Federal, State, and Local Resources for Business Owners and Employees Affected by the COVID-19 Pandemic



State of Illinois received Statewide Economic Injury Declaration

“The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans up to $2M per business.”


SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan

If you are interested in applying or getting more information please click here. Key points regarding the loan:

  • The interest rate for businesses is 3.75%.
  • Loans can be up to $2 million or less.
  • Payment will be deferred for one year.
  • You can use the funds for payroll, fixed debts, accounts payable, and for other bills that would had been paid if the disaster had not occurred.
  • Any loan over $25,000 requires collateral.


SBDC webinars regarding SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan (SBA EIDL)

The Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) will be hosting webinars regarding the SBA loan program. Please check the website for upcoming dates, times and playbacks:


COVID-19 and the Workplace

The Wage and Hour Division provides information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19, and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act.

For further information about Coronavirus, please visit the HHS’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.




The Governor just announced Emergency Small Business Grants and Loan Assistance. Please click on the programs below for more information:



  • Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund (opens soon)
    • Eligible: Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 can apply.  Small businesses within the City of Chicago can apply to a similar loan program here.
    • Businesses can receive a low-interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.
    • The interest form opens up on Friday, March 27th.  Eligible businesses will be invited to submit a full application beginning on April 1. Once submitted, we will strive to make a loan decision within 10 days, and make funds available within two days of receiving bank information from a business.


  • Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program (opens soon)
    • To support small businesses in downstate and rural counties across Illinois, DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to start up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses with 50 employees or less. Only units of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution and able to support economic development activities on a sufficient scale are eligible to apply for Economic Development grant funding. Businesses in the eligible areas should work with their local governments to submit applications.  Application materials will be posted to the DCEO website on Friday, March 27, 2020.
    • Grant Amount up to $25,000


Illinois Small Business Development Network

If you need assistance filling out an SBA EIDL application or assistance with other business resources reach out to your nearest or preferred Illinois Small Business Development Center.

Services Include:

  • One-on-one business advice and management assistance.
  • Assistance with the development of business plans.
  • Help with accessing market information and the development of marketing plans.
  • Assistance with accessing business financing programs.
  • Assistance with financial analysis and planning.
  • Access to business education and training opportunities.
  • Specialized services in technology, innovation, and entrepreneurial development.


Illinois Treasurer Office – Small Business COVID-Relief Program

The Illinois Treasurer Office is launching an impact investment loan program up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state. Through this program, the Illinois Treasurer’s Office will work with approved financial institutions to provide loans to small businesses or nonprofits impacted by COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.

  • Affordable loans (not to exceed 4.75%) to small businesses and non-profits that could be used to provide bridge funding, pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills.
  • Eligible Illinois businesses or non-profits must:

(1) have been shut down or limited due to COVID-19;

(2) have less than $1 million in liquid assets or $8 million average annual receipts (per SBA standards)

(3) be headquartered in the state of Illinois or agree to use the funds in Illinois.

For more information please visit: https://illinoistreasurer.gov/Invest_in_Illinois/Small_Business_COVID-19_Relief_Program.


DCEO Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFOs) Available

DCEO has five (5) Notice of Funding Opportunities for grants, including:

Please go to https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/AboutDCEO/GrantOpportunities/Pages/default.aspx for a complete list.




Coronavirus (COVID-19): Access to Capital Resources

LISC Chicago Economic Development Lender Marcus Yancey joins Accion Chicago and JPMorgan Chase for a webinar organized by the Polsky Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation on Thursday, March 26th at noon. The panelists will discuss a wide array of capital options for small businesses during this time of crisis. Register here.


Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund

The City of Chicago recognizes that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has put a difficult burden on our small business community. As a response to this challenge, the City is establishing a $100 million Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, which will help to provide small businesses with emergency cash flow during this immediate health crisis. Funds will be provided to eligible businesses as low-interest loans. The loan terms will follow the guidelines below:

  • Repayment Term: Low-interest loans for a term of up to five years.
  • Loan Amount: Up to $50,000 but sized based on revenues before the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Loan Proceeds: Proceeds are required to be used for working capital. At least 50% of proceeds should be applied toward payroll and commitment to retain the workforce at 50% of pre-COVID-19 levels.

To be eligible, businesses must meet the following requirements

  • Suffered more than 25% revenue decrease due to COVID-19
  • Employ fewer than 50 employees and have gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019
  • Provide a City business address or City business license
  • No pre-existing tax liens or legal judgments


Applications for the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund will begin to be accepted on March 31, 2020. If you are interested in applying for a loan, please complete this interest form and a representative will reach out to you as soon as possible. Please visit: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/COVID19Chicago.


For further information, please visit: Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund


Business Affairs & Consumer Protection Small Business Center

BACP ensures a fair and vibrant market place for both businesses and consumers. BACP licenses businesses and public vehicles, provides business education and access to resources, enforces the Municipal Code, and protects consumers from fraud. For up to date information please periodically check the BACP website: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/bacp.html


Chicago Community Catalyst Fund

The Chicago Community Catalyst Fund will invest up to $50 million in the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund to provide financial relief to Chicago businesses that have been affected by COVID-19. Eligibility requirements to apply:

  • Open to established, City of Chicago-based businesses impacted by the COVID-19 with 1 – 50 full and part-time employees and less than $3 million in revenue. Up to 50% of the Fund will be loaned to businesses in underserved areas.
  • The Fund is available to businesses who have generated revenue for (at least) two years and can demonstrate at least a 25% decrease in revenue as a result of COVID-19.
  • Eligible businesses will receive a zero-interest loan for six months covering up to 50% of their payroll as well as operating needs, sick pay and rent. Businesses can access up to $50,000.


If you need more information or are ready to get started or would like to notified when applications become available please visit, https://www.chicagocatalystfund.com/.


Small Business Tax & Utility Relief

  • The Federal Tax Deadline has been postponed to July 15


  • The City of Chicago has delayed the following until April 30:
  • Collection of Restaurant Tax, Amusement Tax, Checkout Bag tax, and other business taxes
  • Business fine collections
  • Debt collections
  • License renewal and late fees
  • Non-health or public safety-related business penalties


COVID-19: Guidance for Businesses and Employers

Businesses and Employers should send all sick employees home, implement social distancing measures such as teleworking, and prepare for high absenteeism.


The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other federal, state and local partners to monitor and respond to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID19) outbreak. Employers should be able to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. CDPH recommends the following guidance to help limit COVID-19 exposure and spread in the workplace. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there is more widespread transmission as we expect to see more cases in the United States and in Chicago. Please visit the link for more information: COVID -19: Guidance for Business and Employers.pdf


Employment and Financial Assistance

There are many questions regarding eligibility for unemployment benefits, including:


What is unemployment insurance?

Unemployment insurance provides temporary income assistance for those who have been separated from employment through no fault of their own and who meet certain eligibility requirements.


What are the eligibility requirements?

You must be unemployed through no fault of your own. You also must:

1) be able (physically and mentally) and available for work;

2) register with the state employment service; and,

3) be actively seeking work.


Please visit https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/sites/covid-19/home/employment-and-financial-assistance.html for more details.


Employment Opportunities

There are companies in need of employment support during this crisis. Organizations that can help support those looking for work are Skills for Chicagoland’s Future and the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership. If you’re a company in need of immediate employment support during this crisis, please e-mail alberto.ortega2@cityofchicago.