the SBA is strongly committed to providing the most effective and customer-focused response possible.
● For additional information, please contact the SBA disaster assistance customer service center. Call 1-800-659-2955 (TTY: 1-800-877-8339) or e-mail

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Full information can be found here:

Stay well,

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