Chamber Members:

After the large amount of information shared yesterday, we promise today’s update will be a light one. All eyes are now on President Trump to sign the relief bill and government funding as he has until December 28 to do so.  All reports point to that happening.

Hopefully, some of you were able to join the update call this afternoon at 1 pm. If not, there are links to a quick guide from the US Chamber. We’ll keep adding info as more details come in to focus.

*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital

Monday Night Passage
Congress overwhelmingly approved $900 billion of relief for households and businesses battered by the coronavirus pandemic, passing an emergency measure aimed at buoying the country through a difficult winter and into a new year.

The bill now heads to the White House, where President Trump is expected to sign it into law. Both the House and Senate on Monday night also approved a seven-day continuing resolution to keep the government funded until the larger package is signed. Mr. Trump signed the short-term bill early Tuesday morning.

The Senate voted 92-6 late Monday to approve the infusion of coronavirus aid together with a $1.4 trillion spending bill that will fund the government through September. Initially, the Senate’s presiding officer said the vote was 91-7, which was later corrected to 92-6.

The package passed the House earlier Monday evening in a 359-53 vote.

President Elect Biden Response to Relief Bill
President-elect Joe Biden on Tuesday expressed empathy with struggling families and applauded Congress for passing the coronavirus relief bill as the nation deals with a COVID-19 surge that’s casting a shadow over the Christmas holiday.

He called out to frontline workers, scientists, researchers, clinical trial participants and those with deployed family members during the holiday season. “Our hearts are always with you — keep the faith,” he said in a year-end address from Wilmington, Delaware.

On the $900 billion coronavirus aid bill passed by Congress on Monday, Biden called the bill
a “down payment” on a broader relief bill he plans to introduce when he takes office in
January. “Like all compromises, this is far from perfect,” Biden said. “Congress did their job this week, and I can, and I must ask them to do it again next year.”

Additional Pandemic Relief Bill Text Highlights and Government Funding 
More details are emerging about who will get what in the Chicago area from the $900 billion COVID-relief bill that cleared Congress yesterday, and among big beneficiaries are the state’s health system, a series of projects at Fermi and Argonne National Labs, and quite possibly the Chicago Transit Authority’s Red Line.

According to Sen. Dick Durbin, state and local health departments can expect to receive $1 billion to test for COVID and to distribute the new vaccines that are coming on line. The state says it expects to receive more than 230,000 additional vaccine doses by Christmas.

Durbin told reporters this afternoon that he by no means has given up on getting $160 billion to directly help state and local governments, something that was knocked out of the bill due to Republican objections.

The money is “not a bailout” for blue states and cities, nor is it a reward for “mismanagement,” Durbin said, but a replacement for tax revenue that isn’t coming in because of COVID-19. Getting that money “is going to be a priority for (President-elect Joe Biden),” Durbin said.

U.S. Chamber Guide to New Pandemic Relief Package
As part of an end-of-year pandemic relief package, Congress has passed several changes to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and created a “Second Draw” PPP for small businesses who have exhausted their initial loan. Other changes impact eligibility for initial PPP loans, the loan forgiveness process, and the tax treatment of PPP loans.

Congress has also made changes to other programs – including Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL Program), the Employee Retention Tax Credit, a Venue Grant program, and SBA loan programs –that will benefit small businesses. Here’s everything small business owners need to know now:


How Do These Changes Impact My Existing PPP Loan? 
I Exhausted My Initial PPP Loan, How Does This Help Me? 
What If I Never Received a PPP Loan? 
Which Changes to Other Programs That May Help My Small Business Have Been Changed? 

Here is the link to yesterday’s update that contained full information on the relief package:

Bill Filed to Allow Legislators to Meet and Vote Virtually
Rep. Ann Williams (above) and Sen. Robert Martwick, both Chicago Democrats, filed the legislation Monday that would allow the General Assembly to meet and vote remotely, saying the current inability to conduct business during the COVID-19 pandemic has hindered lawmakers’ ability to respond to the health crisis.

“In March, we had no idea a pandemic would sweep the globe, bringing life as we know it to a halt,” Williams said in a news release. “While we were able to meet for a few days in May to conduct urgent business, we continue to face a crisis of epic proportions – both on the public health front and in terms of our budget situation – that requires legislative attention.”

“The governor has emergency powers to secure the health of our state,” Martwick said. “However, it is the Legislature’s responsibility to enact the long-term policies, in accordance with the needs of our unique and diverse constituencies, which will chart the path forward as we recover from this pandemic.”

Business in the General Assembly halted in March, around the same time Gov. JB Pritzker declared a statewide disaster. Lawmakers held a brief special session in May, mainly to pass a budget and a few other urgent pieces of legislation, but they canceled their usual fall veto session and have not conducted any official business since May 24.

During that special session, the Senate enacted a procedural rule that allows its committees to meet remotely, but only for informational meetings. They are not allowed to take recorded votes. The only committee that has taken official action since May has been the Joint Committee on Administrative Rules, which has held monthly in-person meetings in Springfield.

A bill that would have allowed lawmakers to meet and vote on legislation failed by a single vote in the House in May.

Under the proposed legislation, remote sessions and committee meetings would be allowed “in times of pestilence or an emergency resulting from a domestic or foreign terrorist attack” if the speaker of the House and Senate president issue a joint proclamation. The bill also contains a provision requiring the meetings be accessible for the public to view.

Program Notices & Reminders
Workforce Center of Will County
The WCWC held a business services webinar with the Division of Rehabilitation Services talking about vocational rehab and home services programming last week. Attached to this email is a pdf document of that informative presentation. Also attached is a pdf document that reviews the Will County economy and labor force. You can also access them on our covid resource page.
Webinar Slides
Economic Report

ComEd Bill Assistance
Small-business customers can visit 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.

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.

The SBA has opened a Virtual Business Recovery Center to apply online using the Electronic Loan Application via the SBA’s secure website at 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

SBDC at JJC Update
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 and we will send you a link for registration.

Selling for Non-Salespeople
Date: 1/7/21 Time: 2pm
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 by registering at:

Starting Your Business in Illinois
Date: 1/14/21 Time: 9am
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.

Finally, we wish you a healthy and happy holiday season!

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