Resources for Business

Due to the mounting information regarding the coronavirus (COVID-19), we have created this page to serve as a resource for business concerns related with the outbreak. These are links to resources and agencies that can provide you with the best up-to-date information. We will keep this page current with new information and links as they become available.
Links and information on this page will focus on public information, resources and services and not posting individual business information and closures. Situations are changing rapidly. Check this page often, call ahead or check online before planning visits for any services or locations you plan to visit.


** Today’s New Links **
COVID-19: Help for businesses, workers and residents
New website from Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

What is an Essential Business/Service?
Illinois State Business FAQ’s
Webinar on “Preparing for What Comes Next”
US Dept of Labor, IRS & Treasury announce Tax Deadline Extension and Paid Leave
USDA Rural Development Opportunities for Immediate Relief



FEDERAL ASSISTANCE offered via the following programs:
Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act
The Programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act that was just passed by Congress are intended to assist business owner with whatever needs they have right now.  When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers.  
For assistance on the CARES Act, contact the local SBA District Office here

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Assistance declaration issued by the SBA makes loans available statewide to small businesses and private, non-profit organizations to help alleviate economic injury caused by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). This will apply to current and future disaster assistance declarations related to Coronavirus.

Emergency Economic Injury Disaster Loan Grant – To access the advance, you first apply for EIDL and then request the advance
These grants provide an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profit harmed by COVID-19 within three days of applying for an SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL).  To access the advance, you first apply for EIDL and then request the advance.  The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstances, and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including depts, rents and mortgage payments. 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Program
Provides cash-flow through 100 percent federally guaranteed loans to employers who maintain their payroll during this emergency.   

  • Loan can only be used for expenses occurred during the following time period February 15th , 2020 – June 30th, 2020  
  • These loans can be applied for at local lending institutions approved to participate in the program through the existing SBA 7(a) lending program.  List of approved institutions can be found here. 

Small Business Debt Relief Program 
Will provide immediate debt relief for existing SBA Borrowers: SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months; this relief will also be available to new borrowers who take out an SBA loan within six months after the president signs the bill. Helpful links related to Debt Relief Program, SBA website

SBA Express Bridge Loans 
Allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loans or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan. 

  • Terms
    • Up to $25,000 
    • Fast turnaround 
    • Will be repaid in full or in part by proceeds from the EIDL loan 
  • Find an Express Bridge Loan Lender by connecting with your local SBA District Office. 


Stephenson Co Health Dept guidance on employees returning to work
City of Freeport Ordinances Passed for Relief
Child Care Needs for Essential Services Survey




Illinois Emergency Loan Program – Business in Stephenson County of less than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply for a low interest loan. Loans will be made for up to of up to $50,000 with a five-year repayment period and no payment for the first six months. Interested businesses can submit their Expression of Interest and will be contacted by lenders beginning on April 1. 

Kiva Loan Assistance



Unemployment Benefits – Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)

For Employee: 

“ Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.” 

Other Helpful Links: 

For Employer:

IDES Resource for Employers.   

Paid Leave – Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) 

FFCRA will help the United States combat and defeat COVID-19 by giving all American businesses with fewer than 500 employees funds to provide employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will ensure that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus while at the same time reimbursing businesses. 

IRS: Coronavirus Tax Relief:  The IRS has established a special section focused on steps to help taxpayers, businesses and others affected by the coronavirus. This page will be updated frequently as new information is available: 



Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
This GRANT (not a loan) is open to bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and generate less than $1 million in sales in 2019, or to hotels with a valid license who generate revenues of less than $8 million in sales in 2019. Businesses need to apply by April 1 at 5 pm using this application. Recipients will be chosen via a lottery and will be notified on April 4. 
Sales Tax Deferrals



OSHA Guidelines
COVIID-19 Task Force Work Instructions
Facility Visitation Form
Illinois Manufacturing Helpline
IMEC Coronavirus Updates
Illinois Manufacturers Assoc. Resources & Information
Pritzker Announces Partnerships with Manufacturers



Responding to Coronavirus: Resources for Non-profits
Crisis Communications for Your Board
What to do if your fundraiser is cancelled due to coronavirus
Non-profit Emergency Plans
TechSoup offers Software Discounts to non-profits



10 Tips for Staying Productive Working from Home
Tools Available for Remote Work Plans
Emergency Remote Work Plan policy ideas – Harvard Business Review
Crisis Management Plans – Harvard Business Review
Leadership in Times of Crisis
Interim Guidance for Businesses & Employers from CDC
Guidance for Employers from US Chamber of Commerce
Main Street Coronavirus Resources


Deadline Extensions
IL Dept of Prof Regulation extending renewals
IL Dept of Financial and Professional Regulation announces several actions to increase the health care professional workforce during COVID-19 Pandemic
USDA Rural Development Opportunities for Immediate Relief


  • UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE: Individuals without access to paid sick leave or unable to work due to COVID-19 can apply for unemployment insurance under the administration’s expansion. The governor’s executive order waives the 7-day waiting period for residents to apply for unemployment benefits, meaning anyone who qualifies can file and become immediately eligible instead of experiencing a week-long lag during this challenging time. Gov. Pritzker is working with the federal delegation and congressional leadership to push the Trump administration to allow the state to increase the length of benefits beyond 26 weeks as this crisis continues to provide significant fiscal challenges for Illinois families.
  • UTILITY RELIEF: Gov. Pritzker and Attorney General Raoul have urged the Illinois Commerce Commission to immediately institute a moratorium on shutoffs for all utility companies across Illinois – including energy, telecommunications and water – until the state disaster proclamation has been lifted. The administration is also requesting changes to payment and collection policies to ensure Illinoisans aren’t saddled with utility debt as a result of COVID-19. Several have announced plans to maintain services and waive late payment fees.
  • FOOD ACCESS: The Pritzker administration is working directly with the eight major food banks across Illinois to expand services. The administration is reaching out to food manufacturers to ensure food banks are prioritized and can provide our vulnerable residents the food they need. ISBE obtained a waiver from the federal government to continue distributing meals to all children who qualify for free and reduced lunch. The Governor is also encouraging schools to expand their meal distribution program to all children under 18 or to any student enrolled in an Illinois school, regardless of their age.
  • MEDICAID WAIVER: The administration is in the process of filing a federal waiver to expand Medicaid coverage, beginning work on the waiver application as soon as the federal government declared a national emergency and activated the Stafford Act. If the federal waiver is approved, the state will be able to expand Medicaid services through the addition of new medical providers, increased access across the state and ramped up services to many of the state’s most vulnerable populations.


Social distancing is the paramount strategy for minimizing the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. The Governor continues to make tough calls to keep Illinoisans safe, including mandating that events of 50 people or more be canceled, suspending dine-in operations of bars and restaurants and temporarily closing public and private K-12 schools. Public health officials continue to urge Illinoisans to stay home as much as possible.

Those experiencing symptoms should call a health care provider who will help arrange medical treatment without putting others at risk of exposure.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 1-800-889-3931 or visit