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Dear Frankfort Chamber members,

In our continued efforts to keep you updated on the most recent and accurate information, we ask you please review the following very important highlights of the Governor Pritzker’s Executive Order of 3/16/20 :

  1. Beginning March 16, 2020 at 9 p.m. through March 30, 2020, businesses in the State of Illinois that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption must suspend service for and may not permit on-premises consumption but may serve food and beverages for consumption off-premises; customers may enter the premises for carry-out purchases but establishments must ensure that they have an environment where patrons maintain adequate social distancing; businesses in airports, hospitals, and college and university dining halls are exempt from these requirements; hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service and carry-out; catering services may continue
  2. Beginning March 18, 2020, public and private gatherings in the State of Illinois of 50 people or more are prohibited for the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation; this does not include venues that provide essential goods or services such as grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, gas stations, banks, credit unions, and shelters; this order amends Section 1 of Executive Order 2020-04;
  3. The Illinois State Police, the Illinois Department of Public Health, the State Fire Marshal, and the Illinois Liquor Control Commission shall cooperate and use available resources to enforce this Executive Order with respect to entities under their jurisdiction;
  4. This Executive Order does not amend or supersede the authority of the Illinois Department of Public Health under specified provisions of the Department of Public Health Powers and Duties Law;
  5. For the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, provisions of the Unemployment Insurance Act requiring a one-week waiting period for unemployment insurance claims are suspended for claimants who are unemployed and are otherwise eligible for unemployment insurance benefits;
  6. For the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, specified provisions of the Open Meetings Act requiring or relating to in-person attendance by members of a public body are suspended; when a meeting is necessary, public bodies are encouraged to provide video, audio, or telephonic access to meetings and update websites and social media feeds to keep the public apprised of modifications to their meeting schedules or the format of their meetings due to COVID-19, as well their activities relating to COVID-19.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) advises of the following: 

  • DCEO is in the final stages of submitting Illinois' application to participate in Disaster Assistance Loans for Small Businesses Impacted by Coronavirus. The federal government typically turns around these applications in a few days, and they are hoping for movement by the end of the week. Once more information is available, DCEO and the US Chamber will be aggressively distributing information about applications for this loan program. 
  • DCEO is also working on pulling together a plan for economic relief, for small businesses in particular, and it is possible we may see this by the end of the week as well. 
  • The US Chamber is also monitoring the passage of a federal paid leave bill, HR 6201, that was approved by the US House of Representatives this weekend, but awaits action of the US Senate. As is, it provides $1 billion in 2020 for emergency grants to states for activities related to processing and paying unemployment insurance (UI) benefits, under certain conditions. The White House has conveyed concerns about the bill’s upfront cost to small businesses required to pay the leave, so there could be some changes in the Senate before final passage. The current version reimburses employers for the cost with a future tax credit.

The US Chamber of Commerce sent a letter to US Government leaders requesting the following legislation be enacted:
  1. Cancel the payment of all payroll taxes typically paid by employers for the months of March, April and May
  2. Expand and streamline loan programs for small businesses with fewer than 500 employees experiencing revenue loss as a result of the Coronavirus, and make the Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster loan program be made available immediately nation-wide, eliminating the state-by-state and county-by-county certification process. This should include removing the requirement that small businesses demonstrate they cannot access credit elsewhere before receiving a SBA disaster loan
  3. Enable the creation of credit facilities to provide loans and loan guarantees to employers with more than 500 employees experiencing significant revenue loss as a result of the coronavirus.

The Small Business Administration (SBA) has received authorization to provide small business assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program to provide low interest loans of up to $2M to businesses and private non-profits for loss of revenue preventing them from paying normal business obligations, such as payroll, rent, etc. This is not a resource to replace lost profits. Although SBA is working with the State of Illinois to support their efforts to submit the Governor’s request for a declaration, Illinois has not yet it, so the EIDL program is not yet available to Illinois businesses and non-profits. You can, however, check that status of Illinois’ declaration through the following link: https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Declarations , and in the interim, review the necessary loan documents that will be required at the following link. https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/Information/PaperForms  Please note this information is just to be used as a reference, as the SBA does not recommend anyone submit a paper application, as the online application provides both documentation of the receipt of the application and updates.

Grocery Shopping : The Illinois Retail Merchants Association advises:
  • There is plenty of food for everyone if everyone practices common-sense. Common-sense means:
  • Shop for the amounts you normally would. There is ZERO need for hoarding (buying more than you need for a week).
  • Hoarding (buying more than you need for a week) creates problems for others such as those over 60-years of age or those with compromised immune systems. This is because hoarding creates unnecessary shortages and impacts delivery or curb-side pick-up options.
  • If the grocer of your choice has delivery or curb-side pick-up options available, everyone should consider utilizing those. However, if people continue buying more than they need, these options are difficult for the grocer to support. That is why people, particularly our more vulnerable neighbors, are now having to wait days for delivery or pick-up.
  • Even in nations like Italy or Spain that have imposed in-home quarantines, citizens are allowed free access to grocery stores, pharmacies, etc. to obtain what they need. Again, no need for hoarding.
  • The supply chain is healthy and working. All that is needed to return to normalcy is for consumer to return to buying only what they need for a week.
  • When shopping in-person, consumers should maintain social distancing and exercise common-sense hygiene (e.g. wash hands, wipe down goods when taken home, use a sanitation wipe on grocery cart/basket). But those are all actions we should take under normal circumstances, not just during a pandemic.

Finally, a special shout out to nearby resident, Jim Trejo, who emailed our office advising he set up a facebook page ( https://www.facebook.com/groups/1271488643060304/ ) for Restaurants to post their menus, food specials, etc.to help weather the shutdown order from the state of Illinois. He stated there is “No charge, no fees, no strings attached, this is a public group with no other intentions other than to support local restaurants”. Helping each other during these times is what it is all about! If you know of any other good deeds to assist our local businesses during these difficult times, please share your story with us!

Don't forget, our Chamber website also has member information and resources here and we share information on our Facebook page regularly.

Stay safe, and know that we will continue to keep you updated as more information comes available to us.


Marianne Melcher
Executive Director