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 **

Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund Application Now Open!

ComEd is supporting the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF), and this fund is now accepting applications for the fifth and final round of funding.

Please find the overview and eligibility requirement documents here if your organization would like to apply for funding from the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund as part of the final application process. The application will close July 24th at 12:00 p.m. CDT. You can access the application directly here. 

If you have any additional questions, please visit , or you can also email for specific questions pertaining to the application process.


Overview of Phase 4 Guidance Released by DCEO – June 22, 2020
For industry-specific information, visit

Business Physical Disaster Loans – Loans to businesses to repair or replace disaster-damaged property owned by the business, including real estate, inventories, supplies, machinery and equipment. Businesses of any size are eligible. Private, non-profit organizations such as charities, churches, private universities, etc. are also eligible.

Forgiveness Requirements Relaxed with Passage of Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act
On June 5, 2020, President Trump signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act. Notable changes will allow businesses more time to spend loan proceeds on permitted costs. This is significant relief for those businesses that were unable to continue operations and bring employees back to work.  With many of those employees being lower paid, paying them to stay at home was not well received as it interfered with the higher amounts of unemployment compensation they could otherwise receive.
Webinar for PPP Bridge Loan Assistance Training

COVID-19 Cumulative State Legislative Report

COVID-19 Cumulative Federal Legislative Report

For reopening guidance for your business or industry, check out our Recovery & Reopening page.

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

Congresswoman Cheri Bustos Small Business Webinar Monday, April 6 – Slide presentation found here!

We have compiled a matrix of business resources so you can get a quick overview of programs and compare them side-by-side.
You can view this pdf by clicking here.

COVID-19: Help for businesses, workers and residentsNew 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



We have compiled a matrix of business resources so you can get a quick overview of programs and compare them side-by-side.
You can view this pdf by clicking here.

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

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)
Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the civil unrest. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period.

EIDL and Advance Program Reopened – June 17, 2020

To further meet the needs of U.S. small businesses and non-profits, the U.S. Small Business Administration reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) and EIDL Advance program portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19 today.

SBA’s EIDL program offers long-term, low interest assistance for a small business or non-profit.  These loans can provide vital economic support to help alleviate temporary loss of revenue.  EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or fund other expenses.  Additionally, the EIDL Advance will provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) of emergency economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties, and these emergency grants do not have to be repaid.

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. 

Small businesses that previously applied and are seeking an update on their application can contact the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or

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

 For more information on the Paycheck Protection Program, visit:

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

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
The program component makes funds available for 60 days of verifiable working capital up to a grant ceiling of $25,000 and is available for businesses that employ 50 people or less.  Number of employees includes the business owner(s).  These funds may be used to assist private for-profit small retail and service businesses, or businesses considered non-essential by the Governor’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely.

Applicants must apply through their local government.


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 apply here

For Ogle County Nonprofits, Rochelle Area Community Foundation (RACF) is coordinating the county-wide response and managing the application process. Download the application HERE. It is also available on the RACF online grants portal.

US Chamber of Commerce Save Small Business Fund
The Save Small Business Fund is a grantmaking initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories.  Small businesses are the foundation of our communities and our economy. Employing nearly half the American workforce, companies like yours keep our neighborhoods running and make them feel like home.

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 Resource Guide
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 GlobalGiving, 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 on May 4.

Digitalundivided, a nonprofit that supports black and latinx women entrepreneurs, is providing quick grants of $100 to black women business owners.

Facebook: $100M has been offered in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where we operate. We’ll share more details as they become available.

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.

PEN Writer’s Emergency Fund: PEN America Writers’ Emergency Fund is an emergency fund for professional — published or produced — writers in acute, emergency financial crises. PEN America will distribute grants of $500 to $1,000 based on applications that demonstrate an inability to meet an acute financial need, especially one resulting from the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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.

Nav’s Small Business Grant: Like most small business owners, we’re a little unruly here at Nav. Our co-founders are lifelong entrepreneurs who had to go over, through and around roadblocks in order to chase their dream. If this sounds familiar, we want to make your life easier. Nav is the free way to monitor your personal and business credit in one spot. Over 500,000 business owners use Nav today. We’ve launched the Nav Small Business Grant to give $10,000 to help a deserving business take their company to the next level. To apply, please click here.

Salesforce Care Small Business Grants: As part of their commitment to supporting small businesses, they are creating Salesforce Care Small Business Grants.  Salesforce will soon be offering $10,000 grants to U.S. small businesses to provide capital to help them weather this crisis.  International small business support will be announced soon. 

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. 

United Way of Rock River Valley Emerging Needs Fund – Grant Application Deadline: May 1
In order to be eligible for a grant allocation from the United Way COVID-19 Emerging Needs Fund, nonprofit agencies must:

  • Be a 501(c)(3) Organization
  • Be in operation and providing human services in Boone, Winnebago, Ogle or Stephenson counties for at least three years
  • Have an active, local Board of Directors comprised of non-paid volunteers who meet at least quarterly
  • Maintain an annual operating budget
  • Agree to the Emerging Needs Fund Memorandum of Understanding
  • Comply in a timely manner to a request for information

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)

IDES Instructs 1099 Workers to Apply for Regular Unemployment Benefits Before PUA Goes Live

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. For more information please visit the IDES website.  Regarding the federal CARES Act, IDES is actively working to implement the recently enacted federal stimulus package as it relates to unemployment benefits.  IDES has provided updated information as well on their website.

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.” 

  • 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
    • IDES COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits 
    • April 13, 2020 Gov. Pritzker Outlines Efforts to Expand Access and Eligibility to Unemployment Insurance
    • Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC):
       FPUC provides an additional $600 each week in 100% federally funded benefits to anyone entitled to regular state unemployment benefits. FPUC is available for weeks beginning on or after March 29, 2020 and continuing through the week ending July 25, 2020.  IDES began disbursing funds through this program, starting the week of April 5, 2020, which was the first week the federal legislation allowed FPUC to be paid. From March 29, 2020 through the week ending July 25, 2020, benefits will be applied automatically to claimants who qualify
    • 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: 



Sales Tax Deferrals

Yelp is offering advertising credits for small, independently owned restaurants and bars.

Miller Lite: $1 million will be given to laid-off bartenders after bars and restaurants around the country were forced to shut down in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Restaurant Employee Relief Fund: This fund will provide one-time grants of $500 on a first-come-first-served basis to restaurant owners and employees in need. The COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund for small businesses and their restaurant workers is accepting donations.

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.

USBG National Charity Foundation: The bartender emergency assistance program will help service industry personnel who may be experiencing financial hardship during the coronavirus outbreak. Eligible applicants can receive a grant to help with bills and other costs due to sudden loss or decrease of income. In order to qualify, an applicant must be a bartender or the spouse or child of a bartender.

Samuel Adams and The Greg Hill Foundation are bringing the successful Restaurant Strong Fund to 20 total states to aid the restaurant workers impacted by the Covid-19 closures. Following the success of the Massachusetts launch in mid-March, Samuel Adams is donating over $2,000,000 to kickstart funding in Arizona, California, Connecticut, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, North Carolina, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Vermont. To apply, please click here



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


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