We hope you are enjoying such a nice day! Today’s update touches on the possible government shutdown, utility moratorium, and voting. Also we want to continue to push the reminders about the funding programs that are out there, with some coming to a deadline soon. Also, the PPP has emerged as a topic of interest today. See below for more information.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
PPP Loan Forgiveness
Loan forgiveness applications are now being processed by the SBA and Dept. of Treasury. More information can be found below.
Loan Forgiveness: Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease. The loan forgiveness 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 24-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
How to apply: To apply for forgiveness of your PPP loan, the borrower may complete the loan forgiveness application as directed in the application instructions and submit it to the lender servicing their loan. Borrowers may also complete their application electronically through their Lender. Borrowers may also be eligible to use the EZ application and instructions.
You can find more information on COVID-19 Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources on SBA’s website.
One Vote Down, One to Go?
The House on Tuesday passed on legislation that would avert a government shutdown and fund the government until mid-December after last-minute haggling with Republicans over a provision to include funding for an assistance program for farmers.
The House was initially slated to vote Tuesday afternoon on a clean funding package that did not include $30 billion to refill the Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC), which is opposed by most Democrats. However, after Republicans indicated that they would not approve any spending bill without it and some farmland Democrats called for the funding, the bill was revised and passed overwhelmingly on Tuesday night, 359-57. The Senate is expected to take up the bill as soon as this week. The House vote took place only eight days before funding for the government is set to run out and trigger a partial government shutdown if no deal is passed.
With the shutdown hopefully out of the way, we will wait to see if funding aid talks pick back up. Congress basically abandoned Covid relief discussions and now after hitting the 200,000 death mark and continued economic uncertainty there is still the assumption that nothing likely gets done.
CDC Morale at a Low
In interviews with half a dozen current and former CDC officials, they described a workforce that has seen its expertise questioned, its findings overturned for political purposes and its effectiveness in combating the pandemic undermined by partisan actors in Washington.
“I have never seen morale this low. It’s just, people are beaten down. People are beaten down partially by a public who not only distrusts us but who actually think we want to infringe on their civil liberties,” said one current CDC employee. “The other factor is the active undermining by senior members of our own administration.”
Utilities Extend Moratoriums on Shutoffs Through March 2021
Utilities are offering deferred payment arrangements for residential and business customers who need help keeping up with their bills. State regulators have struck a deal with several public utility companies to extend their moratoriums on service shutoffs through the end of March, meaning many homeowners and businesses struggling to pay their bills won’t have to worry about losing heat, water, or electricity this winter.
The Illinois Commerce Commission said Ameren Illinois, Aqua Illinois, Illinois American Water, ComEd, Peoples Gas and North Shore Gas, and Utility Services of Illinois have voluntarily agreed to extend their moratoriums on utility disconnections for low-income customers, who qualify for the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP), and those who have lost income due to the pandemic until March 31, 2021.
MidAmerican Energy also will extend its moratorium on disconnections for customers who qualify for LIHEAP through March 31. Nicor Gas and Liberty Utilities agreed to extend their moratoriums on disconnections for all residential customers through March 31.
Officials said public utility customers who have missed bill payments or are having trouble paying their bills don’t need written proof of their struggles to ensure their service isn’t shut off, but do need to call their supplier about their issues. Utilities are offering deferred payment arrangements for residential and business customers who need help keeping up with their bills.
Voting Begins This Week in Illinois
Early voting begins tomorrow locally here in Will County. In addition to the opening of some poll sites, election authorities will begin mailing out some 1.7 million mail-in ballots requested so far. State election law allows early voting at select super sites starting 40 days before Election Day, but leaves it to local authorities to decide when they’re open and for how many hours. In general, in-person voting options will be limited.
Early Voting at the Will County Clerk’s Office beings September 24 at 8:30 am to 4:30 pm for all Will County voters. Facemasks and social distance are highly encouraged. For a complete list of Early Voting locations and hours of operation starting on October 19, visit https://www.thewillcountyclerk.com/elections/early-voting/
Reminder Again of Existing Grants
Business Interruption Grant Program
Applications for a second round of funding are now being accepted and can be found here: https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/SmallBizAssistance/Pages/C19DisadvantagedBusGrants.aspx
A total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses of all types in Illinois. Grants will be awarded and funded on a rolling basis until funding is depleted. The grant size will be equivalent to two months of expenses.
Will County Small Business Assistance
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.
Applications are open up until September 28 and along with more info can be found here: https://willcountyillinois.com/CARES-Act/Local-Business-Assistance
Joliet City Center Special Service Area Emergency Retailer/Restaurant Grant Guidelines PHASE II
The Emergency Retailer/Restaurant Grant is intended to provide financial relief from the COVID-19 pandemic for City Center businesses. This grant provides funding directly to retailers or restaurants who are renting or leasing space within the Special Service Area. This grant is not intended for property owners. The use of funds is flexible in nature and is intended to assist businesses to pay employees or other operating expenses. The grant applicant shall identify specific uses for the money. Phase II grants are open to businesses that received a Phase I grant.
More information and a downloadable application can be found here: https://www.jolietdowntown.com/
Next Virtual Conference: Community Disaster Preparedness: Red Cross Ready Rating
Please join the Joliet Chamber and the American Red Cross for a free, interactive virtual conference about the importance of Ready Rating and why it is important for businesses, schools and organizations to be prepared for disasters and other emergencies. This will take place this Friday, September 25 at 11 AM.
The presentation will cover:
- Why Disaster Preparedness is Important
- What the Red Cross Ready Rating Is
- How Ready Rating Works
- Call to Action – How the Chamber of Commerce and the Red Cross can Partner to Serve the Community
Finally, entries are now being accepted for the 2020 BBB Torch Awards for Business Marketplace Trust. Three new categories have been added for this year. You can enter your business to win of the most powerful brand and reputation building awards that a company can receive. Entries are now being accepted for the Torch Awards from the Better Business Bureau.
The Torch Awards are the highest honor the BBB can award to a business owner. Open to all businesses of excellence in the Chicagoland region. These prestigious awards are presented annually to businesses demonstrating excellence in the marketplace and high ethical standards with their customers, employees, and community.
Three new categories have been added to honor women and minority owned businesses as well as business associations. The 2020 deadline to enter is October 9th. Full details are available at BBBTorch.org.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry