In a recent City Council meeting, aldermen passed legislation expanding regulatory relief for businesses that continue to be impacted by COVID-19.
This ordinance extends a number of measures that were implemented in 2020:
- Extension of License Expiration Dates: All licenses that expire between March 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021 will be considered active until July 15, 2021 and those businesses can operate during that time without renewing their license.
- Extension of Sidewalk Café Permit Expiration Dates and Reforms: All current Sidewalk Café Permits will be considered active through May 31, 2021. Additionally, all Sidewalk Café Permits issued for the 2021 season will benefit from the temporary reforms implemented earlier this year, which include:
- 75 percent reduction in the permit fee
- The ability to extend the Sidewalk Cafe in front of neighboring property
- An expedited permit issuance process
- Extension of Expanded Outdoor Dining Program: The Expanded Outdoor Dining (EOD) Program, through which bars and restaurants can operate outside on private property or closed streets, has been extended to last through the end of 2021. Businesses that are interested in extending their EOD permit past the end of 2020 must submit a request including the DOT number of their Permit and submit insurance covering the extended dates to SEPermits@cityofchicago.org
In addition to the introduction of the regulatory relief package, City Council passed an emergency measure to cap the fees that third party-delivery companies can charge restaurants for their service. Under this legislation, fees that third-party delivery companies can charge for their delivery services will be capped at 10 percent of the purchasing price, and total fees charged to participating restaurants, which include the delivery fees, will be capped at 15 percent. This ordinance will be in effect until indoor dining is allowed in Chicago at 40% capacity for 60 days.
Protecting Immigrant and Refugee Communities:
- Mayor Lightfoot signed an executive order explicitly ensuring that all benefits, opportunities, and services provided or administered by the City of Chicago are accessible to all residents, regardless of birth country or current citizenship status.
Federal Relief Efforts
Congress passed legislation in December 2020 that provides critical funding and relief as well as extending several provisions of the CARES Act, which is outlined below.
- $325B for small businesses, including:
- $15 billion in dedicated funding for live venues, independent movie theaters, and cultural institutions.
- $284 billion for first and second forgivable PPP loans, dedicated set-asides for very small businesses and lending through community-based lenders, expanded PPP eligibility for 501(c)(6) nonprofits
- $20 billion is included for new EIDL Grants for businesses in low-income communities$2B for airports and concessionaires
- $45B for transportation:
- $14B for transit.
- $10B for state highways
- $25B for rental assistance via “first-ever emergency federal rental assistance program to be distributed by state and local government”
- Includes an extension of the existing CDC eviction moratorium through January 31, 2021.
Part of this omnibus statute, known as the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021 (the 2021 Consolidated Appropriations Act), reauthorizes and modifies the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan program (EIDL), as enacted under the CARES ACT.
- The Act revives the PPP by appropriating $284.45 billion to the program, which is a significant portion of the $325 billion allocated specifically for small business aid in the legislation.
- The new application deadline to apply for the PPP is March 31, 2021, and the SBA is required to issue regulations to carry out the new provisions of the revitalized program no later than January 6, 2021.
Under the CARES Act, your business may be eligible for aid from the federal government.
Review your eligibility with resources from the U.S. Travel Association, including a guide to the Paycheck Protection Program Increase Act of 2020.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loan – The program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. Borrowers can request an emergency advance of $10,000 within 3 days of submitting the application and do not have to repay the advance if they are denied a loan. Reference Guide >>
- Subsidy for Current Loan Payments – The SBA will cover up to 6 months of principal and interest payments that are owed on most existing SBA loans. Learn More>>
- Aid to Midsize Businesses and Nonprofits – $454 billion will be available from the U.S. Treasury to provide financial assistance through loan programs established by the Federal Reserve. As part of that, a special fund is dedicated to midsize businesses and nonprofits with 500-10,000 employees to provide financing to banks and other lenders to make direct loans to these entities. The interest rate on those loans would be capped at 2%, with no payments due for the first six months. These loans cannot be forgiven.
Significant restrictions will be placed on the midsize business and nonprofit assistance, such as prohibiting paying out dividends while the loan is outstanding. More guidance will be forthcoming from the U.S. Treasury on additional criteria and funding access.
Read more about economic assistance and financial relief in a Resource Guide for Local Business Owners and Leaders from Congresswoman Robin Kelly.
The United States Chamber of Commerce announced the Save Small Business Fund.
This grant-making initiative issues $5,000 grants to small businesses who:
- Employ between 3 and 20 people
- Are located in an economically vulnerable community
- Have been harmed financially by the COVID-19 pandemic
Eligibility is based on ZIP Code and you can check your eligibility on the Save Small Business website. Applications will go live on Monday, April 20, and you can sign up to be notified when they're ready.
How you can help:
Medical Assistants and Nurses are encouraged to apply for temporary positions.
- If you have any questions about the positions or the application process, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 813-261-2706.
Governor Pritzker has launched a website to update the public on the state's evolving response to COVID-19 and how you can help:
- Governor Pritzker is directing healthy citizens to a state website to match their skills with organizations that work with the homeless or seniors, or deliver meals.
- Governor Pritzker started the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to support nonprofits and other groups that work with "those hit hardest by COVID-19," providing emergency food and basic supplies, interim housing, health care services, assisting with utility costs and supporting children and families. To date, the fund has distributed more than $5.5 million to 30 nonprofit organizations across the state. Donate now >>
- Governor Pritzker outlined supply concerns across the state. He said ventilators, masks, hospital gowns, hand sanitizer and other supplies are badly needed. Have items to donate? Email PPE.email@example.com.
- This includes suggested messaging and graphics.
- Review Essential Businesses & Operations Frequently Asked Questions from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
The City of Chicago launched 'Chi COVID Coach,' a mobile-friendly, web-based application to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
This forward-thinking app will allow the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) to communicate directly with Chicago residents who may be COVID-19 positive or experiencing symptoms, providing them important information and guidance.
We salute our district's first responders.