Happy Tuesday! We hope everyone has had a chance to see the announced changes for Phase 4. If not, you can find the document on our COVID-19 resource page (https://jolietchamber.com/2020/03/covid-19/) and also on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity web site – https://dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois/restore-illinois-phase-4/ . Today we share the application and the specific criteria for the Illinois Business Interruption Grant, as well as some information on bills we’re keeping an eye on.
Business Interruption Grant Program
The Illinois DCEO will begin accepting applications on Friday, June 26th rather than today as announced when postponing from yesterday. The application submission portal will be posted on this webpage: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/C19DisadvantagedBusGrants.aspx.
Leading up to Friday, we have links below and PDF documents attached to this message that have the application in paper form which should translate directly then to the online app on the 26th and also the specific criteria for those eligible to apply. Businesses and community partners can assess their eligibility and should gather any documents needed to complete the application before it opens for submission on Friday, June 26th at 9:00am. All applications must be submitted by Monday, July 7th at 5:00pm.
BIG grants give businesses access to funds that will help accelerate reopening or expanding capacity, including assisting with purchase of technology, PPE or other equipment necessary to comply with new public health guidelines related to COVID-19. Here is that information below.
School Guidelines Announced
Governor Pritzker and state health officials today announced guidelines they said should allow state grade and high schools, colleges and universities to reopen for in-person education for the fall term. How the guidance is implemented will depend largely on each individual district’s plan. The Illinois Emergency Management Agency will provide public K-12 districts in Illinois with 2.5 million cloth face masks. Here’s a look at the guidelines:
- Require use of appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), including face coverings
- Prohibit more than 50 individuals from gathering in one space;
- Require social distancing whenever possible
- Conduct symptom screenings and temperature checks or require self-certification that individuals entering school buildings are symptom free
- Increase schoolwide cleaning and disinfection
Schools will need to develop plans to limit traffic flow, increase cleaning of public spaces, and stagger schedules for the use of laboratories, auditoriums and other group facilities, according to the guidance. Small-group sessions and meetings must also adhere to social distancing guidelines.
Still, colleges dormitories, cafeterias, libraries, bookstores, and other amenities of college life will be allowed for students.
- In person education will require face coverings to be worn by faculty, staff and students.
- Community colleges should conduct health screenings on employees, students and visitors before each campus visit.
- Community colleges should take additional measures to ensure social distancing and safety as determined by the features of spaces, learning methods, and other factors.
Video Gaming Rules to Resumption
On March 16, 2020, the Illinois Gaming Board (“IGB”) took the step of suspending all statewide video gaming operations in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and protect the safety and integrity of Illinois gaming. The timing and conditions for such a resumption will be based upon public health guidance and metrics and will proceed within the framework of Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan. Toward that end, the purpose of this memo is to outline the protocols Terminal Operators (“TOs”) must follow to obtain approval to safely resume video gaming operations in partnership with Licensed Establishments (“LEs”) throughout the State. For planning purposes, the IGB presently envisions that resumption of video gaming will happen as Illinois enters Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. The IGB will announce when VGTs will go live. Please note that this timeline is subject to change based on public health and safety conditions.
Bill to Establish Funds for Bars and Restaurants
Senator Roger Wicker and Representative Earl Blumenauer introduced legislation last week to establish a $120 billon fund for independent food service or drinking establishments devastated from the coronavirus pandemic.
The bill, dubbed the Real Economic Support that Acknowledges Unique Restaurant Assistance Needed to Survive Act, or Restaurant Act, would provide grants to restaurants that are not publicly traded and have $1.5 million or less in revenue under normal circumstances.
The grant can be used to cover payroll, benefits, mortgage, rent, protective equipment, food, or other costs. It provides an addition or substitute to loans provided through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which Congress passed in the $2.2 trillion coronavirus relief package in March, for restaurants to spend more on overhead costs, as well as payroll.
Pandemic Risk Insurance Act of 2020 (H.R. 7011)
If enacted, PRIA would establish a system of shared public and private compensation for business interruption losses and event cancellations resulting from future pandemics or public health emergencies. This bill is essential for the nonprofit association community whose lifeblood courses from in person meetings and events.
Modeled after the Terrorism Risk Insurance Act, PRIA would establish a public-private cost sharing partnership between government and insurers for prospective claims. Beginning January 2021, once total claims for an individual pandemic or public health emergency reach $250 million, the government would cover 95 percent of all prospective, related claims. And while insurers are not required to offer this coverage, early adopters will prosper, for PRIA would empower nonprofit associations to further benefit the economy and help our nation recover from COVID-19. PRIA offers the security nonprofit associations need to fully reignite our community’s far reaching economic impact through industry-focused conferences, workforce development, educational programming and other critical services.
Skills Renewal Act of 2020 (H.R. 7032 / S. 3779)
The Skills Renewal Act would serve as a boon for American workers hit hard by the financial reality of COVID-19. This important bill would provide Americans who have been laid-off or furloughed as a result of COVID-19 a $4,000 tax credit to pursue post-secondary skills training and credentials and thereby help reestablish their welfare and wellbeing. If amended, Americans could use the credit to pursue and obtain industry certifications and other professional credentials that would help them more fully access the economy and contribute to a dynamic marketplace through increased competition and consumer choice. This will undoubtedly support nonprofit associations and others who offer workforce development programs and will increase access to job opportunities for Americans who have faced employment setbacks due to the pandemic.
Finally, watch your email as we announce our next Virtual Conference that will feature a Will County Update from Interim County Executive, Denise Winfrey, Will County Clerk, Lauren Staley Ferry, and Census Engagement Coordinator, Quinn Adamowski. This new session will take place this Friday, June 26 at 11:00 am.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry
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