Morton Updates:

The Morton Forecast Breakfast will be held virtually on Thursday, May 7. Registrants can pick up a Pumpkin Pancake Breakfast through a drive thru at Freedom Hall from 8:00 - 10:00 AM and watch a pre-recorded broadcast of the program at 10:00 AM on the Chamber's Facebook and YouTube. To celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, each breakfast purchase ($15) will also provide a complimentary meal to an educator. Register here.

A Perfect Promotion has a supplier for disposable medical face masks. If you would like to order marks for your business, contact C layto n.

Parker Fabrication and Best Made Signs are able to make face shields and plexiglass guards for your workplaces.

The Peoria Magazine nominations for Best of Peoria are now open through May 13. Nominate your favorite business, restaurant, event, and venue!
Reminders: All previous bulletins and other resources listed at www.gpcovid.com . Resource requests from our community institutions listed at the end of this bulletin. Send any questions to bizinfo@greaterpeoriaedc.org .

Paycheck Protection Program Still Open
Despite some early warning that the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) would run out of funds quickly this week, applications are still being accepted. The technology problems that plagued banks in the first part of this week appear to have been corrected. If you have not yet applied for PPP and think you might be eligible, please contact your financial institution as soon as possible. If you have any questions about PPP get in touch with us by sending an email to bizinfo@greaterpeoriaedc.org . Forbes has published a good article on the program and how to take advantage of the loan forgiveness portion here .

Unemployment Benefits for the Self-Employed
Updated guidance from the Illinois Department of Employment Security indicates that individuals should proceed with applying for benefits now even if they are a 1099 contractor or a sole proprietor (not May 11 as previously advised). The initial claim will likely be denied, however it should put the applicant in the application process for those 1099 and sole proprietors that will receive benefits under the Cares Act. Those benefits include the $600/week, known as the Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). Details at https://www2.illinois.gov/ides . The benefit to applying and then getting denied is that it proves individuals cannot get regular unemployment benefits and therefore are that much readier for the new application around May 11. According to IDES, when awarded unemployment compensation will be back-dated until the date a person was first unemployed.
Illinois Emergency Assistance to Employers at Risk of Layoffs
DCEO has made funds available to CareerLink to prevent essential, small businesses from laying off or furloughing employees. They are looking for businesses for whom these potential grant dollars would make the difference between keeping workers on or having to layoff/furlough. Here are some sample scenarios that qualifying businesses (“essential” per the Governor’s order and “small” by the SBA’s definition) can apply to cover:
 
  • A small business needs their employees to be at work, on‐site, but cannot afford frequent deep cleaning to help prevent potential exposure to COVID‐19. Layoff aversion funds could be used to pay for a cleaning/sanitization service.
  • A small business whose employees use specific software or computer applications asks their employees to work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID‐19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase the software programs and/or hardware (computers) that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
  • A call center environment needs to have their employees work from home/remotely in order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID‐19. Layoff aversion funding could be used to purchase remote access supplies, including laptop computers and/or smart phones, that the employee would need to use from home to support their work.
  • In order to support social distancing and limit potential exposure to COVID‐19, a company that usually runs two shifts of workers adds a third shift, so that fewer employees are on onsite at any given time. Layoff aversion funding could be used to offset related costs to the employer or workers, excluding wages and benefits.
  • Incumbent worker training to redirect and reassign existing employees on critical business needs. Layoff aversion funding can help pay for projects to support the production of goods and services that are needed to address COVID‐19 National Health Emergency and/or preserve critical business operations to stay in business.
 
Please note that this list is not all inclusive. Employee payroll and benefits cannot, however, be covered through this funding opportunity. Upcoming costs as well as expenses incurred already since the start of the Governor’s stay-at-home order (March 20) can be reimbursed through this grant. The amount that can be awarded per company is $5,000-$50,000. There is a very brief application document that companies in need should complete and submit to your local WorkNet office by close of business Wednesday, May 6. For more information contact Norm Griffin at 309-321-0255 or ngriffin@careerlink16.com

Survey of Latinx Businesses
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) in partnership with the strategy consulting firm, Milpa Services , are conducting a statewide survey to measure the COVID-19 impact on Latinx business owners in Illinois. If you are a Latinx business owner in Illinois, please consider completing the 8-10 minute survey in English or Spanish . Deadline to complete the survey is May 15, 2020.

RESOURCE REQUESTS
  • Community Foundation of Central Illinois: Requesting monetary donations for the Central Illinois Disaster Recovery Fund. Information https://communityfoundationci.org/Morton Chamber & EDC addition: The Morton Community Foundation has also announced a Morton Area Disaster Relief Fund for organizations serving those affected by COVID-19. Donate here.
  • UnityPoint Health: UnityPoint is seeking personal protective equipment (PPE) and other medical supplies. They are also in search of medical personnel to help them prepare in the event that there is an influx of sick patients. Information here.  
  • OSF Healthcare: OSF seeking personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and other supplies. Information here.
  • Peoria Innovation Alliance: PIA is gathering the maker community to discuss ways individuals and small companies can make supplies like masks. Information here.
  • Heartland Health Services: Seeking personal protective equipment, medical supplies, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes unopened. More information here
  • UICOMP Accepting Handmade Masks – The University of Illinois College of Medicine is accepting donations of handmade masks. Details can be found here.
  • IWIRC: Seeking standard PPE such as N-95/surgical/home-made masks, face shields, gowns, and latex-free gloves. Donated supplies can be dropped off at their downtown Peoria clinic location at 736 SW Washington St. Information here
  • Morton Chamber & EDC addition: Community Harvest and Midwest Food Bank are soliciting monetary donations to help support the influx of requests for food.Visit their sites for more info.

Chris Setti
Chief Executive Officer
Greater Peoria Economic Development Council