IMA COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Update - #5
The novel coronavirus (COVID-19), now classified as a pandemic by the World Health Organization, is causing rapidly cascading events in Illinois and across the globe. The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association has been communicating directly with manufacturers across Illinois as the situation changes and will continue posting resources online at . This page will be updated with official information and facts continuously as events warrant and resources become available. 
The IMA is hosting a conference call with public health and emergency officials along with experts on business continuity, labor law, and communications on Tuesday, March 17 at 10:00 a.m Click here to register for the IMA conference call . Please join the call and share with other employers.

Governor JB Pritzker held his daily press briefing this afternoon and offered several updates:
1. There are 29 new cases of the coronavirus in Illinois
2. A total of 93 cases have been confirmed in Illinois with new counties impacted including Sangamon, Champaign, Clinton, Winnebago, and Whiteside.
3. The primary election will occur next Tuesday, March 17, with voters encouraged to vote early or by mail.
4. Non-essential state workers will be working remotely and state agencies will be implementing contingency plans to handle emergencies. All employees will be paid
New or critical items of note that were discussed today by the Governor and local leaders.
1.  Governor Pritzker announced that all bars and restaurants will be closed beginning Monday, March 16 for two weeks. Curbside carryout and food delivery may be available.
2. The Mayor of Chicago has earlier announced that all business establishments that sell alcohol must reduce to half of their capacity with a maximum capacity of 100 individuals. Businesses are not allowed to allow customers to line up outside of their facilities. But this is pre-empted by the Governor’s directive.
3. The lines at O’Hare Airport were extensive and the federal government has doubled the number of staff to process travelers.
4. Healthy Illinoisans are needed to schedule appointments and donate blood.
5. The Governor noted that Illinois’ food supply chain is strong and steady. The Administration is working to end the prohibition on overnight deliveries to grocery stores. He singled out IMA members ADM, Kraft Heinz, Conagra, and PepsiCo for their efforts.
On Friday, the IMA worked with Governor Pritzker and his team to secure food supplies for children impacted by the school closure who will be provided with 2 meals per day. Many IMA members answered the call and provided food product. 

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association is a member of the Business Emergency Operations Center and is working to help employers that run into operation, supply chain, or continuity issues. We are working to source critical supplies and alleviate supply chain issues such as increasing maximum truck weights by 10 percent on Midwest roads.

The IMA spoke with Illinois Workers’ Compensation Commission Chairman Mike Brennan today and the IWCC will suspend all hearings and oral arguments from March 17-31 with all cases continued. There will be an ability for an emergency hearing if needed.

Employer Resources & Programs

The IMA is in discussion with the Governor’s office, state leaders, and local leaders about economic incentives to help struggling businesses. If you have specific ideas, please let us know so that we can communicate those to our leaders. Here are a few recent activities.

The President declared a national emergency providing $50 billion in resources to local governments and employers.

The Small Business Administration is providing assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program which provides low interest loans of up to $2 million to businesses and not-for-profits. These will be available when Illinois submits its declaration to the federal government which must include identifying specific businesses that have suffered substantial economic injury. Illinois has created a portal for employers to self-report their economic impact.

Congress and the U.S. Senate are working on passage of H.R. 6201 that will provide additional benefits for workers and employers. It includes 2 weeks of paid sick leave that will be offset by tax credits (refundable) for employers along with an expansion of the Family & Medical Leave Act whereby workers may receive paid leave at 2/3 of their normal pay. Both changes would apply only to employers with less than 500 employees and only for workers/companies impacted by the virus. This could create further workforce challenges and a financial impact.

The IMA is in constant contact with the Governor’s office and White House along with federal, state, and local health and emergency officials. We will continue to monitor and provide accurate information on a timely basis. 

Mark Denzler
President & CEO
Illinois Manufacturers' Association
Disclaimer : The information in this email is provided for general informational purposes only as a benefit of your membership in the Illinois Manufacturers' Association. No information contained in this email should be construed as legal advice from the IMA or the individual author, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. If you need legal advice, please contact an attorney directly.