Chamber Members:

Governor Pritzker was in Joliet to announce the new rules for our Region due to positivity rates climbing above 8%. You will see below the final details as we jumped straight to tougher measures in comparison to what Region 4 saw last week.

Press Release and Press Conference Finalize New Mitigation Efforts

As we mentioned yesterday, we knew that these efforts were going to happen due to the positivity rates in our region. However, most expected that we would follow along the measures that were placed on Region 4. Unfortunately, though, that is not the case as we were hit with tougher measures that most notably shut down indoor bar and dining services rather than rolling back to 25 patrons.

Frankly, many of the measures put in play are about “clear as mud!” Again, one of, if not the hardest hit industries is penalized. During the press conference today, the Governor admitted that it was basically a mistake to allow Region 4 to have 14 days to bring numbers down below 6.5%. The state tried to implement these rules (Region 7) this week, but got strong push back from those in the region (4) so they decided to give them this week before closing all indoor availability. It would have been nice to have that option first here in Region 7. Instead, we jump straight to full indoor closures.

Here is the full press release that came out last night:

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing new COVID-19 mitigation efforts will be implemented in Region 7, the greater Will and Kankakee County areas, beginning Wednesday, August 26 after the region reached 8 percent positivity for three days. Region 4, the Metro East region, which is already operating under additional mitigations, continues to report increasing COVID-19 positivity rates and will have until September 2nd at their current mitigation level before the state must move to impose further mitigation in the region.

For Region 7, mitigation measures taking effect August 26, 2020 include the following:


  • No indoor service
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00pm
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at bar (bar stools should be removed)
  • Tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • No dancing or standing indoors
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table


  • No indoor dining or bar service
  • All outdoor dining closes at 11:00pm
  • Outside dining tables should be 6 feet apart
  • No standing or congregating indoors or outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
  • Reservations required for each party
  • No seating of multiple parties at one table

Meetings, Social Events, Gatherings 

  • Limit to lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11:00pm, are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

These mitigations do not currently apply to schools and the measures will remain in effect over a 14-day period after which time more stringent mitigation measures can be implemented if metrics do not improve. View the new mitigations online here and attached.

The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) continues to monitor each region in the state for several key indicators to identify early, but significant increases of COVID-19 transmission in Illinois, potentially signifying resurgence.  Indictors include an increase in COVID-19 cases with a simultaneous decrease in hospital capacity, or three consecutive days greater than or equal to 8% test positivity rate (7 day rolling).  These indicators can be used to determine whether additional community mitigation interventions are needed for a region to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

IDPH will track the positivity rate in both regions to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5 percent over a 14-day period, then Regions 4 and 7 will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5 percent and 8 percent, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8 percent after 14 days, more stringent mitigations will be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website at

State Sets New Guidelines for the Rest of the State Outside of Region 4 and 7

Not to be confused with the above information that is strictly for Region 7 which consists of us here in Will County and Kankakee County too, today the State of Illinois announced revised guidelines for restaurants and bar establishments statewide to operate safely and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. These are what we would be seeing if not in additional mitigation phase and theoretically what we will go back to once the positivity rate drops below 6.5% over 14 days in our region.

Based on a recent increase in cases, these latest guidelines will require patrons to wear a mask during any interaction with wait staff, food service workers and other employees at bars and restaurants. Face coverings must be worn over the nose and mouth when patrons are approached and served by staff, including but not limited to when employees take patrons orders, deliver food and beverages, and service tables. This guidance will also apply to other facilities with food services areas that are currently subject to the Restore Illinois guidance, such as indoor recreational facilities, museums, and entertainment venues.

New guidelines go into effect Wednesday, August 26th and will require face coverings to be worn both in indoor and outdoor dining settings in all eleven regions in the state. Full guidelines may be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.

The revised guidelines announced today build on both the statewide Restore Illinois guidelines as well as the tiered mitigation strategies that are implemented when a region sees consistent increased test positivity or hospital admissions. The latest data on regional test positivity and hospitals can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website.  More information about the Restore Illinois guidelines and tiered mitigation measures can be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.

Will County Small Business Assistance Grant Program

Small businesses have experienced unprecedented disruptions and financial challenges due to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Will County recognizes its small businesses have struggled to pay bills, keep customers, and stay afloat while navigating through the uncertainties of this pandemic.

Will County has earmarked more than $24 million for a Small Business Assistance Grant Program to provide financial assistance to small businesses impacted by COVID-19 so they can maintain operations. Selected businesses may receive up to $15,000 in grant assistance.

Businesses that meet the eligibility criteria are encouraged to apply.

Eligibility Criteria:

More Program Information:

Apply Here

Applications will be accepted starting Monday, August 24. All applications must be received by Monday, September 28.


Please find a schedule of upcoming webinars related to The Will County Small Business Assistance Grant Program. Recordings of webinars will be posted here for viewing at your convenience.


Pritzker Administration Launches $150 Million in Emergency Mortgage Assistance

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) have announced the opening of the state’s new Emergency Mortgage Assistance (EMA) program to assist homeowners who have seen their income decline due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Through the EMA program, IHDA will allocate grants up to $15,000 to help income-eligible homeowners who have struggled to make their mortgage payments as a result of the pandemic. Applications are now available at and IHDA expects to assist approximately 10,000 households before the end of 2020.

Homeowner Eligibility:

  • Household adjusted gross income from 2019 Tax Return was at or below 120 percent of the Area Median Income;
  • An adult member of the household has had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis on or after March 1, 2020;
  • Homeowner’s mortgage was current through February 29, 2020; and
  • The mortgage is past due or in forbearance.

Applications for EMA will be accepted from August 24 through September 4.

Click here to learn more and apply online:

How do Municipal Finances Look?

As cities and villages in the Chicago area and around Illinois approach budget-making season, there is no question the pandemic now is a major pain in the wallet. A whopping 87 percent of communities replying to an Illinois Municipal League survey say they have suffered revenue losses so far, with the median decline 20 percent to 30 percent.

That’s a big, big number when most budgets generally don’t change more than a few percentage points year to year. And there are indications the figure will rise because some revenues lag and the full impact is not yet known,

According to the survey—227 municipalities around the state replied—reduced sales tax income is the most common source of problems, with 21.2 percent of municipalities reporting it as a “significant” cause of revenue woes in the period since March 1. Lagging gaming tax and motor-fuel tax revenues followed, at about 17 percent each, with receipts from income taxes collected by the state and passed on to local communities at 14.7 percent.

How will the communities deal with that? Cuts in services is the most frequent answer, at least so far, with 46.5 percent saying they are considering slashing personnel and/or services. Parks, recreation, and public works are being eyed the most for cuts, but police and firefighters are on the line, too, though to a lesser degree.

Nineteen percent of communities said they may well tap financial reserves, with a similar number indicating they may delay or reduce pending capital construction projects. Interestingly, raising taxes and fees ranks pretty low, at least now. Just 4.2 percent said they are eyeing higher charges for services or licenses, and a very small 1.59 percent are pondering a higher property tax.

Next Virtual Conference

Here are the details about an extremely informational session that will serve as our next Virtual Conference on Friday, August 28 at 11 AM. “Making the Most of your Membership Profile”

Please join the Joliet Chamber for a free, interactive virtual conference to best utilize your membership listing on the Chamber website including:

  • How to Make Your Directory Page Pop by updating company information, adding images and video, and displaying staff.
  • Promote Your Business by adding Hot Deals, Member to Member Deals, Job Postings, and Events.
  • Connect with Other Members – share your stories via the Community Feed.

In preparation for the webinar, please make sure you know your Joliet Chamber Membership log-in information.  If you have not yet set-up a log-in and password, please contact the Chamber office by calling (815) 727-5371 or email

Please use the link below to register:

Stay well,

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




Mike Paone

Vice President – Government Affairs

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

815.727.5371 main

815.727.5373 direct