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IL COVID-19 Update #12

By March 19, 2020No Comments
A few moments ago, Governor JB Pritzker completed his daily briefing. He discussed senior grocery shopping hours, sales tax relief for bars and restaurants, and expanding Medicaid to telemedicine. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered a televised addressed which is covered below.
Governor Pritzker, standing with IRMA President Rob Karr, encouraged Illinois grocers to provide special hours for senior citizens. The idea is to allow consumers who are more at-risk to shop when the stores are cleaner. Several Illinois grocers had already implemented such measures but in the last 48-hours many more have embraced the Governor’s call. Illinois consumers can view the list here. Grocers, or other retailers, who wish to implement senior-only hours and want to be added to the list, can contact IRMA here.
Pritzker announced that the state is offering relief to more than 20,000 bars and restaurants by allowing a two month delay on sales tax payments to the state and local jurisdictions as well as waiving late filing fees and interest. Under the directive,eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. The Department of Revenue estimates this will give relief to nearly 80% of bars and restaurants in Illinois. Penalties and interest will be automatically waived; however, qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return even if they are unable to make a payment. Any taxpayers taking advantage of this relief will be required to pay their sales tax liabilities due in March, April and May in four installments starting on May 20 and extending through August 20. For more information, please view IDOR’s informational bulletin.
The Governor also noted that small businesses across the state can apply for low interest, coronavirus disaster assistance loans. He thanked Senator Durbin and Senator Duckworth for their work pushing this initiative through Congress. IRMA members can find more information here and here.
The Governor announced the signing of an Executive Order expanding telemedicine for Medicaid and those who are privately insured, which will allow more providers reimbursement as well as more flexibility and safety for patients. The EO can be viewed here.
At 5:00 p.m., Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot delivered a televised address. In the address, she ordered anyone showing symptoms (fever, cough, fatigue) to remain home unless seeking medical care or essential items like food or medicine. Additionally, she strongly encouraged vulnerable populations to stay home. Finally, she announced that Chicago Public Schools would remain closed through April 20th.
The City is suspending late fees and default for all city debt including speeding, red-light cameras and parking tickets, countinuing all court dates until at least April 30th without penalty, limiting ticketing and towing of vehicles to public safety issues. Cook county Sheriff Tom Dart has suspended eviction notices. She called on financial institutions to suspend eviction and debt collection efforts.
the Mayor announced the creation of the Chicago Small Business Reliancy Loan Fund with $100 million in targeted loans to severely impacted small businesses. It is a public-private partnership between the City, Goldman Sachs and others. Additionally, the City is suspending collection of the following taxes: bottled water tax, bag tax, amusement tax, restaurant tax, hotel tax, and parking tax. IRMA thanks the Mayor for her continued leadership. 
Late yesterday, the Village of Oak Park, just a few miles west of Chicago, instituted a shelter-in-place order. Thankfully, they did so in a thoughtful manner. In short, their list of essential services was expansive recognizing the on-going needs of consumers while they live AND work from home in Oak Park. You can view the order here.
Business Day 2020 has been cancelled. IRMA members and co-hosts received notification of this via email this morning. We look forward to welcoming everyone back to Springfield in 2021!