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COVID-19 Business Resources

Below are links to programs and resources being made available to small businesses affected by the response to the COVID-19 outbreak. 

We will continue to provide updates as new information becomes available.  

RESTORE ILLINOIS: Phase 4 Guidelines

On Monday, June 22, Governor JB Pritzker released plans to safely continue reopening businesses and industries as Illinois moves into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Working with public health officials and business representatives, guidelines were developed to keep workers and customers safe as the economy recovers.

Cook County Recovery Initiative 

Cook County has launched a comprehensive initiative to provide economic relief to small businesses, non-profits, community service organizations, and independent contractors. (1099) workers in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Please click here for full details.

Paycheck Protection Program - CARES Act

The Coronavirus Act, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses. 

Paycheck Protection Program Website

Importantly, a portion of these loans will be forgiven if borrowers maintain and/or restore their payrolls during the crisis. 

You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union,  and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program. Here is a list of local lenders.

Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.

  • Contact your bank to ask if they will be processing PPP loans. If they will be, express your interest.  If not, ask them to refer you to a bank that wi

  • PPP loan amounts will be based on 2.5x a business’s average monthly payroll expenses. By calculating that amount, and organizing the supporting documentation, you can expedite the application process.

Here is a guide to calculate your loan amount and a sample application form to start filling out. 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce - Paycheck Protection Program Guide and Checklist

PPP Application

PPP Loan Forgiveness Application

Please click on the FAQs below for more information. 

CARES Act Small Business Loans FAQ

Small Business Owner's Guide to the CARES Act

Paycheck Protection Program and Loan Forgiveness

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) - SBA

Businesses and most private nonprofit organizations that have suffered a substantial economic injury due to the COVID-19 may now apply for up to $2 million to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.  Funds can be used for working capital and loan amounts will be based on actual economic injury and the company’s expenses.

This new program provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits 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 an EIDL and then request the advance. The advance does not need to be repaid under any circumstance 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 debts, rent and mortgage payments.

Apply for an EIDL Loan

EIDL Loan Application Checklist (READ FIRST)

Eligible businesses will be invited to submit a full application beginning April 1, 2020 at 5:00PM CST through a State of Illinois lending partner.  The SBA is working to process approvals within 3 weeks of receiving a completed application and payments will be deferred for 12 months after the loan closes.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – State of Illinois DCEO

DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) have established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $50,000.

  • Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible.

  • Businesses can receive a low-interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.

  •  Loan funds must be used for working capital, and at least 50% of loan proceeds must be applied toward payroll or other eligible compensation, with a commitment to hire or retain at least 50% of a business workforce for six months.

Once submitted, the State will strive to make a loan decision within 10 days, and make funds available within two days of receiving bank information from a business.

Businesses can express interest and learn more about loan guidelines and eligibility here.

Expedited Lending Program for Small Businesses (Accion Chicago)

Accion has announced an expedited lending program up to $25,000 for any businesses with a clean credit report in 2019.  Rather than conduct a full underwrite of your business, they will set the maximum loan amount based on your monthly revenues in January and February. Click here to apply.




Webinars & Additional Resources

Access to Capital – COVID-19 Edition (Small Business Advisory Council)

Access a recent webinar on Information on New Emergency Offerings to Help Small Businesses in Illinois & Indiana.(Accion Chicago)

Access a recent webinar on Crisis Management and Cash Flow Management. (Accion Chicago)

Re-Opening Best Practices from the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

Illinois Restaurant Association COVID-19 Updates

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)


Please note, this list of resources is not exhaustive. There may be additional opportunities available. We encourage businesses to consult a financial adviser or planner to help identify your best plan of action.

For additional questions, please contact Angela Mesaros at or 708.206.3387.

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