Today marks one year from the first traced COVID case in China depending on who/what you believe. Not sure if a happy birthday is in order!
A new announcement today from Governor Pritzker on additional capacity rollbacks highlights our daily update. Additionally, make sure that you check out the section on notices & reminders as we have some fresh information added.
Don’t forget as well that we do have a new virtual conference coming up on Thursday focusing on City of Joliet project & program progress. Details are at the end of this message, so make sure to read all the way through.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
Governor Announces New Rollback of Capacity
Tier 3 Resurgence Mitigations – message from Governor Pritzker
With a new wave of COVID-19 surging across the state of Illinois and the nation, the state is committed to listening to public health experts and following the science to keep people safe. Tier 3 builds on the Resurgence Mitigation Plan first released in July to suppress the spread of the virus and ensure our hospitals do not become overrun. This new tier aims to limit gatherings and encourages people to stay home to the greatest extent possible, while permitting some industries to remain open at significantly reduced capacities with proper safety measures in place. All detailed Phase 4 operational guidance remains in effect. Where Phase 4 guidance and Tier 3 Mitigations imply different standards, the more restrictive Tier 3 Mitigations will apply. School districts and local officials should follow extensive guidance released by IDPH and ISBE in August and make decisions related to in-person and remote learning at the local level, based on the unique needs of their communities. Childcare facilities may continue to operate subject to DCFS guidelines.
With COVID-19 spread now exponential in every region of the state, our statewide positivity rate at record highs and hospitalizations already surpassing our Spring peak, all 11 regions will move into Tier 3 effective November 20, 2020 at 12:01am. The new mitigation requirements to combat the surge of COVID-19 across Illinois are as follows:
Retail (including service counters)
- Operate at no more than 25% capacity, including general merchandise stores, “big box” stores that offer groceries and pharmacy, and convenience stores
- Grocery stores and pharmacies may operate at up to 50% capacity
- Encourage delivery or curbside pickup options wherever possible
- When in-store shopping is necessary, promote efficient trips and consistent circulation
Personal Care Service
- Operate at lesser of 25 clients or 25% capacity
- Face coverings must be worn at all times by clients and service providers
- Suspend services where a face covering cannot be worn (e.g. facials, beard trims)
- Physical, occupational and massage therapy allowed as deemed necessary by a medical provider, but appointments must be spaced by a minimum of 15 minutes and facilities should take steps to sanitize and circulate clean air through service rooms before and after each service
- Virtual consultations recommended
Health and Fitness Centers
- Operate at no more than 25% capacity
- No indoor group classes
- Face coverings must be worn at all times, including while engaged in individual exercise regardless of person or machine spacing
- Reservations required
- Locker room areas should be closed
- Hotel room occupancy should be limited to registered guests only, with the maximum allowance being the number of individuals permissible per existing fire code for each applicable guest room
- Fitness centers should be closed, or operated only on a reservation model, with capacity limited to 25% of the maximum occupancy for the room.
- Grab and go food allowed
- Event and meeting space closed
- Additional COVID training for all employees required even if previous training occurred
- Operators should coordinate with IDPH to implement testing protocols and contact tracing, upon request, consistent with available testing supplies
- All employees must wear face coverings at all times unless eating or drinking. Exemptions only for safety purposes.
- Only manufacturing staff and key personnel allowed in facilities. Non-production employees must work remotely. Non-essential staff and visitors are not permitted. Exemptions only for critical equipment repairs, supply deliveries and safety reasons (“critical visitors”).
- All critical visitors must have an Employee Health and Safety (EHS)-approved risk-assessment done in advance, including travel history, tracking, and temperature check prior to entrance.
- Implement additional workstation realignment when feasible
- Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings
- Station sanitation required at beginning and ending of shifts
- Operators must suspend covid-related incentive pay and promote staying home when sick or showing symptoms
- Implement temporary leave policies to accommodate workers who are sick
- Develop and implement safety protocols for employee travel vans to promote spacing, require face coverings, temperature checks, air circulation, and vehicle sanitization
Bars and Restaurants
- All bars and restaurants close at 11pm and may reopen no earlier than 6am the following day
- No indoor service
- All bar and restaurant 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 outdoors while waiting for a table or exiting
- No dancing or standing indoors
- No tables exceeding 6 people
- Reservations required for each party
- No seating of multiple parties at one table
- Indoor gaming terminals must suspend operations
- Includes private clubs and country clubs
Meetings, social events, and gatherings (including weddings, potlucks, etc.)
- Limit in home gatherings to household members
- Meeting rooms, banquet centers, private party rooms, private clubs and country clubs may not host gatherings
- No party buses
- Funerals are limited to 10 family members of the decedents, not including staff, see IDPH guidance
- All employees who can work remotely should work remotely
Organized group recreational activities (sports, indoor sports and activity facilities, etc.)
- Pause all indoor group sporting and recreational activities including youth and adult recreational sports, individual training may remain (with facility reservation)
- Includes park districts and travel leagues
- Outdoor sports and recreation allowed
- Participant groups and practices outdoors limited to 10 persons or less with social distancing
- Face coverings required for all activities at all times
- Locker rooms should be closed
Indoor recreation, theaters, cultural Institutions (e.g. casinos, bowling, arcades, movie theaters, museums, and zoos)
- Gaming and casinos close
- Indoor recreation centers, including theaters, performing arts centers and indoor museums and amusement centers close
- Live streaming of performances encouraged with social distancing of performers and minimum operational staff
- Outdoor activities allowed at 25% capacity or less
- Outdoor group activities limited to 10 persons or less, participants/guests must wear face coverings at all times
- Reservations required for each guest for outdoor activities
The provisions above apply to industries/sectors with Restore Illinois Phase 4 guidance or other mitigations. Other functions (i.e. infrastructure, governments, logistics and warehousing etc.) that previously have not been subject to specific guidance may continue regular operations but are encouraged to voluntarily take proactive steps to support new mitigation strategy wherever possible. In these areas, customer serving functions should be limited to 25 percent capacity, aligned with Retail mitigations, and maximize work from home wherever possible.
IDPH will continue to track the positivity rates and hospital capacity metrics in regions over a 14-day monitoring period to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place. In order for a region to move back to Tier 2 mitigations, a region must experience less than 12 percent test positivity rate for three consecutive days AND greater than 20 percent available intensive care unit (ICU) and hospital bed availability AND declining COVID hospitalizations in 7 out of the last 10 days.
Follow the latest regional metrics at: https://dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics
Release of PPP Borrowers’ Names Delayed
The Small Business Administration won a temporary stay of a federal judge’s ruling that required the agency to release detailed information on Paycheck Protection Program borrowers, including names and specific loan amounts. The temporary stay means the agency won’t have to release the information on PPP borrowers by Nov. 19, as originally ordered by U.S. District Judge James Boasberg in Washington.
The initial ruling applied both to PPP loans and corona-virus related loans under the SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program. The SBA, through its attorneys at the Justice Department, requested a full stay of the judge’s order, saying that it was considering an appeal.
Judge Boasberg, in granting the temporary stay, said the SBA won’t have to release detailed information on borrowers until the agency’s request for a full stay is resolved. The judge gave plaintiffs in the case until Nov. 27 to respond to the merits of the SBA’s request. Those plaintiffs include Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, and several other news organizations. The suit sought detailed information on PPP and EIDL borrowers under the Freedom of Information Act.
The SBA previously provided the names and addresses of PPP borrowers whose loans exceeded $150,000 along with loan values expressed as five ranges, from $150,000 to the maximum of $10 million. The agency also released specific amounts for PPP loans under $150,000 but didn’t provide names of the borrowers. The bulk of the program’s loans were for amounts of $150,000 or less.
The SBA has resisted releasing further information on the program, citing concerns over borrowers’ privacy. Those concerns were echoed by the National Federation of Independent Business, an advocacy group. The NFIB this month sent a letter asking the Justice Department to appeal Judge Boasberg’s initial order.
Impact of COVID on Mental Health
Covid is obviously bad for your physical health. But it’s bad for your mental health, too, according to a study from researchers at Britain’s University of Oxford.
By analyzing the electronic health records of 69 million people in the U.S., the researchers found that 20 percent of people infected with coronavirus developed a mental illness — most commonly anxiety, depression and insomnia — within 90 days of their diagnosis. More surprising, the study found that people with preexisting mental illness were 65 percent more likely to be diagnosed with Covid than those without.
Nightly’s Myah Ward broke down the findings with Oxford psychiatry professor Paul Harrison, one of the study’s authors.
Is 20 percent what you expected going into the study?
Part of me in a way is a bit relieved that there wasn’t a higher incidence of mental health problems. I don’t know how it’s been in the U.S., but in the U.K. people have talked about expecting what we call a tsunami of mental health illnesses. Now, if four out of five people are getting through the first three months without a diagnosis, that doesn’t quite sound like a tsunami to me.
The 65 percent statistic for those with preexisting mental illness really puzzled me. What could explain it?
We were very surprised, but there was a small study out of UCLA essentially reporting the same thing. And then two weeks ago, just as our paper had been accepted, another very large American electronic health records database on another 60 million people found an even more striking association. So now the finding is quite robust. I think the question is, What’s the interpretation?
When we first saw that, we thought, “Maybe that’s just because we know that patients with psychiatric problems also tend to have worse physical health for various reasons.” We tried to control for those factors as far as we could, and the effect didn’t go away. So there seems to be some effect of having a psychiatric diagnosis that is more than just those physical health problems. We weren’t able to really explore other lifestyle, social and economic factors that maybe can account for those associations.
I’m not saying I believe this, but it’s possible that patients with psychiatric disorders might have a slightly higher level of inflammation. And so, possibly, if you’re already a person whose level of inflammation is a little bit higher, when Covid comes along, perhaps you’re more likely to get the illness.
It’s also hypothetically possible that some of the drugs that are used for psychiatric problems might increase your risk for Covid. I emphasize that I’ve got no evidence. I think it’s very unlikely. But it just illustrates the range of very different explanations.
Do you suspect these findings have to do with Covid having a physical impact on the brain, or are they caused by factors like isolation and guilt?
I think we need positive evidence that this has an effect on the brain. We think we know now that patients with Covid are more likely to have strokes and vascular damage to the brain. And we know that people who’ve had strokes can then develop longer-term psychiatric and cognitive problems. So, in our next study and other studies that are going on at the moment, people are looking at more of those kinds of outcomes that are more to do with the brain.
But I think the guilt, the anxiety, the stress, the worry of having had Covid will still end up being important. That would be my prediction.
SBDC at JJC Update
Here is a list of upcoming programs delivered from the Small Business Development Center through Joliet Junior College:
Social Media – Stop Posting! Start Marketing!
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (CST)
Are you taking advantage of the opportunities and changes in Social Media? Learn the five-step process: Find the Right Audience; Create the Right Content; Promote Your Business as a Brand; Use Ample Resources; and Analyze the Results. Digital Marketing expert, podcast host and author Joe Sanders, from Relevant Elephant, will share a powerful overview of how to improve your social media strategy and WHY you need to take action. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33551
Selling for Non-Salespeople
Time: 9:00 AM – 10:00 AM (CST)
Is your B2B product or service really awesome – BUT – you aren’t confident in your ability to sell it? Most of us feel like introverts at times, but you can join us for a simple session to act like an extrovert. Hear tips on how to do the prospecting, presenting, and closing to help you get new customers to say YES! Join Mike Wilczynski for the no-cost webinar. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33654
E-Commerce Webinar – Third Party Platforms to Sell Your Product
Time: 5:00 PM – 6:00 PM (CST)
E-commerce – Third Party Platforms to Sell Your Product Louis Kreppert has sold over $500,000 of product using platforms like Amazon, Facebook, eBay, and Google Merchant. Learn how to sell your products where the eyeballs are – without paying for advertising. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33413
Funding Your Business
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CST)
Funding your business is critical for start-ups as well as companies who are looking to expand. Establishing business credit is the first step. Get a basic understanding of what banks look for to qualify for a loan from Nancy Kuzma of Old Plank Trail Community Bank/Wintrust Community Bank. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33653
Video Marketing for Small Business
Time: 4:00 PM – 5:00 PM (CST)
Video production once meant bringing in a full production crew to produce a television commercial. Now, a child can produce a quality video on their phone. And that video is a very important component to your website, social media pages, product information, as well as your local advertising. Learn the benefits of video marketing and hear from Mike Puglitsch at Acclaim Media about how easy the process can be. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33572
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM (CST)
A website is more than just a placeholder to occupy property in cyberspace. Your website should be the central point that your social media, SEO, email marketing, pay per click ads, content, CRM….orbit around to generate business for your business. Join Jason McCoy from WSI to discuss how to develop a website that meets your needs. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33652
Starting Your Business in Illinois
Time: 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM (CST)
Thinking about starting a business in Illinois? This informative workshop helps entrepreneurs understand many of the steps and requirements. In this no-cost overview of Starting Your Business in Illinois, we will touch on many aspects of your business plan, including legal, accounting, banking, marketing, and sales. https://ilsbdc.ecenterdirect.com/events/33108
21 Topics in 21 Minutes for 2021 Growth
Date: Scheduled one-on-one session
In less than 30 minutes, the Illinois Small Business Development Center at Joliet Junior College 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 SBDC@JJC.edu and we will send you a link for registration.
Program and Event Notices & Reminders
Village of Shorewood Announces CARES Small Business Relief Program
The goal of the Shorewood CARES Small Business Relief Program (“Program”) is to provide financial support for the most impacted Shorewood small businesses in order to support their continued success as they navigate the coronavirus pandemic into 2021. Providing a monthly reimbursement for payroll and rent/mortgage (two of the most expensive operating costs) through this Program will ensure that business owners are not only able to keep the business open but also to focus on the future of their business. This Program coupled with the 2021 Business Fee Waivers are intended to encourage business owners to look to the future and set the stage for a successful new year.
Learn more about the program by clicking here – http://vil.shorewood.il.us/business/COVID-19/shorewood_cares.aspx
ComEd Bill Assistance
Small-business customers can visit ComEd.com/SmallBizAssistance or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more or apply for the Small Business Assistance Program.
ComEd’s bill-assistance programs also include flexible payment options for residents, financial assistance for past-due balances and usage alerts for current bills. Any customer who is experiencing a hardship or difficulty with their electric bill should call ComEd immediately at 1-800-334-7661 (1-800-EDISON-1), Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to learn more and enroll in a program.
Business Interruption Grant
Funds still remain and the program is still open for application. Please visit:
Illinois SBA Offerings
The 8(a) Business Development Program is a business assistance program that can help small, disadvantaged businesses access government contracts. Learn more about the program here and join the orientation to get your questions answered. Wednesday, Nov. 18, 9:30 a.m.
Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG) – Round 2
DCEO’s Business Interruption Grants program, otherwise known as BIG, recognizes the enormous burden seen by businesses across Illinois as a result of COVID-19 and aims to bring immediate relief for businesses hit hardest. Join the Illinois SBDC at Champaign County EDC to learn more about BIG grants (Round 2), including who is eligible, how and what you’ll need to apply, and more. Thursday, Nov. 19, 11 a.m.
Fridays with Fergie
Open office hours with SBA Illinois Deputy District Director Mark Ferguson. Ask your questions about PPP or anything else and learn from your peers. Friday, Nov. 20, 11:30 a.m. Please note there is no session on Friday, Nov. 13.
Finally, we would like to announce our next Virtual Conference. Please make plans to join us next Thursday, November 19 at 11 AM for a City of Joliet projects and programs update. Interim City Manager Jim Hock will join us to discuss the progress has been made on the following:
- 2021 City Budget
- City Water Source
- NorthPoint and Cullinan developments
- Houbolt Road Bridge
- I80 Bridge / Highway
- Truck facility PILOT (payment in lieu of taxes) program
- Single residential rental inspections
- Downtown flood plain
- Chicago Street opening, beautification, and straightening
- Van Buren Street plaza
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry