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* Coronavirus / COVID-19: Small businesses & nonprofits

Phase 3

The State of Illinois has developed tool kits to prepare businesses and employers to implement new safety guidelines and bring many residents back to work. Tool kits include business guidelines, checklists, posters, signage, and social media graphics.

Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories. This includes guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and all types of activity, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.

For industry-specific guidelines and tool kits, see below:

  • Manufacturing: Manufacturing facilities such as plants, factories and mills
  • Offices: Non-customer-facing offices such as: legal; accounting services; architectural/engineering design; and other professional services
  • Retail: Retailers and merchandisers such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; clothing stores; pharmacies; department stores; shopping malls
  • Service Counters: Stores providing assorted services for dropped off goods, such as: dry cleaners; electronics repair shops; shoe repair shops; car washes
  • Youth Sports: Youth sports games or matches, group sports lessons, team or group sports practices (no competitive sports permitted in Phase 3)
  • Health and Fitness Centers: Gyms, fitness centers, yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, barre studios, and other customer-facing fitness centers
  • Personal Care Services: Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, massage parlors, waxing centers, tattoo parlors
  • Outdoor Recreation (full tool kit coming soon): Customer facing services such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, paintball courses, outdoor adventure parks
  • Day Camps (full tool kit coming soon): Recreational youth programs such as sports camps, recreational camps, educational camps
  • Restaurants and Bars (outdoor dining and drinking): Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, snacks bars, taverns, and other food and beverage businesses

Get Help

If you're a small business owner or you operate a nonprofit, there are local, state, and national programs and resources to help you weather this crisis. 

1. Begin with an overview of Governor Pritzker's 5-phase plan to fully reopen Illinois: Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach to Safely Reopen Our State, a PDF from the State of Illinois (published May 5, 2020). To view current status, check here (the Chicago area is included in the Northeast Region of the state).

2. Then, get tips from the Small Business Survival Guide Coronavirus (COVID-19) Northeastern Illinois, a PDF published by the Illinois Small Business Development Center at the College of Lake County.

3. Finally, partner with a local resource to secure the help you need -or- read on to learn about and apply for available loans.

Apply for Loans

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

This fund offers low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to small businesses that...

  • are located outside of the city of Chicago AND
  • have fewer than 50 workers AND
  • had less than $3 million in revenue in 2019.

If approved for the loan, your business will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below-market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term. Get the info.

Illinois State Treasurer Bridge Loans

The state Treasurer has partnered with approved financial institutions to provide loans—either lower rate loans or loans to a business or non-profit that would not otherwise qualify—to Illinois small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Get the info.

Small Business Administration Assistance

Small businesses, private nonprofits, or those who are self-employed and facing financial hardships related to the coronavirus pandemic can get help during this difficult time. On March 19, 2020, Illinois Governor Pritzker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 Illinois counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans. 

Apply onlinedisasterloan.sba.gov/ela

View all SBA coronavirus relief options: www.sba.gov/funding programs

Contact the SBA customer service: call 800-659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

CARES Act Assistance

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was passed by the U.S .Congress to assist business owners and nonprofit organizations with their needs during this time of crisis.