Chamber Members:

We have job numbers to report since it is Thursday, but more importantly today we are sharing a letter that has been sent to Governor Pritzker and additional elected officials regarding the Region 7 mitigations. The full letter is attached as well. See below also for news about Washington DC talks and unemployment payments.

Letter to Governor Regarding Region 7 Mitigations

Dear Governor Pritzker:

As a Chamber of Commerce, we routinely advocate on behalf of our members in several areas of interest. Today, on behalf of the Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry and our neighboring chambers we stand together and write to you to share our very serious concerns with the recent decision to implement what we believe are unfair restrictions targeted at the restaurant and bar industry.

One of the greatest and most displeasing issues is the fact that our Region 7 has not been afforded the same opportunity as the businesses in Region 4 to reduce the number of inside patrons at bars and restaurants before moving onto harsher restrictions such as what are in place beginning today. These businesses are part of an industry that has been one of, if not the most, severely affected during this pandemic and to place these additional measures on them will be catastrophic to their survival. We ask for immediate consideration to reverse your decision and allow these establishments to remain open for indoor seating at a capacity of the lesser of 25 individuals or 25% of capacity. These businesses deserve the same opportunities as the Metro East region and now face issues of scrambling to use up inventory and secure outdoor seating equipment and supplies.

Yes, they will adapt and do what is necessary to keep their doors open. Why though, does one industry need to bear the brunt of the responsibility to reduce positivity rates throughout the region. They have had to pivot and re-create once and are a determined group, but this decision is just going to pull more resources from them. It is our hope that they will all survive these latest restrictions, but nothing is guaranteed.

It is unfortunate that recent spikes have driven our region over the 8% threshold. However, we fully support actions to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus through proper mask wearing, social distancing, hand washing, and additional methods of sanitization. We also believe that the great majority of our business members are following these guidelines. At the beginning of this pandemic, it was our understanding that we all needed to accept the responsibility of lessening the burden on the healthcare system and decrease the death rate. With that said, we believe that our medical providers have more than adequate resources and availability to serve those in need. In addition, we do not see an increase in the death rate in this region and in fact it seems to be steadily decreasing.

Finally, in light of this detrimental decision, we ask that the State and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity immediately set up a system to automatically approve all of those affected by this mandate to receive funds in the next round of the Business Interruption Grants. It is the least that our government can do for those that continually face an uphill climb to run their business. We would be more than happy to hold further discussion on this proposal to see that this industry can be accommodated.

Jobs Report

Earlier this month, the number of new weekly unemployment filings dipped below the 1 million mark for the first time since March, offering a sign of hope for some. The relief appears to be short-lived, however, as the figure has since bounced back over that threshold.

The latest tally of weekly unemployment data shows no reprieve for a labor market battered by the coronavirus pandemic as 1 million more workers filed jobless claims last week, according to the Labor Department.

The government said Thursday that the total number of people still claiming benefits through all programs was more than 27 million as of the week ending Aug. 8. In the same week last year, that figure was 1.6 million. As of the most recent jobs report, the unemployment rate in the U.S. is just over 10%.

Is the State Ready for the $300 Unemployment Payment?

Illinois is finally applying for the $300 weekly unemployment benefits supplement President Trump ordered earlier this month to provide financial assistance to jobless workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

More than 30 states have received approval for the benefits program as of Tuesday, according to FEMA. The agency, which typically handles disaster relief, will provide up to $44 billion from the Disaster Relief Fund for lost wage payments, and states will administer the funds retroactive to Aug. 1.

Individuals who qualify for at least $100 in weekly unemployment benefits, either through state programs or the federal pandemic assistance program, which Congress created to include gig workers, are eligible for the extra $300-a-week in federal benefits, according to FEMA.

States including Arizona, Iowa, Louisiana, and New Mexico were among the first to receive funding. Arizona became the first state to start paying the benefits Aug. 17. No state that has applied for benefits has been rejected, FEMA said.

It is unclear when jobless workers will receive payments as states set up a new program while providing existing benefits. Earlier this month, Illinois extended state jobless benefits by 20 weeks.

Federal Talks Back On?

Speaker Nancy Pelosi and White House chief of Staff Mark Meadows plan to speak Thursday afternoon, sources said, restarting negotiations on a much-needed coronavirus stimulus package that have been at a standstill for the past three weeks.

The call will happen at 2:30 p.m., sources on Capitol Hill and at the White House said. It will mark the first time Pelosi will have spoken to White House negotiators about a pandemic relief package since Aug. 7.

Reportedly, Meadows has been trying to jump-start talks with Pelosi for several days. Last weekend, after meeting with rank-and-file lawmakers on Capitol Hill, Meadows dropped by the Speaker’s office unannounced and tried to get a meeting with her. He was told she was busy.

Meadows, appearing at an event on Wednesday, said he’s asked his staff to continue reaching out to Pelosi this week. Those efforts have paid off, but Meadows said he was “not optimistic” about reaching a deal. He said he thinks Pelosi will “hold out until the end of September” so she can tie the stimulus package to a must-pass bill to avert a government shutdown before the election.

Business Conditions Survey

The Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is now collecting responses for the latest Chicago Fed Survey of Business Conditions. We ask that you respond by Tuesday, September 8.

Go here to take the survey or copy and paste the following URL into your internet browser:

Next Virtual Conference

Here are the details about an extremely informational session that will serve as our next Virtual Conference tomorrow, 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