COVID-19

IL COVID-19 Update #21

By March 25, 2020 March 27th, 2020 No Comments

Governor JB Pritzker just concluded his daily briefing. Lots of new information below including small business assistance, price gouging, financial assistance for employers, e-WIC, and more.

GOVERNOR’S BRIEFING

Income tax filing deadlines have been extended from April 15th to July 15th to align with the filing delay instituted by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). You can read IDOR’s Informational Bulletin here.

The Governor announced three new programs to assist small businesses throughout Illinois.

First, all small businesses with fewer than 50 employees and with 2019 revenues under $3 million are eligible for small business emergency loans of up to 5-years in length at low-interest. The first loan payments will not begin for 6-months.

Second, small businesses in the suburbs and downstate being served by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s (DCEO) Office of Community Development, primarily those serving low-to-moderate income populations, are eligible for GRANTS of up to $25,000.

Third, hospitality businesses (i.e. restaurants, bars, and hotels) are eligible for assistance from DCEO to support payroll and rent as well as operations such as pick-up and delivery.

The DCEO administered loan information can be found here.

Additionally, the Governor asked all banks administering Advantage Illinois Loans to modify their loan terms thru either a 3- month deferral of payments or 6-months of interest-only payments. The state has suspended regulations to allow financial institutions to act quickly.

IRMA would like to thank the Governor for his actions and look forward to continuing to work with his Administration on additional measures for the broader retail community that is being equally savaged by this pandemic.

STATE TREASURER

As IRMA noted yesterday, State Treasurer Michael Frerichs announced a $250 million bridge-loan program via community banks and credit unions to assist employers with low-interest loans. Employers should check with their community bank or credit union to see if they are participating. IRMA would like to thank Treasurer Frerichs for his initiative. 

PRICE GOUGING

IRMA spoke directly with Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul this morning regarding price gouging. His office has received 615 allegations of price gouging to date. He assured me their attorneys are taking a very deliberative approach. There is a clear awareness that consumers do not always understand the difference between, as an example, a sale price changing to a regular price and price-gouging. The AG attorneys are also looking closely at supplier prices and are interested in any information related to supplier price-gouging. They also understand retail concerns about sharing such for fear of retaliation. Retailers should not feel they are at the mercy of their suppliers. Retailers may share such documentation with IRMA. We will be certain to remove identifying information if the retailer has not already done so. If you have information related to supplier price-gouging, please send to info@irma.org.

EMPLOYER FINANCIAL ASSISTANCE 

In addition to the Governor’s announcement today, and while we dissect the assistance Washington, DC is allegedly enacting, retailers are strong encouraged to apply today for assistance from the Small Business Administration. Even if you ultimately decide not to do it, final today and get in line. Below are links to resources for additional financial assistance.

US Small Business Administration (SBA) Small Business Guidance & Loan Resources

US SBA Disaster Assistance Information

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO)

City of Chicago Resiliency Fund and in Spanish

E-WIC

Please note that the IL Department of Human Services is suspending outreach on the e-WIC program for the next two weeks.  Illinois is in the process of changing from paper vouchers to an electronic system for the WIC program.  Considering that current resources are being shifted both at the Department and internally with grocers to handle the current pandemic, the Department has agreed to suspend contact for the time being.

Illinois stores that are in the current e-WIC phase-in will not be contacted by Solutran (the state’s vendor) or any of its subcontractors to assess readiness for implementation of the e-WIC program with your current POS systems.  If you have any questions about the e-WIC transition, please let us know.

UTILITY/ENERGY SERVICES

The Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has formally adopted Governor Pritzker’s recommendation to suspend all utility disconnections and late payment fees until May 1st or the Governor removes his emergency declaration. Likewise, IRMA is working with electric and gas suppliers on behalf of members who have experienced a significant change in energy consumption. IRMA has prepared an informative piece covering these subjects and more that you can view here.

JOBS

Anyone looking for at least temporary employment can find employment possibilities at IRMA’s website. Additionally, retailers not listed who are hiring can email IRMA and we will add the link you provide to our resource page. Job seekers and retailers looking to hire should click here.

ILLINOIS UPDATE

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, MD, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 330 new cases and three new deaths since yesterday. Additionally, the number of counties with at least one case increased by three to 35. That brings the total count to 1,865. This information can be found here.