President Biden has made official the extension of PPP funds until May 31 by signing the Act into law. We have good and bad news on the vaccine front as new studies show promising results, but an unfortunate error will slow rollout. Also, the eviction ban has been extended until June 30th now. We’ll have full coverage tomorrow in the update about the various components released today on the infrastructure bill as there are many pieces to outline. Tomorrow will be the last update until Monday, April 12 due to some vacation time.
*Daily Coronavirus update brought to you by Silver Cross Hospital
President Biden Signs PPP Extension
President Joe Biden signed the PPP Extension Act of 2021 into law yesterday, extending the Paycheck Protection Program an additional two months to May 31, 2021, and then providing an additional 30-day period for the SBA to process applications that are still pending, Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman, head of the U.S. Small Business Administration, said:
“Today, President Biden sent another strong message to America’s more than 30 million small business owners negatively impacted by the pandemic: help is here. By signing the PPP Extension Act of 2021 and the American Rescue Plan Act into law, the President is providing additional critical relief to the smallest of the small businesses – the mom-and-pop shops that line our Main Streets and keep our local and regional economies going.
Shipments of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Halted
Future shipments of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine have been halted while the Food and Drug Administration investigates, after human error at a manufacturing plant ruined 15 million doses, The New York Times reported Wednesday. The plant in Baltimore is run by Emergent Biosolutions, and workers mixed up the ingredients in the vaccine, the Times reported.
The error does not affect doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine that have already been distributed, since those were made in the Netherlands, but it impacts future shipments of the vaccine, according to the Times.
The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is one of three being used in the United States. The Pfizer and Moderna vaccines were already the bulk of the U.S. supply, and those are proceeding as planned. But the error could limit the ability of Johnson & Johnson to add considerably to the U.S. supply in the coming weeks. The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is the only one of the three that only requires one shot to be effective. The other two require two shots spaced apart.
Pfizer Says Vaccine Safe and Effective in Kids
Pfizer announced Wednesday that its COVID-19 vaccine is safe and strongly protective in kids as young as 12, a step toward possibly beginning shots in this age group before they head back to school in the fall.
Most COVID-19 vaccines being rolled out worldwide are for adults, who are at higher risk from the coronavirus. Pfizer’s vaccine is authorized for ages 16 and older. But vaccinating children of all ages will be critical to stopping the pandemic — and helping schools, at least the upper grades, start to look a little more normal after months of disruption.
In a study of 2,260 U.S. volunteers ages 12 to 15, preliminary data showed there were no cases of COVID-19 among fully vaccinated adolescents compared to 18 among those given dummy shots, Pfizer reported. It’s a small study, that hasn’t yet been published, so another important piece of evidence is how well the shots revved up the kids’ immune systems. Researchers reported high levels of virus-fighting antibodies, somewhat higher than were seen in studies of young adults.
Kids had side effects similar to young adults, the company said. The main side effects are pain, fever, chills, and fatigue, particularly after the second dose. The study will continue to track participants for two years for more information about long-term protection and safety.
Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech in the coming weeks plan to ask the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and European regulators to allow emergency use of the shots starting at age 12. Pfizer isn’t the only company seeking to lower the age limit for its vaccine. Results also are expected soon from a U.S. study of Moderna’s vaccine in 12- to 17-year-olds. But in a sign that the findings were promising, the FDA already allowed both companies to begin U.S. studies in children 11 and younger, working their way to as young as 6-month-old.
AstraZeneca last month began a study of its vaccine among 6- to 17-year-olds in Britain. Johnson & Johnson is planning its own pediatric studies. And in China, Sinovac recently announced it has submitted preliminary data to Chinese regulators showing its vaccine is safe in children as young as 3.
While most COVID-19 vaccines being used globally were first tested in tens of thousands of adults, pediatric studies won’t need to be nearly as large. Scientists have safety information from those studies and from subsequent vaccinations in millions more adults. One key question is the dosage: Pfizer gave the 12-and-older participants the same dose adults receive, while testing different doses in younger children.
It’s not clear how quickly the FDA would act on Pfizer’s request to allow vaccination starting at age 12. Another question is when the country would have enough supply of shots — and people to get them into adolescents’ arms — to let kids start getting in line. Supplies are set to steadily increase over the spring and summer, at the same time states are opening vaccinations to younger, healthier adults who until now haven’t had a turn.
Children represent about 13% of COVID-19 cases documented in the U.S. And while children are far less likely than adults to get seriously ill, at least 268 have died from COVID-19 in the U.S. alone and more than 13,500 have been hospitalized, according to a tally by the American Academy of Pediatrics. That’s more than die from the flu in an average year. Additionally, a small number have developed a serious inflammatory condition linked to the coronavirus.
Pfizer, Moderna Covid-19 Vaccines Effective in Real World, CDC Says
Covid-19 vaccines from Moderna and from Pfizer and partner BioNTech are highly effective in preventing infections in real-world conditions, federal health officials said, further evidence that vaccinations can slow the spread of the virus. The vaccines were 90% effective at reducing the risk of infection two weeks after a second dose, according to a study of nearly 4,000 healthcare workers, first responders and other essential workers published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday.
In addition, the data indicated the vaccines can reduce the risk of coronavirus infections whether or not they cause symptoms, the CDC said. “This study shows that our national vaccination efforts are working,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “The authorized vaccines are the key tool that will help bring an end to this devastating pandemic.”
The findings are in line with real-world results of the two vaccines in the U.K. and Israel. They are also consistent with results from clinical trials run by the companies that found the mRNA vaccines to be highly effective at protecting against symptomatic Covid-19. The companies are still conducting their own analyses of whether the vaccines reduce asymptomatic transmission.
The CDC study looked at 3,950 volunteers in six states over 13 weeks from Dec. 14, 2020, to March 13, 2021. Study subjects swabbed their noses themselves weekly, regardless of whether they had developed symptoms. Then CDC researchers tested the swabs for signs of infection.
About 11% of infections didn’t result in symptoms, though 58% of the infections occurred in people whose infections were identified by testing before they developed symptoms or knew they were infected, according to the study.
Researchers reported three infections across 2,479 people who were fully vaccinated, having received two doses several weeks apart. There were eight infections among 477 people who received one dose. There were 161 infections in the unvaccinated workers, the study found. There were no deaths, the CDC said.
CDC Extends Eviction Ban Through June 30
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the federal eviction moratorium has been extended through June 30, a move that will protect millions of tenants who have struggled to make their rent payments during the coronavirus crisis. Shortly after the CDC announcement, two key financial regulators warned that they will be “monitoring and investigating” eviction practices in light of the newly extended ban, pointing to “reports that major multistate landlords are forcing people out of their homes.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic has presented a historic threat to the nation’s public health,” CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement. “Keeping people in their homes and out of crowded or congregate settings — like homeless shelters — by preventing evictions is a key step in helping to stop the spread of COVID-19.”
The CDC initially released an order in September barring eviction for nonpayment of rent through the end of 2020, citing a 1944 public health law. Congress extended it in December, and the Biden administration renewed it again through March 31. Congress has also enacted more than $45 billion in rental assistance to help distressed tenants pay off back rent and ensure that struggling landlords are able to make mortgage payments, but little of that money has been distributed yet.
The eviction ban requires tenants to state that they have been financially affected by Covid-19 and can no longer pay rent. Evictions for other reasons are still permitted. Monday’s extension makes no substantive changes to the policy, despite housing advocates pushing the administration to boost enforcement measures to prevent landlords from going around the moratorium.
A recent CFPB report found that 8.8 million households are behind on rent.
Program Notices & Reminders – Expanded Information
American Rescue Plan and Funding Updates for Illinois Small Business Owners
Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 4:30pm (CT)
Register for the webinar to learn more »
The American Rescue Plan, a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill that includes $50 billion for new and existing small business relief programs, has now been signed into law. Join Small Business Majority and the U.S. Small Business Administration, Illinois District Office for their bi-weekly webinar to learn more about what the American Rescue Plan will mean for your small business and to hear updates on federal funding as well as new federal support funds, loan forgiveness and the free federal and non-profit resources to support small businesses impacted by the pandemic.
Hollywood Casino Joliet Partnering with Illinois Dept. of Public Health to Host Covid Mobile Testing Program
Hollywood Casino Joliet announced that it is partnering with the Illinois Department of Public Health (“IDPH”) to host a COVID-19 mobile testing program in the casino’s parking lot.
The IDPH’s mobile testing program in Hollywood Casino’s parking lot will take place from 8:00am to 4:00pm on April 3. Individuals seeking COVID-19 tests will not need a photo ID nor need to be showing signs of symptoms to receive a test. The mobile testing program accepts insurance, however an insurance card is not necessary to be tested. For the uninsured or if insurance does not cover the cost of the test, the state of Illinois will cover the cost.
The COVID-19 mobile testing program will use anterior nares swabs to test patients, with specimens being shipped to a lab to run on a polymerase chain reaction (“PCR”) testing machine which makes it possible to detect COVID-19 with a very high degree of accuracy. Individuals tested will receive a phone call between 4-7 days from the date of their test from the number 888-297-7208. Patients who miss the call will be requested to call back in order to receive results as they cannot be left via voicemail.
Small Business Development Center (SBDC) at Joliet Junior College
Here are our upcoming no-cost webinars:
Social Media – Stop Posting! Start Marketing (with Joe Sanders) on April 1 at 11am
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.
Social Media – Stop Posting! Start Marketing! (with Joe Sanders) (ecenterdirect.com)
Video Marketing for Small Business (with Mike at Acclaim Media) on April 8 at 11am
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 Poglitsch at Acclaim Media about how easy the process can be.
Video Marketing for Small Business (ecenterdirect.com)
Funding Your Business (with Nancy Kuzma) on April 14th at 2pm
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.
Funding Your Business Webinar (ecenterdirect.com)
Government Certification Process (with Rita Haake at COD) on April 27th at 1pm
Certifications: Interpreting the alphabet to pursue profits! Which small business certification is the best one for you?
• Federal: 8(a), EDWOSB, HUBZone, SDB, SDVOSB, WOSB, VOSB
• State: DBE, FBE, FMBE, MBE, PBE, VBE
• Local: DBE, MBE, WBE, VBE
You will learn the details of the application process, documentation requirements, certification options, and how to market and leverage certifications for the growth of your business.
Webinar: The Certification Process (ecenterdirect.com)
Small Business Administration Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program
The Shuttered Venue Operators (SVO) Grant program was established by The Economic Aid to Hard-Hit Small Businesses, Non-Profits, and Venues Act, signed into law on December 27, 2020. The SBA has announced that they will begin to accept applications under this program on April 8, 2021. The application portal will open in a tiered approach. Please check the SBA website (link below) for more information.
Eligible applicants may qualify for SVO Grants equal to 45% of their gross earned revenue, with the maximum amount available for a single grant award of $10 million. $2 billion is reserved for eligible applications with up to 50 full-time employees. Eligible entities include:
o Live venue operators or promoters
o Theatrical producers
o Live performing arts organization operators
o Relevant museum operators, zoos and aquariums who meet specific criteria
o Motion picture theater operators
o Talent representatives, and
o Each business entity owned by an eligible entity that also meets the eligibility requirements
This program is not yet open for applications. SBA has issued more guidance on this program in the past week. Applicants can apply for PPP prior to applying to the SVOG program. If they do receive a PPP loan after 12/27/20, they will have the SVOG reduced by the PPP loan amount. To follow updates on this program, please click here to go to the SBA’s website. Applicants must also have a valid SAM.gov registration to apply for this program. Here’s a link to a video on how to apply: SAM.gov Entity Registration Training – YouTube .
Small Business Administration Program: Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program (EIDL)
This week SBA announced that for loans approved starting the week of April 6, 2021, the maximum loan amount will be increased to $500,000. For loans approved prior to the week of April 6, 2021, please click here for information from SBA on loan increases.
The SBA is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses and non-profit organizations that are suffering substantial economic injury as a result of COVID-19. These loans may be used to pay debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact, and that are not already covered by a Paycheck Protection Program loan. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses and 2.75% for non-profits. The first payment is deferred for one year. Applicants must be physically located in the U.S. or designated territory and suffered working capital losses due to the coronavirus pandemic, not due to a downturn in the economy or other reasons. Eligible applicants include the following:
- Businesses with 500 or fewer employees or defined as small per www.SBA.gov/SizeStandards
- Cooperatives with 500 or fewer employees
- Agricultural enterprises with 500 or fewer employees
• Most private nonprofits
• Faith-based organizations
• Sole proprietorships and independent contractors
The deadline to apply for this program has been extended to December 31, 2021. The SBA has also extended deferment periods for all disaster loans including EIDL until 2022. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2020, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 24-months from the date of the note. All SBA disaster loans made in calendar year 2021, including COVID-19 EIDL, will have a first payment due date extended from 12-months to 18-months from the date of the note. For more information and the application, please click here to go to the SBA’s website.
Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity
Team RED will be hosting numerous program webinars over the next few weeks. Please join us and learn about these programs. While different team members from around the state are hosting the webinars, they are open to anyone to attend. You can view the full list of upcoming events on our website here.
Overview of WIOA Workforce Business Services
Date and Time: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 at 2pm
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about Illinois Workforce Programs that can benefit both Employers and Employee’s with items like hiring, training, Apprenticeship programs, and other Business Services.
Overview of DCEO Programs
Date and Time: Friday, April 9, 2021 at 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar as we give an overview of the agency and talk about the programs available to help businesses.
Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA)
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 10:00 am
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Grant Accountability and Transparency Act (GATA) Pre-Award Process. The Department uses an accountability program to take a customer-centered approach to grants management and monitoring. The agency, which administers and oversees nearly 10,000 grants each fiscal year, manages various economic, community and workforce development programs, services, and initiatives. The Department of Commerce partners with businesses, local governments, nonprofit organizations, workers, and families to enhance the state’s economy.
Register Here: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=ec3bc0cec19d2a9bdd838229d3bdc5758
Advantage Illinois Loan Program for Small Businesses
Date and time: Wednesday, April 14, 2021 6:00 PM
Please join the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s Office of Regional Economic Development for a webinar to learn more about the Advantage Illinois Loan Program.
This program enhances capital for Illinois businesses, which is a top priority. By working with the state’s banking community and venture capitalists, DCEO will help entrepreneurs and small
businesses start-up, expand, and create new jobs at a faster rate.
Register Here: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e767f0deb7bba812e8b617783d556a955
Advantage Illinois: How local community banks can partner with the State of Illinois to help small business
Date and time: Tuesday, April 27, 2021 10:00 am
Enhancing access to capital for Illinois businesses is a top priority. The Brookings Institution has noted that more than 95% of new jobs are derived from business expansion or start up activity. Small businesses are the backbone of the Illinois economy, and the Advantage Illinois program is here to assist. In this webinar you will learn how the state’s banking community can help entrepreneurs and small businesses start up, expand, and create new jobs at a faster rate by partnering with the State of Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity through this participation loan program. Guest speakers include John D. Hill and Mark Schultz, Advantage Illinois Team for the Office of Business Development. Local community banks are encouraged to attend!
Team RED Office hours
DCEO’s Regional Economic Development Team is hosting weekly office hours on the days and times listed below. These sessions are designed as open times that the Team is available. The Team will provide you with the latest updates and answer any questions you may have on state or federal programs. Feel free to drop in for any assistance you need. If these times do not work for you, please reach out to your regional Team RED representative. We’re always here to help.
Mondays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mdac63fc058a28665bc12f2db155d8e81
Wednesdays from 1pm – 2pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=mab7683a4fd7c1b69c9aead26b0fce1ea
Thursdays from 3pm – 4pm
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=me64c9d6620b31db8645644cf588f956b
Fridays from 10am – 11am
Meeting link: https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/j.php?MTID=m097b6d22cef426d023f9d5375ba167b4
Finally, for those residing in the City of Joliet, here is the link to view the answers to our city council candidate questionnaire and here is the link to view our recent in person candidate forum. Remember that in person voting takes place on Tuesday, April 6 and view www.thewillcountyclerk.com for information pertaining to deadlines for vote by mail ballots and early voting locations.
Also, here is the link to the recording of our State of the City address with Joliet Mayor Bob O’Dekirk. https://youtu.be/XTVw2e-DJKk
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors
Vice President – Government Affairs
Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry