Last day of the week and the start of the statewide Tier 3 mitigations. Today we share information on vaccine movement and COVID-19 tests, some information on Small Business Saturday, and more useful information in the next weeks in terms of seminars.
Enjoy your weekend!
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
Tier 3 Mitigations Begin Today
As a final reminder, all 11 regions in Illinois began with Tier 3 mitigations today at 12:01am. The new mitigation requirements to combat the surge of COVID-19 across Illinois can be found on our resource page and also attached.
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
Pfizer, BioNTech Ask FDA to Authorize Their Covid-19 Vaccine
Pfizer Inc. and partner BioNTech asked U.S. health regulators on Friday to permit use of their Covid-19 vaccine, a milepost in months of frantic efforts to find a medicine that could beat back a rampaging pandemic.
Now it will be up to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to decide whether the two-shot vaccine works safely enough to roll out to millions of people. It is unclear how long the agency will take to review the vaccine, which Pfizer and BioNTech just days earlier said was 95% effective and well-tolerated in a 44,000-subject trial.
Given the urgency, the FDA is expected to move quickly. The timing of the filing is in line with industry and government officials’ projections for authorization and distribution to begin next month. Pfizer said the filing could allow for distribution to begin the middle to end of December.
A green light would cap the fastest vaccine development program ever in the West, going from laboratory to authorization in less than a year. Pfizer, which partnered with Germany’s BioNTech in March, has so far spent about $2 billion on the effort.
Companies, health authorities and physicians would then face more daunting tasks: making enough shots to meet demand, distributing them and convincing people to take them.
Pfizer’s submission for authorization follows the collection of two months of safety data on about 19,000 study subjects, as the FDA required. It also includes safety data of about 100 children between 12 and 15 years, participants that enrolled several weeks ago.
Pfizer and BioNTech said Wednesday that 162 of the 170 subjects in a large trial who developed Covid-19 with at least one symptom had received a placebo, indicating the vaccine was 95% effective at protecting against Covid-19.
The vaccine also showed to be effective at protecting against severe Covid-19, as nine out of the 10 severe cases that surfaced in the trial were volunteers who took a placebo.
FDA Clears First Covid-19 Test Performed Fully at Home
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the first Covid-19 test that people can take at home by themselves and get results without the help of a lab, a long-awaited step.
The single-use, disposable test from Lucira Health Inc. uses nasal swabs and can be self-administered by anyone with a doctor’s prescription ages 14 years or older. The test searches for the genetic material of the new coronavirus and can give results in 30 minutes or less, the company said.
Some Covid-19 tests have been previously authorized for at-home collection, but Lucira’s is the first that can be fully self-performed and provide results at home minutes later. The test, which the FDA cleared late Tuesday, is expected to be available through a national rollout by early spring 2021.
Lucira said it expects its test to cost around $50 apiece. Lucira said the test can correctly flag an infection 94.1% of the time and identify a negative result 98% of the time, when compared with a PCR test. If a sample has high levels of virus, the test is 100% sensitive, the company said.
How Any Business Can Make the Most of Small Business Saturday
The holiday season is around the corner, and small businesses everywhere are figuring out how to adapt to the unusual circumstances of this year. With so much holiday shopping shifting to the virtual realm, local mom-and-pop shops, restaurants, and service providers can boost their online presence and get themselves on the national stage by participating in Small Business Saturday. Small Business Saturday, which takes place on November 28 this year, encourages consumers to support local businesses by shopping small.
Consumers have been more than eager to jump on board and support their local small business community. Last year, the U.S. Small Business Administration reported Americans spent nearly $20 billion on Small Business Saturday, and in the nine years before that, consumers spent a cumulative $100 billion on this shopping holiday.
For every dollar spent on small businesses, American Express estimates an average of $0.67 stays in that business’s local community. This has the potential to make a huge difference during the 2020 holiday season, when most small businesses will be fighting to make up the revenue they lost throughout COVID-19.
While the shift to e-commerce may be a big change for many brick-and-mortar retailers, there’s still an enormous opportunity to reach consumers and increase sales during Small Business Saturday 2020. Here are a few ways to ride the trends and position your business for success this Small Business Saturday:
Get free marketing materials and exposure from American Express
While the shift to e-commerce may be a big change for many brick-and-mortar retailers, there’s still an enormous opportunity to reach consumers and increase sales during Small Business Saturday 2020. American Express offers free marketing materials, including posters, emails, and social media posts.
This year, small businesses can even add themselves to AmEx’s “Shop Small” map and join a national directory of other participating businesses.
Find and/or host virtual Small Business Saturday events
Small business owners are stronger when they join forces and work together. Across the country, local businesses are hosting virtual Small Business Saturday events, whether they organize them with other businesses or join existing events. Business owners can advertise the occasion, hold online sales, and provide special incentives for customers during these events.
Launch social media and email marketing campaigns
Since Small Business Saturday has become a household name across the country, social media and email marketing campaigns focused on this shopping holiday can bring in new customers. Businesses can use hashtags like #SmallBusinessSaturday and #ShopSmall and tag American Express’s @shopsmall social media accounts to get noticed online.
Update and optimize your small business website
Every business, especially those with e-commerce operations, should make sure their websites are up-to-date and mobile-friendly well before Small Business Saturday. Reaching consumers online has been the key to business survival in 2020 and will continue to be throughout this holiday season and beyond.
Explore American Express’s content hub for small business tips, trends, and tools
American Express publishes a merchant content hub featuring valuable small businesses resources and expert insights ahead of Small Business Saturday. https://www.americanexpress.com/us/merchant/merchant-content-hub.html?intlink=us-merchsite-shopsmall-trendsinsights
Biden to Meet Friday With Top Congressional Democrats
President-elect Joe Biden is scheduled to meet Friday with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer in Wilmington, Del., according to aides.
This will be the first in-person meeting of the three since Mr. Biden won the election, though they have spoken on the phone. The three are already planning out a legislative agenda for next year, with a primary focus on addressing the coronavirus pandemic. The details of the legislation depend on whether Congress is able to pass any relief in the lame-duck session.
Earlier this week, Mr. Biden called on Republicans and Democrats in Congress to work together to pass a coronavirus relief package. While many lawmakers say they would like to do more, top congressional leaders from both parties are not involved in discussions with the White House. The two chambers will be on Thanksgiving break as of today.
The three Democratic leaders have a lengthy past of working together. Minority Leader Schumer previously served with Mr. Biden in the Senate. Speaker Pelosi worked with Mr. Biden when she was House Speaker during President Obama’s first two years in office, and later while she was minority leader of the Democrats.
Stimulus Check Deadline
The IRS is working to ensure as many people as possible register to receive their coronavirus stimulus payment by Saturday’s deadline. People have until Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. EST to use the online IRS web tool for non-filers to submit information to get their federal payment this year. The web tool is designed for people who are not typically required to file a tax return, generally because they have low incomes.
Business Services Webinar from the Workforce Center of Will County
Join this Webinar to learn how the Workforce Center can assist your business with resources you need to find, hire, and retain hard-working employees.
Wednesday, December 9, 2020 from 8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
•Workforce Services Division of Will County
•Illinois Department of Employment Security
•Workforce Investment Board of Will County
•Joliet Junior College Workforce Development
•Employment & Employer Services
•Department of Human Services- Division of Rehabilitation Services
The Workforce Center of Will County Business Services team members will explain how they can help. Hear from guest speaker, Biswa Phuyal, Business Services Consultant with the State of Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services as he discusses
“Partnering for Success with DRS.”
To register for the webinar please click on the link below:
Program 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:
Low-interest Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDLs) from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) are still available to Illinois small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and private nonprofit organizations affected by Civil Unrest from May 26, through July 30, 2020.
The SBA has opened a Virtual Business Recovery Center to apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at https://DisasterLoanAssistance.sba.gov/. Business owners and residents should contact the SBA Customer Service Representatives at
(800) 659-2955 for assistance in completing their applications. Requests for SBA disaster loan program information may be obtained by emailing FOCE-Help@sba.gov.
Eligible entities may qualify for loans up to $2 million. The SBA offers economic injury loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. The loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other bills that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred. Eligible small businesses include but are not limited to hotels, restaurants, retailers, wholesalers, and manufacturers.
The rates on these working capital loans are 3 percent for small businesses and 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, with terms up to 30 years. Eligibility for the loan is based on the size and type of business and its financial resources. The loans are not intended to replace lost sales or profits. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.
SBDC at JJC Update
Here is a list of upcoming programs delivered from the Small Business Development Center through Joliet Junior College:
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
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.
Finally, we will host our next Virtual Conference on Thursday, December 10th. This will be our Town Hall 2 version featuring Dr. Arvid Johnson from the University of St. Francis, Ruth Colby from Silver Cross Hospital, Sue Olenek from the Will County Health Department, Barry Kolanowski from Senior Services Center, and Mike Paone from the Joliet Chamber. More information to follow.
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry