We hope that everyone is drying out today and that nobody was majorly impacted by the flooding that occurred yesterday. If you need assistance, we do have several members that you can find in our member directory that can lend a hand. The General Assembly is back in Springfield this Wednesday for a “special session.”
One item that broke on Friday was an example of an unfortunate use of rules rather than going through the legislative branch. The Illinois Department of Public Health issues an emergency provision that reads:
In order to restrict and suppress the novel coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 that causes the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), a dangerously contagious and infectious respiratory disease in the form of a pandemic or epidemic, which is spread person to person in respiratory droplets released by a person infected with the disease, the Department implements the following restrictions and requirements:
1) Businesses and establishments that serve food or beverages, including, but not limited to, restaurants, food buffets, self-serve areas, bars, taverns, pubs, wineries, breweries, or beer gardens, that operate under a permit or license issued by the State or local health authority, shall not allow indoor on-site consumption of food or beverages. Service shall be limited to drive-through, delivery, curbside, or pick up only. Businesses and establishments located in airports and hospitals are exempt from the requirements of this Section.
2) Businesses and establishments that offer indoor fitness, exercise, physical workout or non-medical wellness services, such as health clubs or centers, fitness clubs or centers, gyms, tennis clubs, swimming pools, shall not allow on-site indoor fitness, exercise, workout or non-medical wellness options to customers, including but not limited to, classes, personal training, or individual customer use of exercise equipment or facilities. Service shall be limited to the sale of retail goods via drive-through, delivery, or pick up only, or the use of exercise equipment or the indoor use of facilities for the recording and streaming of online classes and instructional videos only.
3) Businesses or establishments that offer cosmetology, esthetics, nail technology, barber, tanning, body art, or similar non-medical personal care services, treatments, procedures, or therapies shall not provide on-site services. Service shall be limited to the sale of retail goods via drive through, delivery, curbside, or pick up only.
Penalties that can be enforced under this provision include a Class A misdemeanor with penalties of at least a $75 fine, up to a maximum of $2,500, and up to one year in prison. Governor Pritzker defended this today saying it is actually an effort to minimize the penalty while still protecting public health. Pritzker compared the new rule to a traffic ticket.
Under previous law, local officials had limited legal tools to enforce the order on restaurants, bars or stores improperly opening to the public, including yanking their business license or shutting the outlet entirely.
Legislators who sit on a bipartisan rule oversight body will have the opportunity to review the rule on Wednesday. Eight of the 12 members of the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules would have to vote to reject it. We are seeking further clarification from our elected officials and would urge you to reach out to your Senators and Representatives as well regarding this matter. This ultimately may just end up in the court system similar to the workers’ comp ruling a few weeks ago.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application
The Small Business Administration (SBA), in consultation with the Department of the Treasury, released the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Forgiveness Application and detailed instructions for the application. The form and instructions inform borrowers how to apply for forgiveness of their PPP loans. The SBA will also soon issue regulations and guidance to further assist borrowers as they complete their applications, and to provide lenders with guidance on their responsibilities.
The form and instructions include several measures to reduce compliance burdens and simplify the process for borrowers, including:
- Options for borrowers to calculate payroll costs using an “alternative payroll covered period” that aligns with borrowers’ regular payroll cycles.
- Flexibility to include eligible payroll and non-payroll expenses paid or incurred during the eight-week period after receiving their PPP loan.
- Step-by-step instructions on how to perform the calculations required by the CARES Act to confirm eligibility for loan forgiveness.
- Borrower-friendly implementation of statutory exemptions from loan forgiveness reduction based on rehiring by June 30.
- Addition of a new exemption from the loan forgiveness reduction for borrowers who have made a good-faith, written offer to rehire workers that was declined.
Click here to download the PPP loan forgiveness application and instructions.
More Than $100 Billion in PPP Funds Still Available
PPP funds are still available for small businesses, sole proprietors, independent contractors, self-employed persons, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans’ organization, and tribal businesses.
New issues with Unemployment System
A new report surfaced that personal information has been exposed by a glitch in the new system for processing unemployment claims for 1099 workers. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Governor Pritzker has blamed inadequate technology and understaffing as the main reasons for issues that have popped up with the online filling system as well as the phone system.
It sounds like the General Assembly may look to reform the retailers’ discount, which could bring the state $145 million. The retailer’s discount is the percentage of sales tax due on a transaction that retailers are allowed to retain as reimbursement for collecting sales taxes. Retailers get a 1.75 percent discount. This certainly doesn’t seem to be the time to take something from retailers.
From the Illinois Department of Commerce Office of Employment and Training
Governor Pritzker, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and the Illinois Department of Employment Services (IDES) launched Get Hired Illinois – a new state web portal designed to connect workers with available job and career training opportunities across the state of Illinois. Get Hired is located at https://www2.illinois.gov/gethired
One of the newest features and services on the new Get Hired webpage is the Virtual Job Fair tools. The Virtual Job Fair (VJF) tools are a new opportunity for Employers to easily advertise their organization and connect with qualified job applicants at no cost. It is also a new opportunity for Job Seekers to learn about and apply for job openings as well as communicate with representatives from employers that are hiring in Illinois for free.
Employers will be able to setup virtual job booths where interested job seekers can learn more about their organization and available job openings. Employers may also request webinar assistance when hosting their Virtual Job Fair events.
Job seekers will be able to explore these employer booths and attend Virtual Job Fair events to explore what opportunities are available to them and learn about their future employer.
Employers and Job Seekers are welcome to visit the site and start setting up and visiting the Virtual Job Booths. The first actual virtual job fair events will be arranged and scheduled in the upcoming weeks. Get started at https://www.illinoisworknet.com/virtualjobfairs
Will County News
This week the county board should be discussing what measure can be taken by the county to help those who cannot pay their taxes on time. We have heard of two options that may be on the table. The first would be to waive late fees on the first payment (June) for ninety days and then waive late fees on the second payment (September) for ninety days as well. The other option that has been talked about is to delay 50% of each payment by 60 days. So, half of your June payment would be due immediately and then the other half by August. Half of the September payment would be due immediately and then the other half in November.
The county board should also be discussing how they would like to handle the $1.2 million that has been awarded in the CARES Act by the federal government to go to local governments and businesses that have seen expense due to dealing with COVID-19. We have heard they may consider bringing in a consultant to help decide on proper distribution.
New Business Impact Survey
We would like to ask for your support regarding a COVID-19 Business Impact Survey that asks how businesses in the Southland region have been affected during this time. This is a collaborative effort of Southland Chambers. The response deadline is Friday, May 22nd.
Click here to fill out the survey: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSeF55Uu-zKIJTks66RXpnTSp8WorLNVochurGUMd5tBX4SgGg/viewform
Hopefully, you saw the email earlier today that covered our Virtual Conferences for this week. If not, visit our events page at https://jolietchamber.com/events/chamber-events/
Finally, we want to share a new funding opportunity that has emerged. Thanks to a $7.5 million investment from Verizon, LISC is offering grants to help small businesses fill urgent financial gaps until they can resume normal operations or until other more permanent financing becomes available. As part of this, Verizon is contributing funds through its ongoing #PayItForwardLIVE, weekly streaming series connecting big names to pay it forward for small businesses.
The application period for round 3 is now open. Before applying, please review the grant information and FAQ here. Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, May 20th at 11:59 p.m. ET. You can apply here: https://lisc.tfaforms.net/38 and can find more information by going here: https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/small-business-relief-grants/verizon-small-business-recovery-fund/
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry