Chamber Members:

Today, Governor Pritzker announced that our region will be going back to further mitigation efforts starting this Friday. This will be an identical situation as to what occurred back at the end of August and into September. You can read below for further information. Also, some news out of Washington, D.C. regarding the latest on federal aid negotiations has excited the stock market.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Region 7 Additional Mitigation Measures
Indoor drinking and dining at restaurants and bars will be off limits again in much of suburban Chicago, possibly for weeks, under an order issued today by Governor Pritzker. With COVID-19 numbers spiking amid an apparent pandemic wave, Pritzker mandated the partial shutdown for establishments in Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) and Region 8 (DuPage and Kane counties).

This is the second time that Region 7 has faced additional resurgence mitigation measures. The region was able to return to phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan in mid-September, but is now once again seeing a test positivity rate above 8 percent, as well as “concerning” ICU availability, a release from the governor’s office states.

Data from IDPH on Tuesday shows the positivity rate in Region 8 is 9 percent, and the rate for Region 7 is 8.6 percent.

The new rules go into effect this Friday, October 23rd. A limit on gatherings to 25 people maximum also will be implemented then. Pritzker had warned of the looming shutdown yesterday and said today he had to act after rolling positivity rates in the regions topped 8 percent for three days in a row.

The governor said even higher rates in neighboring states such as Wisconsin now are “spilling over” into Illinois. But Illinoisans can fight that by being careful, wearing masks and keeping social distance of at least 6 feet when away from home.

Pritzker said he went after bars and restaurants because there “literally are piles of studies” showing that such indoor venues are a prime location to spread the coronavirus. Social gatherings also are a major source, he said, which is why he’s urged that the upcoming holidays be celebrated in a different fashion.

“We are seeing a national surge in cases that are affecting our surrounding states in a massive way,” Pritzker said. “We’re going to be very careful.” People definitely are “fatigued” with the coronavirus and all of the state’s rules, the governor said. But when they see friends, family and neighbors fall ill in every corner of the state, “it becomes real.”

The new restrictions will be lifted when average positivity rates hold at 6.5 percent or less for at least three days in a row. Here is a refresher on the measures:


  • No indoor service
  • All outside bar service closes at 11:00 p.m.
  • All bar patrons should be seated at tables outside
  • No ordering, seating, or congregating at the 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 11:00 p.m.
  • 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 percent of overall room capacity
  • No party buses
  • Gaming and Casinos close at 11 p.m., are limited to 25 percent capacity, and follow mitigations for bars and restaurants, if applicable

According to a release from the governor’s office, the administration continues to distribute emergency relief for small businesses and communities impacted by the ongoing pandemic. In Regions 7 and 8, approximately $14 million has already been awarded for small businesses and community aid.

Businesses in both regions, and other regions currently under additional mitigations, will receive priority consideration for the current round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG), with $220 million available to help offset costs and losses businesses have incurred as a result of the pandemic.

We have posted this information several times, but this is a good reminder that there are funds available for assistance. You can find the information and application here:

and …

Illinois Business Interruption Grant Discussion
Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton and DCEO, in collaboration with the Governor’s Rural Affairs Council, will be presenting a webinar – “Strategies for Rural Businesses Utilizing Business Interruption Grants (BIG)”. Please join and learn how to successfully apply for BIG to help your business during this challenging time. Lt. Governor Stratton will talk about the Business Interruption Grant program on Wednesday, October 21st at 9:30 am. You can register for this event here:

Latest on Relief Discussions
Stocks rose on Tuesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi signaled Democrats and the White House were making progress in negotiations for a new fiscal stimulus deal. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 113.37 points higher, or 0.4%, at 28,308.79. The 30-stock average was briefly up more than 300 points.

Speaker Pelosi said on Tuesday that both sides made progress in their negotiations. “Hopefully by the end of the day, we’ll know where we all are,” Pelosi told Bloomberg TV. “But I’m optimistic.” Pelosi gave the Trump administration 48 hours on Sunday to reach a deal on new aid before the Nov. 3 election. However, she said on Tuesday about the 48-hour deadline: “It isn’t that this day was a day that we would have a deal, it was a day that we would have our terms on the table to be able to go to the next step.”

Pelosi’s office signaled that while the parties are “closer to an agreement,” there remain key differences requiring another transfer of proposals. The pair is scheduled to talk again on Wednesday.

Across the Capitol, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was doing his part to pump the brakes on any big bipartisan deal. Publicly, he told reporters Tuesday that he would bring a $1.8 trillion stimulus deal to the Senate floor if one could pass the House — a reversal from a week earlier. McConnell told reporters that if a deal were reached and passed by the House with President Trump’s support he would put it on the Senate floor “at some point,” but did not commit to doing so before the election.

In remarks at a closed-door Senate GOP lunch, McConnell told his colleagues that Pelosi is not negotiating in good faith with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and that he has warned the White House not to strike an agreement. He also warned any deal they reach could disrupt the Senate’s plans to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court next week. Republicans have voiced concerns that a stimulus deal could splinter the party and exacerbate divisions at a time when they are trying to rally behind the Supreme Court nominee. The comments were confirmed by three people who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss them.

Gov. Pritzker Announces $50 Million Second Round of Capital Funding to Further Statewide Broadband Expansion
Governor JB Pritzker announced today that the state is releasing $50 million in funding for the second round of matching grants through Connect Illinois, the state’s $420 million statewide broadband expansion plan. Illinois’ Office of Broadband will support expanded connections in new communities across the state through an application to be made available today, which will remain open through February 2021. Funding for the program is made possible by Governor Pritzker’s bipartisan Rebuild Illinois capital plan, the first comprehensive infrastructure program in Illinois in nearly a decade.

This availability of additional funding builds on the inaugural round of funding released earlier this year, which supported 28 projects collectively slated to support over 26,000 new or enhanced connections serving every corner of the state.

Eligible applicants include internet service providers, rural cooperatives, nonprofits, and local governments. Up to $5 million per project will be available during the second round, and subsequent rounds will follow over the course of the next several years. The second round of Connect Illinois calls for a nonstate match component requiring companies to dedicate funding that will accelerate the delivery of broadband investments.

In addition to providing universal access to basic broadband for homes, businesses, and community anchor institutions by 2024, the State’s broadband plan seeks to improve utilization of broadband for various uses in education, telehealth, and economic development. All Connect Illinois projects must meet the minority business participation requirements of the State of Illinois’ Business Enterprise Program.

Source funding for Connect Illinois is from Rebuild Illinois, Governor Pritzker’s historic $45 billion capital bill. The plan dedicates $420 million toward broadband infrastructure, including $400 million for the Connected Illinois program – the country’s largest matching grant program for broadband ever. The Connect Illinois investment is part of an increasingly comprehensive Illinois Office of Broadband approach that includes new and forthcoming work in broadband community planning and capacity building, interactive mapping, various digital equity initiatives, and a 41-county computer refurbishing network based out of Metro East.

For more information on the Notice of Funding Opportunity and to view the application, please visit the Connect Illinois page:

“Commercial real estate is in trouble, and turbulence in the $15 trillion market is threatening to bleed over into the broader financial system just as the U.S. struggles to emerge from a recession,” says Politico writer Katy O’Donnell.

“The longer the pandemic paralyzes hotels, retailers and office buildings, the more difficult it is for property owners to meet their mortgage payments — raising the specter of widespread downgrades, defaults and eventual foreclosures. As companies like J.C. Penney, Neiman Marcus and Pier 1 file for bankruptcy, retail properties are losing major tenants with no clear plan to replace them, while hotels are running below 50 percent occupancy.”

Seven months into the crisis, the industry’s pleas for relief to Congress and the Federal Reserve have been in vain: Lawmakers are at odds over even the most basic details of an economic relief package for individuals, let alone businesses, and the Fed, leery of taking on more risk, is hoping the trillion-dollar market for securities backed by commercial mortgages will heal itself.

There’s also the fear that directing significant relief to the industry would be seen as a “handout to the president’s friends” since Donald Trump made his fortune in commercial real estate, said one lobbyist frustrated with the lack of traction the issue is getting with policymakers.

Childcare Dilemma Report
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation released its new report—titled Piecing Together Solutions: Returning to Work and the Childcare Dilemma—outlining how childcare challenges are affecting working parents amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here are some key takeaways:

  • 63% of parents anticipate needing to change their childcare arrangement in the next year, up from 60% in the June survey
  • 33% of parents are using family members or friends for childcare, compared to 28% in June and 29% pre-COVID
  • 26% of parents are paying for a childcare arrangement they are not currently using
  • 61% of parents have returned to work, 26% are likely to return, and 13% are unsure or unlikely to return
  • 50% of parents who have not yet returned to work cite childcare as a reason they have not returned
  • Among parents who have not yet returned to work, 30% will be unable to return to work if their school district adopts an online learning model

Click here to read the full report:

Will County Small Business Assistance Round 2
Will County has reopened an expanded version of the Small Business Assistance Grant (CARES) Program.  Beginning today, small businesses, if located within Will County; with less than fifty (50) full time employees, and less than $50 million in annual gross revenues are eligible to receive up to $15,000.  Applications in English and Spanish are now available on the county website:
*The application deadline to apply for these funds is November 16, 2020.

Candidates Forum
This Thursday, the 22nd of October, the Chamber will host a Candidates forum with 12 invited. The following offices have been invited – US Congress District 11, Illinois Senate Dist. 43, Illinois Senate Dist. 49, Illinois House Dist. 37, Illinois House Dist. 97, and Will County Executive. More information and to register for this virtual conference at 3:00 pm, visit this link:

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