Chamber Members:

It may seem extremely repetitive, but we can’t stress enough about the opportunities that exist to get grants funds either through the DCEO Business Interruption Grant and/or the Will County Small Business Assistance Grant. See below for details. Also, check out the latest on talks on the hill concerning federal aid. Finally, the Governor talked today about vaccines and the role the state will play in the future.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Region 7 Additional Mitigation Measures
A reminder that new measures will go into effect on Friday. Again, no better time to stress the importance of taking advantage of the Business Interruption Grant. 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.

Businesses in our region 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 because 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:

Latest on Relief Discussions
The White House is projecting optimism in negotiations with Democrats on stimulus legislation, saying that the goal is to reach an agreement within the next 48 hours.

“I am optimistic. We do share one goal and that is hopefully to get some kind of deal in the next 48 hours or so,” White House chief of staff Mark Meadows said in an interview on Fox Business on Wednesday morning, discussing ongoing talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Meadows said the discussions had entered a “new phase” as the White House and Democratic negotiators wrangle over language of a potential bill, though he noted that the two sides remain apart on the price tag. Meadows cited state and local assistance as the primary source of disagreement.

“The President’s position is we’re willing to go up on the number for PPP [Paycheck Protection Program] loans and the direct payments,” Communications Director Alyssa Farah told reporters at the White House. “Some of the issues still surround state and local and some of the other issues but we’re at the table, conversations are happening. I think it’s kind of the best place we’ve been in, so cautious optimism.”

Aides had already reported progress following another phone call on stimulus between Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday. The pair have been speaking daily and are expected to talk again today.

Meadows, in an exchange with reporters on Wednesday, denied receiving any warning from Senate Majority Leader McConnell about reaching a deal with the House and jeopardizing the Supreme Court nominee confirmation. Meadows said he believed there would be adequate votes in the Senate to get a deal approved that Trump could sign.

Here’s a little picture that might help you understand how the talks are going: Pelosi and Mnuchin decided over the weekend that they had made enough top-line progress that they could allow the Senate and House appropriations committees to handle some of the specifics of the spending portion of the deal.

An area that was thought to be easily solvable was a pot of money for transit, global health, the Indian Health Service, CDC, and community health center funding, drinking water and rural energy. Pelosi wanted $143 billion for this pot, and Mnuchin and the administration wanted $113 billion — not terribly far apart. The staff, which frequently works out issues like this with no sweat — met for an hour Monday afternoon and found themselves immediately deadlocked. Democrats suggested Republicans could not negotiate because of divisions in their conference. Not to mention, Republicans had supported legislative offers in this neighborhood before. Republicans said Democrats are unbendable and will settle only for the $143 billion.

In addition, both sides told us that they had no idea what exactly Pelosi and Mnuchin had privately agreed to, which made it hard to strike a deal. The level of distrust in Mnuchin among Republicans is hard to overstate. Republicans in the White House, House and Senate think he’s a sellout, and believe he’ll do anything to get a deal — even if it means rolling over on some long-held GOP orthodoxy. Republicans involved in the talks said he has already agreed to more than $1.9 trillion in spending — including a new $60 billion rental assistance program. And they are concerned he will cave to Pelosi on a big state-and-local-funding package, as well.

Count down begins on the 48 hours to see what becomes of these talks.

Illinois Vaccine Distribution Process
Illinois will independently verify the safety of any COVID-19 vaccine before allowing it to be distributed in the state, even as the need grows with a spike in cases, Governor Pritzker said today.

Like California and some other states, Illinois has established a public/private group that will review any vaccine approved by the federal government, with an eye toward assuring it’s safe before it’s given to patients, the governor said. Pritzker didn’t say who will be on his review team but promised the results of any review will be made public. “We’re independently trying to look at it and ensure that whatever is distributed in the state will be safe.”

Pritzker, who has repeatedly attacked President Donald Trump’s handling of the pandemic, made it clear he does not trust the Trump-headed federal government to put safety ahead of politics.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration and other federal units “have been thoroughly politicized,” Pritzker said. “President Trump has been pushing for a date certain by which a vaccine would be distributed, but that’s just not how it works. . .. Safety first.”

In addition to the vaccine, the Governor announced the state has received from the federal government the first shipment of a rapid antigen test made here in Illinois by Abbott Labs. The state got 170,000 tests and expects 3 million.

The test and any approved vaccine will be distributed first to high-risk groups, including medical personnel, nursing homes, first responders and the elderly.

The Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at JJC is offering assistance for existing businesses during these times.

21 Topics in 21 Minutes for 2021 Growth
In less than 30 minutes, the SBDC will help you prioritize key 2021 business plans whether it is for your people, your product, your marketing, your sales, your money, or the impact of this crisis. In this short, one-on-one exercise, we will help you determine up to three of the biggest opportunities for growth in the year ahead. We will offer no-cost tools to develop your strategy for success in those areas. Email us at and we will send you a link for registration.

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
Don’t forget to join us TOMORROW, 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