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 Information **

Rural Relief Small Business Grants Program opens today!

As part of our continuing commitment to elevate our impact in rural America, OneLISC is inviting small business owners in rural locations across the country to apply for the LISC-Lowe’s Rural Relief Small Business Grants program.
To find out more about who is eligible, to sign up for updates, and to apply, please visit the LISC website.

Rural LISC is grateful for Lowe’s generous support for rural small businesses. We are committed to the integrity of the grant application process and to the security of applicants’ information. A couple of things to keep in mind:
• Valid grant applications are only accepted through the links posted on
• We will never request copies of personal documentation such as driver’s licenses, passports, and/or green cards.
• The application is easy to fill out, requiring basic business information – professional grant writing assistance will not increase the chances of selection.

State Public Health Officials Announce Additional COVID-19 Resurgence Mitigations to Take Effect in Region 1 on October 25

Region 1 Advances to Tier 2 Mitigations as Region Reports 11.9 Percent Rolling Positivity Rate; State Surpasses 7 Million Tests, Now Averaging 70,000 Tests Per Day

ROCKFORD – Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) are announcing additional COVID-19 mitigation efforts that will be implemented in Region 1, Northwestern Illinois, beginning at 12:01 a.m. on Sunday, October 25, 2020. After mitigation efforts initially took effect in Region 1 on October 3, the positivity rate has remained the highest in the state, with the region reporting an 11.9 percent rolling positivity rate today, October 22.

Region 1 has been under Tier 1 of the state’s resurgence mitigation plan since October 3, after seeing a 7-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days. Beginning October 25, Northwestern Illinois will face additional mitigations, such as a tighter gathering cap of 10 individuals rather than 25 and new table caps of six rather than 10 when eating out. Region 1 includes Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

“We’ve said all along that if things don’t start to turn around after two weeks in Tier 1, we can add more stringent measures to help usher in the progress we need to see to get things more open again,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “That is now the case in Region 1, which has seen its positivity rise by nearly two points since October 14 alone. Region 1, bordering Wisconsin and Iowa, carries the additional responsibility of navigating a situation where the massive surge of cases in our neighboring states will continue to have a spillover effect. There is no easy fix. So as colder weather comes upon us – and brings flu season along with it – it’s imperative that we take extra caution and extra care. Because at the end of the day, this is bigger than you. This is about all of us, and the communities we call home. We have to take care of each other.”

“We know that people and communities need to work together to lower viral spread and reduce the number of new cases being diagnosed,” said IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike. “I urge people in Region 1 to look at their activities and what they can do to reduce spread.  Consider postponing having people over to your home for a celebration, make sure you are distancing from other people, and wear your mask anytime you’re around others.” 

For Region 1, additional mitigation measures taking effect October 25 include the following:

Bars and Restaurants

• Reduce party size from 10 to six individuals

Meetings, Social Events and Gatherings

• Maximum indoor/outdoor gathering size of 10 individuals

o Applicable to professional, religious, cultural and social group gatherings
o Not applicable to students participating in-person classroom learning
o This does not reduce the overall facility capacity dictated by general business guidance, such as office, retail, etc.
o Not applicable to sports, see sports guidance

Indoor recreation

• Maintain lesser of 25 people/25 percent of capacity
• No groups more than 10 individuals
• Does not apply to fitness

These mitigations do not apply to schools or polling places.

In response to the rising test positivity rate across the state, the administration continues to strengthen its nation-leading testing operation. Illinois is now averaging over 70,000 tests per day and today the administration reported surpassing 7 million total tests. Testing is readily available throughout the state, as it remains a critical step to reduce the spread of the virus, given that a positive test result begins the contact tracing process to prevent further spread in Illinois’ communities. To find the nearest testing center, please visit DPH.Illinois.Gov/Testing.

In the coming days, IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 1 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigation should remain in place.

IDPH has been working closely with local health departments in Region 1 to provide education to the public and offer information to businesses and organizations on safe ways to reopen.  The administration has also provided guidance to retail stores, restaurants, offices, and businesses, as well as guidelines for outdoor events, sports, and recreation.  The significance of face coverings, social distancing, and hand washing have been continuously emphasized by the administration throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
On Monday, October 19, the administration announced Tier 1 COVID-19 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 5, in Southern Illinois, beginning today, October 22. On Tuesday, the administration announced Tier 1 resurgence mitigations will be implemented in Region 7 (Will and Kankakee counties) and Region 8 (Kane and DuPage counties), beginning tomorrow, October 23. These regions are seeing a 7-day rolling positivity rate of 8 percent or above for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures under the state’s Restore Illinois Plan. Currently, four of the 11 public health regions have now triggered the state’s failsafe state-action metric.

A full list of mitigation measures pertaining to some businesses and industries may be found on the DCEO website here.

The Hartbeat of Main Street Grant Program

We are pleased to announce that the second round of the HartBeat of Main Street Grant Program is open for applications!. In partnership with The Hartford, the program will continue to fund solutions that help small business owners respond and adapt to the COVID-19 pandemic, and also help to revitalize and strengthen older and historic downtown commercial districts.  

A link to the application will be posted on our program webpage as soon as the application opens. In the meantime, you can review a PDF version of the application here.  

A few important things to note:

  • Applications must be submitted by Thursday, Oct. 29 at 4:59pm PT
  • All Round 1 grant applicants have been notified about the status of their submissions, and grant recipients will be publicly announced on Oct. 21.
  • Please review our program website and FAQ before completing an application.

BIG Grant Information

From DCEO: “A $220 million second round [of BIG focuses] on businesses downstate, in disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs), and for heavily impacted industry and regions – representing businesses that have been unable to reopen or [whose operating capacity has been severely diminished since spring].”

  • Heavily Impacted Industries: includes movie theaters, performing arts venues, concert venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, etc.
  • Disproportionately Impacted Areas: businesses near Davis Junction, Freeport, and Mount Morris may be eligible
  • Downstate Communities: in general, businesses in Illinois rural communities
  • Priority Businesses: businesses directly impacted by regional mitigations implemented by the state or local governments and independently owned retail, tourism, and hospitality-related industries (including accommodations)
  • Agriculture: livestock production
  • Grants & Loan Forgiveness for Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Recipients

Details here. Apply here.

Illinois Department of Labor Launches Back to Business Illinois

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Labor (IDOL) today announced the launch of Back to Business Illinois, a free, voluntary service to connect small businesses of 250 employees or fewer with consultants who will help them evaluate and address workplace safety and health issues related to COVID-19. The consultants will create a plan for small businesses that promotes a safe, healthy and productive environment for workers and customers.

Back to Business Illinois health and safety consultants in IDOL’s Workplace Safety and Health Consultation Division will help local small businesses audit their physical operation, identify best practices and find ways to implement them efficiently.

“While this pandemic has affected Illinois’ small businesses in unexpected ways, IDOL remains committed to promoting health and safety during every step of recovery. We are excited to offer this new program in support of our small business owners’ efforts to keep workers and customers safe as these businesses continue to operate,” said IDOL Director Michael Kleinik.

Since every industry presents unique work environment challenges, each consultant will be paired with applicants based on their expertise and specific needs to customize the best plan for their business.

The Illinois Department of Labor will also be offering a free, voluntary “Back to Business” certification designed to show workers and customers that the small business has participated in the program.

Businesses can voluntarily complete a series of online modules and then institute the necessary practices to promote a safe work environment. The online guidance and education program will emphasize areas including basic infection prevention, physical space modification, infectious disease planning, employee monitoring and workplace flexibility.

This is a non-punitive program, and no fines or citations are associated with it. It is designed entirely as a benefit to empower Illinois small businesses to continue operating safely.

For more information on the Back to Business Illinois program, visit the official website at:

Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity

COVID-19: Help for businesses, workers and residentsNew website from Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

Overview of Phase 4 Guidance Released by DCEO – June 22, 2020
For reopening guidance for your business or industry, check out our Recovery & Reopening page.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

This program will offer small businesses with at least one employee (not including the owner) and up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 for 60 days of working capital.  Grant applicants should use the most current Guidebook for this program (4/14/20 version) as well as streamlined the GATA budget form for this program.  Both documents can be found on our website hereA recording of the webinar from April 3, 2020 is available on our website.  You can link to the webinar recording here.  If you have questions about this program, do not hesitate to the Office of Community Development grant manager for your county.  Their contact information may be found here.  Applications that have been submitted are under review and we will continue to make announcements.

Applicants must apply through their local government.


SBA Disaster Loan Information

Webinars from SBA
General overview of all SBA Programs
Information for sole proprietors and independent contractors

FEDERAL ASSISTANCE offered via the following programs:
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)

All Illinois small businesses can again apply for the EIDL.  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.   While the EIDL Advance is no longer available, businesses can still apply for the EIDL loan.

  • 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.
  • EIDL applications that have already been submitted continue to be processed.
  • FAQ for Economic Injury Disaster Loan 
  • Webinar Schedule for Disaster Loan Assistance 

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loan Program Update
JUNE 19, 2020 – Procedural Notice for Lenders – The purpose of this Notice is to provide guidance for when Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan proceeds must be used to refinance U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL) and to inform PPP Lenders of the procedure for remitting to the SBA any PPP loan proceeds designated for the refinance of an EIDL.

  • Partnership Webinar: PPP Part 2 :Loan Forgiveness Application, Jenny Blocker, Benning Group – June 4, 2020

Meeting Recording Here
Password: 5g+G6!75

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. 

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 

Partnership Webinar Series

Partnership Panel – COVID-19 Webinar Series

July 15, 2020
Topic:  – New Laws for Business & Sexual Harassment Requirements – Sen. Brian Stewart and Beth Maskell
Meeting Recording Here
Webinar Slides
Sexual Harassment Training by Furst Staffing, click here
Sexual Harassment Training by Hughes Resources contact Carolyn Mitchell, Director of Sales and Marketing, for additional details. or call 815-232-2000

July 1, 2020
Topic:  – BIG Grants and Phase 4 – DCEO Manager Agnus Malnick
Meeting Recording Here

June 19, 2020
Topic:  – Freeport Clean Hands, Open Doors with Nicole Haas, Greater Freeport Partnership
Meeting Recording Here
Password: 4J*%k14i 

June 12, 2020
Topic:  – Growing in Tough Times: Thinking like a Startup, Richard Lamm, Lucas Group CPAs  
Meeting Recording Here
Password: 4S%4946u 

June 4, 2020
Topic:  – PPP Part 2 :Loan Forgiveness Application, Jenny Blocker, Benning Group – June 4, 2020
Meeting Recording Here
Password: 5g+G6!75

May 20, 2020
Topic:  – Reopening & Recovery, SBDC 
Meeting Recording here
Password: 4Y@4R*am 

May 15, 2020
Topic:  – Meet Mark Williams, Executive Director 
Meeting Recording here
Password: 092481

May 7, 2020
Topic:  – Business Survival Coaching: Using Downtime as Growtime
Meeting Recording Here
Password: ab010834!

May 1, 2020
Topic: Unemployment Benefits 
Meeting Recording Here
Password: 4V%5^04$

April 25, 2020
Topic: Paycheck Protection Program & Employee Retention Tax Credit
Meeting Recording Here
Password: 1k?2h573

April 13, 2020
Topic: COVID-19 – City / County Update 
Meeting Recording Here
Access Password: N5.f98?5



USDA Rural Development Opportunities for Immediate Relief

Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund

The Office of Minority of Economic Empowerment was recently informed of the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund which is in partnership between Verizon and Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC). They are offering grants up to $10,000 to support small businesses. For full information regarding the grant, click here. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Development Response

USDA and its Federal partners have programs that can be used to provide immediate and long-term assistance to rural communities affected by the COVID-19 outbreak.  These programs can support efforts for rural residents, businesses and communities through:

  • Technical, training, and management assistance;
  • Financial assistance; and
  • State and local assistance


Kiva Loan Assistance
In partnership with Verizon, the digital fundraising and advocacy platform Hello Alice is offering emergency grants of up to $10,000 for companies impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

GoFundMe has partnered with Intuit QuickBooks, Yelp, GoDaddy, and to give small businesses a $500 grant if they raise at least $500 on GoFundMe.

Beauty Changes lives is offering $1,000 grants for licensed beauty professionals who are out of work due to the coronavirus.

Spanx and The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation, administered by Global Giving, are providing 1,000 grants of $5,000 to women-owned small businesses affected by COVID-19 in monthly rounds. The application will open again From September 8-15.

Lurn: The company’s COVID-19 Relief Fund will help entrepreneurs and small business owners by providing emergency grants ranging from $50 to $500 to help with necessities such as groceries, medicine, transportation, etc.  To date, it has raised over $50,000 and dispersed roughly $32,000 in emergency relief grants to individuals.

Mailchimp$10 million worth of service will be offered for existing customers who want to continue using Mailchimp’s platform but need some financial support during this period. As an additional response to the crisis, Mailchimp will invest up to $100M to help drive new and ongoing business for our small-business customers through price discounts, product upgrades, add-ons and more.

Wefunder: The company’s Coronavirus Crisis Loans program enabling small businesses to crowdfund loans of $20,000 to $1 million from supporters.

Zapier: The $1 million assistance program is meant for their most impacted small-business customers. Zapier’s support team will set up qualified customers with a free month credit for a Starter plan.

Thanks to a $1 million grant from Sam’s Club, LISC will provide the emergency assistance that small businesses desperately need to stay afloat. They will deploy grants to help them bridge the financial gap, and deliver technical assistance to help them navigate the intricate web of public and private resources now available. LISC will focus these efforts on historically under-served communities—especially those enterprises owned or led by women, minorities and veterans, which often lack access to affordable capital. 

Office of IL State Treasurer: Charitable Trust Application Process

The Charitable Trust Stabilization Fund assists small non-profits with annual budgets of $1 million or less. Money comes from filing fees non-profits pay when incorporating in the state of Illinois, not personal or property tax dollars. Awardees are selected by an 11-member board, which oversees the management and guidelines of the fund. The 2020 cycle will focus grants to non-profits in three areas: Food Programs, Housing, and Workforce & Economic Development.


Unemployment Benefits – Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)

For Employee: 

  • Unemployment Benefits for More Americans: makes sure self-employed and independent contractors, like Uber drivers and gig workers, can receive unemployment during the public health emergency
    • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)
       PUA provides 100% federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not covered through other avenues in the unemployment insurance program, including self-employed sole proprietors and independent contractors. IDES is contracting with Deloitte to implement and maintain a web-based solution for PUA as quickly as possible. IDES will have this program fully implemented by the week of May 11.
    • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)
      PEUC Provides up to 13 weeks’ worth of 100 percent federally funded benefits to individuals who have exhausted their rights to regular state unemployment benefits of up to 26 weeks in Illinois. PEUC is potentially available for weeks beginning on or after March 29, 2020 and continuing through the week ending December 26, 2020. PEUC will be retroactive once implemented. IDES received USDOL guidelines on April 10 and expects to have the program fully implemented the week of April 20.

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:



Restaurant Workers Community Foundation: The Restaurant Workers Community Foundation was founded in 2018 to advocate for gender equality, racial justice, fair wages, and healthy work environments in the restaurant industry. In the wake of the coronavirus / COVID-19 pandemic, RWCF’s full focus is on supporting workers, small-business owners and an industry in crisis.


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

List of Illinois businesses that are producing PPE

PPE Donations: If businesses have personal protection equipment (PPE) that they would like to donate, they can send an email to the State of Illinois’ Covid-19 Donation Intake Team ( Please note that all items should be in the manufacturer’s original packaging and unopened, as they cannot accept open products or homemade items.

For non-PPE related donations, businesses may reach out to

If businesses have PPE that they are interested in selling to the state, they can send an email to the State of Illinois’ Covid-19 PPE Procurement Team ( In the email, they should indicate the following:

  • What PPE is for sale
  • The quantity of these items
  • The price of these items
  • The location of these items
  • If businesses have a facility and are capable of manufacturing PPE or are able to quickly make the switch to manufacture PPE, they should reach out to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center here.
  • If businesses are manufacturers of PPE looking for a supplier, they should reach out to the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center here.
  • For additional information regarding PPE and donations, more information can be found here



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



WIPFLi Accounting Coronavirus Help Site
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

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