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  • PHASE 4 GUIDELINES

    Released August 3, 2020 - Cook County Dept of Public Health Mitigation Guidelines

    CLICK HERE to see the new guidance.

    Released July 2020 - Phase 4 Mitigation Plan - Actions to Combat a Resurgence of Covid-19

    The IDPH has divided Illinois into 11 regions and  is monitoring key indicators to identify early but significant  increases of  COVID-19 transmission 

    - CLICK HERE to see the regions and the indicator levels.

    - CLICK HERE to see the tiered menu of mitigation options 

    Released June 22, 2020 - Phase 4 of the “Restore Illinois” Plan is set to Start on Friday, June 26, 2020

    The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has now released their Phase 4 guidelines for reopening: DCEO’s COVID-19 Resources website is available via this link. The entire state is currently scheduled to move into Phase 4 (Revitalization) of Governor JB Pritzker’s “Restore Illinois” plan on Friday, June 26.

    Linked here is the Governor’s press release.

    An overview of the guidelines in Phase 4 is available via this link.

     


    FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

    Oak Park  - COVID-19 Business Assistance Loan Program - Submissions begin 9am Tues. July 28, 2020
    WHAT IS THIS? The Village of Oak Park will offer Oak Park businesses that have been negatively affected by the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus low- interest forgivable financing through Oak Park's CARES Act Business Assistance Loan program. Max $5,000.00. To learn more CLICK HERE.
    PLEASE NOTE - this will be a first come first serve application process so if you are interested in this forgivable loan, applications may be submitted electronically to Business@oak-park.us beginning at 9 a.m., Tues., July 28.
     
    Re: Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) - Applications have opened up again!
    - WANT MORE INFO? CLICK HERE for a great article from Forbes. CLICK HERE for the news release.
    CLICK HERE for more information and how to apply. In plain English - This is a loan and you apply for it through the SBA website.
    - UPDATE - As of July 11 - they are no longer doing the loan advances.
     
    Round 5 of LISC Small Business Relief Grants for small businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19 is NOW OPEN!
    CLICK HERE to get all the information you need and the application form.
    Your application must be completed by Monday, August 3rd, 11:59 p.m. ET. (Remember that means 10:59pm here on Central Time)  
     

    The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation - donated $5 million to support female entrepreneurs in the wake of COVID-19 and teamed up with GlobalGiving to establish The Red Backpack Fund. GlobalGiving will be overseeing the fund, making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. The last round of funding has closed (as of April 12). The portal will open for applications again on August 3CLICK HERE for more information and to sign up for email notifications. CLICK HERE for the application.

    Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) - CLICK HERE for the most up to date information. Updated Treasury FAQ - CLICK HERE. Additional Eligibility Criteria - CLICK HERECLICK HERE for the US Chamber of Commerce Guide and Checklist. In plain English - This is a loan and you apply for it through a bank. A portion of the loan can be forgiven (ie. you do not need to pay it back) if at least 75% is used for payroll and payroll expenses. Application deadline has been extended to August 8, 2020. 

    Covid-19 African American Relief Fund - Grant program for African American owned businesses with a focus on supporting payroll and rent. CLICK HERE for more information. Round 2 application period opens August 1. 

    Childcare Restoration Grants - Illinois has directed more than $270 million in grant funds for childcare providers operating in the State of Illinois. The application deadline is August 14th.  CLICK HERE for more information. Applications are available through August 14, 2020.

    Illinois Facilities Fund - Nonprofits can now apply through IFF’s nonprofit SBA lending partner, Community Reinvestment Fund, for the Paycheck Protection Program. CLICK HERE for more information and to see the application.

    Facebook Small Business Grants Program - CLICK HERE for a CNBC article about the program.

    Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – State of Illinois DCEO - low-interest loans of up to $50,000 - CLICK HERE. Also see the Archived Webinar below for additional information from DCEO.

    Chicago Covid-19 Response Fund for Non Profits - Another potential funding option for non-profitsCLICK HERE and then scroll down to the FAQs. Click on "What if my organization wants to apply to the fund" and fill in the Google form expression of interest. If there are funds available they will contact you to apply.

    Cook County Community Recovery Fund - Rapid relief loans for small businesses, gig workers and independent contractors - Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development has launched The Community Recovery Fund as part of the Community Recovery Initiative. This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders. The application deadline is now closed. We will update this page if it reopens. 

    **Comprehensive summary, as well as up-to-date information, see the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC) web site - CLICK HERE. Be sure also to sign up for their regular updates right to your in-box.

     

    UPDATE ON PPP FUNDING

    There have been changes to the original PPP program. Please see this updated U.S. Chamber four-page Guide to PPP Loan Forgiveness. This guide reflects recent substantive changes made by Congress and the administration to the PPP program to provide borrowers with more flexibility. These changes include:

    • Extending the time to spend PPP funds from 8 weeks to 24 weeks;
    • Lowering the amount that must be spent on payroll from 75% to 60%;
    • Extending the deadline to restore FTEs and payroll from June 30, 2020 to Dec. 31, 2020; and
    • Setting the repayment term for loans made after June 4, 2020 at five years.

     

    There is also a revised and more borrower-friendly PPP loan forgiveness applications, including a new EZ version requiring fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers, are now available. Both applications give the option to use the original 8-week covered period (if loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period. Click below to access the updated applications and instructions.

    In addition to revising the full forgiveness application, SBA also published an EZ version that applies to some borrowers. 

    For more information on these forms, you can read the full news release.


    WEBINARS

    UPCOMING

    PPP Forgiveness
    For those who received PPP funding, it is imperative that you report how you spent your money correctly so that you can maximize the forgivable portion. Here are two great upcoming seminars that can give you a helping hand with this!
    Women's Business development Center - Wednesday June 18, 10am - CLICK HERE to sign on to the presentation.
    West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WSCCI) - Tuesday, June 23, 2pm - CLICK HERE to register.

     

    ARCHIVE

    Get to know the Women's Business Development Center - (Webinar on May 1) - CLICK HERE to see the slide deck. CLICK HERE for the Business Strategy template. CLICK HERE for the Cash Flow Template.

    KPMG Webinar on Employer Liquidity: Payroll Tax Deferrals & Employee Retention Credits (Webinar on April 30) - CLICK HERE for the slide deck. (Thanks Jon Biag from Escape Factor for sending this on to us!)

    OPEDC & OPRF Chamber presentation on Comparing Emergency Small Business Loan Options (Zoom discussion on April 28) - CLICK HERE to see the slides and CLICK HERE to see the notes.

    Accessing and Troubleshooting Restaurant and 1099 Relief Programs in Cook County - (Webinar on April 22) - CLICK HERE to see the slides.

    OPRF Chamber and OPEDC Discussion of Illinois Department of Commerce Funding (Zoom discussion on April 16) - CLICK HERE to see the slide deck; CLICK HERE to see a summary of the session; CLICK HERE to see the PPP payroll calculator.

    SBA Loans Q&A Town Hall for Nonprofit and Community Organizations - (Webinar on April 15) - Still to come!

    OPRF Chamber & OPEDC Discussion of Funding Options for Small Businesses (Zoom discussion on April 10) - CLICK HERE for the slide deck. 

    Child Care Business Resources: COVID-19 - The webinar contains important updates on new federal and state resources to support operations during this COVID-19 State of Emergency (the webinar was held on April 6CLICK HERE to see the presentation and CLICK HERE to view the recording.  Also - CLICK HERE for an amazing summary of information for Emergency Child Care for Communities & Providers.

    Recorded Webinar on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Unemployment Insurance - CLICK HERE to see the recording of the webinar. Recorded April 3, 2020. See listing under April 2 for agenda summary.


    The information below is a running list of the edits and additions made in real-time during the first month of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Circumstances and information were changing so fast that we just kept adding information to the list on an hour-by-hour basis. For now, we have left this information on this page as an archive of important documents and links, many of which are still useful and relevant. 


    APRIL 14 UPDATES

    Summary of Zoom Information Session with Representative from SBA

    Re: PPP Program
    - Please CLICK HERE to see the Interim Final Rule from the SBA about the PPP program.
    - Treasury Department Fact Sheet CLICK HERE. Page 2 lists what counts as "payroll costs."
    - Are you considered "small"? Not sure if your organization is too big to apply for the PPP? Check out www.sba.gov/size to check.  
     
    Re: Lenders
    - Looking to find an eligible lender? - CLICK HERE for a great resource to find eligible lenders in your area.
    - Need to know what to say to your bank/lender? CLICK HERE for a great piece put together by the OPEDC.
     
    Re: Help with application
    You can feel free to call Cook County Commissioner (10th District) Bridget Gainer's office at (312) 603-4210. CLICK HERE to see the website. When I called they called me back within 10minutes and were willing to help any business from any area fill out their application form.

     

    NEW Covid-19 Social Services Resource Guide - CLICK HERE for the updated version of the guide.


    APRIL 10 UPDATES

    Zoom Information Session with Representative from SBA - Tuesday, April 14, 9:30am-10:30am - Please join us as we hear from Rosalyn Putman, Supervisory Business Opportunity Specialist with the SBA's Illinois District Office. CLICK HERE to register.

    Zoom Information Session with Illinois Department of Commerce - Thursday, April 16, 9:30am - 10:30am - Please join us in welcoming Joe McKeown, North East Region Senior Account Manager for DCEO's Office of Regional Economic Development. He will share information on the State of Illinois sponsored COVID-19 small business programs. CLICK HERE to register.

    Looking to find an eligible lender for your SBA loan? - CLICK HERE to find one in your area.


    APRIL 6 UPDATES

    ****UPDATE TO PPP APPLICATION*****-  This information has been sent to us from Forest Park Bank.

    Late last night [Sunday April 5] the US Treasury Department and the SBA finally released official guidance and it has cleared up most of the gray area, there are still some outstanding questions that we are still looking to get answers on. Please see the below update and plan accordingly. 

    Key pieces of information:

    ·        As of 4/3/20 SBA has changed the application form.  The new SBA Form 2483 is attached.  Please verify that your application has a revision date of 04/20 in the lower left-hand corner.  Old applications will not be accepted.  CLICK HERE for the new application.

    ·        The SBA will accept electronic signatures.

    ·        Please read the disclosures on the application thoroughly. The SBA will be relying on the information you provide to be accurate. They intend to be strict on fraudulent claims submitted. Do not apply if your company has not been directly impacted or has not determined to need the PPP in order to continue operating under current economic conditions. Again, read the application disclosures and certifications thoroughly as they address this.

    ·        Prioritize accuracy over speed of application. We are being told there is no threat of depletion of funds. Fill out the application and track down all forms the first time through. If you submit an incorrect or incomplete application, it will be denied and you will be sent to the back of the line.

    ·        Include both federal and state 2019 quarterly Form 940 and 941 (all 4 quarterly filings) – for sole proprietors who do not file Form 941, please reach out to your accountant or bookkeeper to request documentation to prove payroll information

    ·        Do not include 1099 employees in the payroll calculation. 1099 employees will have to submit their own application as independent contractors. The application window for independent contractors opens April 10th, 2020.

    ·        Provide proof or certification of the number of employees on payroll as of (or about) February 15th, 2020. The guidance did not indicate a specific form to provide. We recommend a detailed payroll printout for that pay period or a certified census of weekly payroll from that week will suffice.

    PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM (PPP) LOANS FAQ's - updated April 6, 2020 - CLICK HERE

     

    Child Care Business Resources: COVID-19 - The webinar contains important updates on new federal and state resources to support operations during this COVID-19 State of Emergency (the webinar was held on April 6) CLICK HERE to see the presentation and CLICK HERE to view the recording.  Also - CLICK HERE for an amazing summary of information for Emergency Child Care for Communities & Providers.

    Chicago Covid-19 Response Fund for Non Profits - Another potential funding option for non-profits. CLICK HERE and then scroll down to the FAQs. Click on "What if my organization wants to apply to the fund" and fill in the Google form expression of interest. If there are funds available they will contact you to apply.

    Recorded Webinar on Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Unemployment Insurance- CLICK HERE to see the recording of the webinar. See listing under April 2 for agenda summary.

    How you can benefit from the Stimulus Package - This is a great little article that tells you all about different aspects of the stimulus package in plain language. CLICK HERE.


    APRIL 2 UPDATES

    Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund - LISC will use the Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of COVID-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. CLICK HERE for more information.

    Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and Unemployment Insurance per IL COVID-19. What every employer needs to know NOW! - Free webinar on Friday April 3 at 10am. CLICK HERE to register.

    - AgendaEmergency Paid Sick Leave Act, Qualifying Reasons for Leave, Amount of Leave, Rate of Pay, Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act, Employer Prohibitions, Employee/Employer Notice Requirements, Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act, Reason for the Leave, Amount of Leave and Pay, Reinstatement Rights, Emergency Family and Medical Leave Act Expansion, Tax Credits for Paid Sick and Paid Family and Medical Leave, Non-enforcement Period, Wage and Hour Considerations, Employment Expenses, Unemployment Benefits

    Information re: Unemployment from IDES - CLICK HERE

    How Freelancers can collect paid sick leave - CLICK HERE

    Funding for Arts Organizations! - CLICK HERE for the Tribune Article.

    Coronavirus Small Business Guide - CLICK HERE - Great summary of FAQ's and easy explanations.

    Illinois Restaurant Association (IRA) Pro-bono legal network and expert guidance - CLICK HERE

    Coronavirus Rumor Control - This FEMA page is to help the public distinguish between rumors and facts regarding the response to coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. CLICK HERE


    MARCH 31 UPDATES

    Hospitality Emergency Grants Program - Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) have announced a grant to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. CLICK HERE to apply NOW. Deadline is April 1, 2020.

    Bartender Emergency AssistanceEligibility requirements include being a bartender, or the spouse or child of a bartender, and experiencing a lack of the necessities of life, including financial, physical, mental, or emotional well being as a result of emergency hardship. CLICK HERE for more information.

    Single use retail bag fee suspended in Oak Park - Effective March 31, 2020 - The suspension is consistent with the Illinois Department of Public Health’s guidance for preventing the spread of COVID-19 in grocery stores. CLICK HERE to see the order.


    MARCH 30 UPDATES

    Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act - allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. In fact, if small businesses maintain or later restore their payrolls, they may not have to repay some — or possibly any — of the loan. Here’s a guide and checklist from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to help your small business through the process. 

    IDES Taking Steps to Address Unprecedented Volume of Unemployment Claims - CLICK HERE for a great summary.

    Advice for April 1 Rent in the Wake of COVID-19 - CLICK HERE for some great advise on how to chat with your landlord.

    Grace Period extended to OP business licenses - The Village of Oak Park’s annual business license renewal process was previously started with a deadline of March 31st.   The Village are providing notice of a 90 day grace period through July 1st for those businesses who have not yet paid their annual renewal fees.   They are however continuing to process liquor license fees and have not extended a grace period for that category.

    Guidelines issued for stores that sell groceries and medicine - Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley today issued guidelines for stores that sell groceries and medicine to help ensure customers and employees are protected - CLICK HERE for more information.

    Seven Coronavirus scams targeting your business - Business Email Compromise (BEC) cases have increased since this pandemic began.  Fraudsters will take advantage of any disruption and this disruption is of a historical level.  With more clients having to work from home, communication channels are altered. Fraudsters will both step up their efforts and be more successful at altering payments. CLICK HERE for a great article about how to protect yourself.


    MARCH 26 UPDATES

    Federal Coronavirus Stimulus Package - CLICK HERE for a great summary of what this is all about. Please see the section at the top of this page for more details of the package.

    Hospitality Emergency Grants Program - Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) have announced a grant to support working capital like payroll and rent, as well as job training, retraining, and technology to support shifts in operations, like increased pick-up and delivery. CLICK HERE to apply NOW. For a little more detailed information, see Restaurant&Retail sector update on this page.

    Illinois delays tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15 - CLICK HERE for article.

    Guidelines issued by Oak Park for stores that sell groceries and medicine - CLICK HERE.


    MARCH 25 UPDATES

    Childcare for Essential Workers - How to find emergency care - not only for parents seeking care, but for providers wishing to reopen as part of that network of care. CLICK HERE.

    - Online search for essential workers seeking child care during the COVID-19 crisis - CLICK HERE or call the hotline at 888-228-1146.

    - Not sure if you are an essential worker - CLICK HERE.

    - Already providing care for essential workers - CLICK HERE to get listed in this database.

    - Want to apply to be a Provider - CLICK HERE and scroll half way down the page.

    Navigating the Financial Impact on Non-Profits - Watch a presentation from Forefront on how nonprofits can navigate the loss of income due to COVID-19 - CLICK HERE.

    IRS tax payments deferred to July 15, 2020 - CLICK HERE for information.


    MARCH 24 UPDATES

    Social Services Resource Guide - In collaboration with the Village of Oak Park, the Community Mental Health Board and Oak Park and River Forest Townships have taken the lead to provide community resources due to the recent escalation of outbreaks of the COVID- 19 virus.CLICK HERE to see the document. This links to a live document that is being updated daily.

    SBA On-line Training for Small Businesses Impacted By Coronavirus - The Illinois District Office will host free webinars as long as there is demand covering topics like eligibility, terms, filing requirements Tuesday, March 24,  11 a.m. CTTuesday, March 24,  3 p.m. CTWednesday, March 25, 11 a.m. CT,  Thursday, March 26, 11 a.m. CTThursday, March 26, 3 p.m. CT.

    Illinois State Treasurer's Office - Small Business Covdi-19 Small Business Relief Program - IL State Treasurer's Office is launching in partnership with Illinois financial institutions to assist small businesses and non-profits impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. CLICK HERE for more information. At this time it seems that they are accepting applications from financial institutions who would be interested in administering loans. 

    - The information does state the following: "Eligible Illinois businesses or non-profits must (1) have been shut down or limited due to COVID-19; (2) have less than $1 million in liquid assets or $8 million average annual receipts (per SBA standards); and (3) be headquartered in the State of Illinois or agree to use the funds in Illinois."

    Covid-19 Restaurant Support - Great tips and resources! CLICK HERE


    MARCH 23 UPDATES

    Illinois Department of Commerce FAQ's - The Villages of River Forest and Oak Park are now deferring to the State order with regard to essential businesses.  If a business has a question about whether or not they are essential please CLICK HERE to see the FAQ's.

    If you are a River Forest business and you have further questions, please reach out to Jon Pape, Assistant to the Village Administrator at jpape@vrf.us

    If you are an Oak Park business and you have further questions, please reach out to Tammie Grossman, Director of Development Customer Service at tgrossman@oak-park.us

     

    Five Ways to Calm Fears Among Your Employees - This is a great summary from the US Chamber with some valuable tips - CLICK HERE


    MARCH 22 UPDATES

    OPEDC launches centralized website that lists restaurants & retailers who are open for business  This is an open-source list of restaurants and retailers in Oak Park that are open and how to order from them - CLICK HERE to go directly to the list and to submit your business information.

    Oak Park Village Manager Status Report Update - MARCH 20, 2020 - CLICK HERE

    River Forest President E-news Update - MARCH 20, 2020 - CLICK HERE

    Village of Oak Park Emergency Notification System - If you would like to sign up for emails/texts/voice messaging from the emergency notification system for Oak park, CLICK HERE. The community notification system is independent of the Village’s website and social media platforms and will only be used for emergency purposes


    MARCH 21 UPDATES

    The Village of Oak Park will defer to the state now that the Governor has issued a stay-at-home order - CLICK HERE to see update from the Village of Oak Park. CLICK HERE to see more targeted FAQ's.

    Illinois State FAQ's for Businesses under new state order - CLICK HERE for some great information.

    Illinois State FAQ's for Unemployment and eligibility - CLICK HERE for info.

    The Better Lake Street field office at 971 Lake Street is closed to the public until further notice due to COVID-19 - You can still contact them at 708-628-8075 or betterlakestreet.com/contact. or by going to betterlakestreet.com and sign up for their weekly newsletter.


    MARCH 20 UPDATES

    Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker today issued a “stay at home” order for the entire state starting Saturday (March 21) at 5 p.m. through April 7 - CLICK HERE to see more information.

    Treasury Department extends tax filing day from April 15 to July 15 - CLICK HERE for Forbes summary. CLICK HERE to go directly to the IRS web site.

    Cook County launches a text message alert system and phone hotline in response to Coronavirus crisis. CLICK HERE for more information.

    Cook County now eligible for Disaster Relief Loans - thanks OPEDC for keeping us up to date on all of this info! CLICK HERE for their summary.

    The Cook County Assessor's Office announced today the temporary suspension of assessment notice mailings and appeal deadlines. CLICK HERE for details.

    Oak Park Shelter-in-Place order in effect through April 3 - CLICK HERE for further clarifications from the Village of Oak Park on what this means for residents and businesses. 

    Sales tax relief for bars and restaurants Gov. Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year. CLICK HERE for more information.


    MARCH 19 UPDATES

    On March 18, the Village of Oak Park issued a Shelter In Place Order. CLICK HERE to see the order. Clarifications from the Village about the Order can be found HERE.

    If you have any questions about the Order, and if it applies to you or how your business will be impacted, please do not hesitate to contact Tammie Grossman directly at tgrossman@oak-park.us. She and her team are monitoring emails diligently and she will respond at her earliest convenience. Please put "Question re: Shelter in Place Order" in the subject line. 

      

    Illinois Disaster Loan Assistance approved - The fine folks at the OPEDC have notified us that it looks like Cook Co has been approved for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.  We will keep an eye out for further announcements from the state. Here is the link that was sent through - https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations

     

    Governor Pritzker's news conference yesterday afternoon encouraged all business owners to go to coronavirus.illinois.gov for up-to-date information. Good summary of Economic Assistance for Businesses HERE, although it all seems to be "in progress."


    MARCH 18 UPDATES

    Governor Pritzker's news conference in the afternoon encouraged all business owners to go to coronavirus.illinois.gov for up to date information. Good summary of Economic Assistance for Businesses HERE, although it all seems to be "in progress"

    Apply for Unemployment Insurance if you are without access to paid sick leave or unable to work because of Covid19 - Call IDES at 1-800-224-5631 or visit www2.illinois.gov/ides 

    Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Covid19 Hotline - Get your questions answered 24/7 - 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV

    Report Covid19 Price Gouging - The Office of the Illinois Attorney General is taking action against reports of price gouging - CLICK HERE to report any cases.


    IF YOU ONLY DO ONE THING TODAY TO HELP YOUR BUSINESS - DO THIS NOW!

    MARCH 16, 2020

    The Chamber has been working closely with the OPEDC to fully understand resources available for our businesses. The U.S. Small Business Association (SBA) has received authorization to provide small business assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program.  Unfortunately, Illinois has not yet received a declaration of need, and therefore the EIDL program is not yet available to Illinois businesses and nonprofits.

    The State of Illinois is requesting help in identifying businesses that are experiencing substantial economic injury. By encouraging businesses to self-identify as economically affected, we can help ensure that Cook County and Oak Park will be included in the disaster declaration. CLICK HERE to tell them how this crisis has impacted your business.


    IMMEDIATE RESOURCES FOR BUSINESSES RE: COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

    There are important resources that have been gathered together from both Villages and we encourage all businesses to check back to these pages regularly for updates:
    Specifically, please reference the Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employees which has been issued for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

    The Illinois Department of Public Health has set-up a 24 hour COVID-19 hotline, for more information contact 1-800-889-3931, email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

    The Village of Oak Park also has an alert system to notify residents or businesses when emergency situations occur. To sign up, just go to www.oak-park.us/notifyme, click on the green Sign Up for Alerts button and follow the instructions. Anyone who would like to sign up, but lacks access to a computer can call 708.358.5489 to be added to the voice message alert list. The Village distributes messages only when deemed important, such as alerts about severe weather, snow emergency parking and mosquito spraying. For more information, email prepare@oak-park.us.


    IMMEDIATE FINANCIAL AND BUSINESS SUPPORT RESOURCES

    - The US Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide small businesses impacted by Coronavirus (COVID-19) up to $2 Million in disaster assistance loans - CLICK HERE to read more.
     

    - Our partners at the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC) have some fabulous tips when working with your bank or lender in these hard times. The bottom line: go speak to someone as soon as possible to look at how to be strategic with your options. CLICK HERE to see the blog.

     

    - This is a great summary article about possible federal assistance for businesses regarding paid sick leave and payroll tax cuts in light of the impact from the Coronavirus - CLICK HERE. HR6201 Family First Coronavirus Response Act is the Act relating specifically to paid sick leave. It's confusing and we are still trying to get a good handle on what this info means and how to get access to it. Fingers crossed, some of this aid will come through!


    IMMEDIATE UPDATES ABOUT THE CHAMBER

    To fall in line with everything that is happening, we have had to close the Chamber office on OP Ave starting Monday March 16, 2020. We are still infinitely contactable via email, text and phone. Our main office number (708-613-7550) has been experiencing high call volumes so if you call you may need to leave a voice mail. If there is a time-sensitive matter, please contact us at businessmgr@oprfchamber.org. This email will be monitored closely by our Office Managers through the day.

     

    The Chamber Board president Dr. Mary Ann Bender and Liz Holt (Chamber Executive Director) met with Village of Oak Park Trustees Deno Andrews and Simone Boutet on Monday March 16, 2020 to discuss the impact of recent events on local businesses. The Trustees wanted to fully understand the impact on all business sectors. They are communicating directly with the Mayor with information from the Chamber.
     
    The Chamber Executive Committee is communicating regularly about how to manage the changing landscape of doing business in OP and RF. The Executive Committee is on Thursday, March 19, 2020 to draft a plan for communicating regularly with members and for collecting and distributing information to our members.
     
    The Chamber Board of Directors is preparing industry sector summaries to inform our members of resources (local and state) pertaining to specific areas of business. We anticipate having this information on-line by the end of this week.

    CHAMBER PROGRAMMING

    In light of recent developments regarding the COVID-19 virus, we have had to make the following changes to our regular programming effective March 13, 2020:

    Business After Hours (BAH) - The April BAH has been canceled, and the OP Arms and Generation Law have agreed to host a BAH in November of this year. At this time we have not formally canceled the May BAH, but we will be monitoring recommendations from local authorities.
     
    Affinity Group Gatherings - Effective March 13, 2020, we will cancel all affinity group meetings for the remainder of March and all of April. Look to hear from Mark Walden as we look to May and getting our schedule back on track!
     

    - Open Office Hours - The fantabulous Mark Walden however, has agreed to carry out our Open Office Hours via Face Time or any other socially distant media of your choice. Please email Mark directly (mwalden@oprfchamber.org)  to set up a time that works for you (and him!).

     


    CHAMBER SPECIAL EVENTS
    The Chamber's Executive Committee and staff, in consultation with the Health&Wellness Fair organizing committee, have made the difficult decision to postpone the Health&Wellness Fairoriginally scheduled for April 26, 2020.
    We have been working closely with our fantastic venue partners, FFC Oak Park, to set a new date for the event which will be Sunday, September 13, 2020.
    We have also decided to postpone the Boost Your Business networking event that was originally scheduled for March 31, 2020. We are working closely with Riveredge Hospital to set a new date for this event.
     

    CHAMBER RESOURCES FOR YOU TO USE NOW!

    Marketing Your Business - Now is the perfect time to revisit all of the amazing benefits that your Chamber membership offers you, in particular for marketing yourself and your business! CLICK HERE for a great summary of all the things you could be doing NOW!

    E-blasts - These marketing gems are the perfect way to tell the world that you are still open for business! CLICK HERE to see how to put one together.

    Member Profile Page - Having your business information linked onto our Chamber web site gives you a HUGE boost in the world of Google Search Engine Optimization (SEO) so take some self-isolation time and get your profile looking it's best. Need some help with this? CLICK HERE to see some tips on how to get started. 


    OTHER RESOURCES

    Crain's Chicago Business has, as a public service, made the important decision to lift the paywall on their daily digital coverage of COVID-19, and will continue to allow free access for the foreseeable future. You can CLICK HERE to sign up for the newsletter.

     


    STAY LOCAL AND SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES NOW!

    Oak Park and River Forest are communities who pride themselves on taking care of others, and now is the time that we all need to extend this sentiment to our local business community. Many of our local business have felt the pain of a downturn in sales or slowing of clients through the door. Now more than ever we need to be mindful of Staying Local for all of your shopping and service needs and continuing to show our LOVE to all of our local businesses.
    Many businesses are now offering concierge curb-side pick-up, extended shopping hours on request, home delivery and staggered appointment times to limit the number of people in shared waiting rooms. They are being creative, innovative and flexible to help our community continue with their regular routines as much as possible. Please show them the LOVE right back by:
    - prioritizing Staying Local for all your shopping and service needs. 
    - working directly with your local providers to find a way to work with your new challenges and keep to your regular routines. 
    - getting everyone you know (school-aged kids who are suddenly at home!) to do some Community Service hours and get on-line and show our small businesses some social media LOVE
    PPP Forgiveness
    For those who received PPP funding, it is imperative that you report how you spent your money correctly so that you can maximize the forgivable portion. Here are two great upcoming seminars that can give you a helping hand with this!
    Women's Business development Center - Wednesday June 18, 10am - CLICK HERE to sign on to the presentation.
    West Suburban Chamber of Commerce and Industry (WSCCI) - Tuesday, June 23, 2pm - CLICK HERE to register.

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