COVID-19 Business Resources

Business Resources-COVID-19

BUSINESS RESOURCES: capital, unemployment, taxes, webinars, press releases, social distancing, essential businesses, and more


  • [Announced 7/31 effective immediately]: Bars and pubs without a retail food license are now able to apply for Expanded Outdoor Dining as long as they identify a food partner. Apply online here.
  • [Announced 7/20]: Starting on 7/24 at 12:01am, re-tightening of COVID-19 restrictions for bars, restaurants, gyms, and personal services. Read press release here.
    • Bars, taverns, breweries and other establishments that serve alcohol for on-site consumption without a Retail Food license will no longer be able to serve customers indoors.
      • Restaurants that serve alcohol will be allowed to continue to operate as long as they abide by ongoing COVID-19 guidance and existing regulations.
      • Establishments without food may still provide outdoor service as they did under phase three.
    • Maximum party size and table occupancy at restaurants, bars, taverns and breweries will be reduced to six people.
    • Indoor fitness class size will be reduced to a maximum of 10 people.
    • Personal services requiring the removal of face coverings will no longer be permitted (shaves, facials, etc.).
    • Residential property managers will be asked to limit guest entry to five per unit to avoid indoor gatherings and parties.



Access to Capital Programs (Loans, Grants, Mortgage Forbearance)

Financial Resources & Lists:



  • Business Invest: Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program:
    • This program was created by the Illinois State Treasurer, but you apply directly to participating banks. Banks ultimately decide rates, terms, and approval. The Treasurer has capped interest rates at 4.75% but your rate can be cheaper. Many (small) banks are using these funds to fund PPP or SBA loans.
    • Please note, there are not a lot of banks in Cook County currently participating, but you can apply at any participating bank regardless if you are not a current customer. See list of participating banks under the Business Invest column here.
      • Eligible Illinois businesses, independent contractors, 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.
      • Interest cap capped at 4.75% but your rate may be lower.
      • Note: State funds will be deposited with qualified financial institutions for a 1-year term at a near-zero deposit rate of 0.01%. Deposited funds facilitate affordable loans  to small businesses and non-profits to be used to provide bridge funding, pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills. Rates are capped at 4.75%.
    • Visit website for more information here
  • State Farm Insurance and LISC Chicago Loans: OPEN NOW
    • State Farm Insurance is stepping up to the plate by offering $10 million in loans to small businesses, nonprofits, and community development financial institutions (CDFIs). If you are interested, email for more details. You will fill out this form asking for basic information. The program website is currently being created.
      • Businesses: women, minority, and veteran led small businesses that provide vital goods, services, and jobs in communities in most danger of permant closure
      • Nonprofit: social enterprises with less than $5m in revenue
      • CDFIs (like ACCION)
    • Learn more about LISC Chicago here
  • PayPal Business Loan: NOW OPEN
  • PayPal Working Capital: NOW OPEN
  • Quickbooks Capital: NOW OPEN
    • To be eligible to apply for QuickBooks Capital, you must have:
      • Clear picture of your business, 6 months of activity within your QuickBooks account
      • Personal and business credit history, typically a personal FICO score of 620 or higher
      • Primary business bank accounts connected through QuickBooks Capital
      • Revenue of at least $50,000 over the past 12 months
    • Learn more about their small business loans
    • Funding ranges from $5,000 - $100,000; interest rates will vary from 3% - 9% based on credit
  • Square Capital: NOW OPEN
  • Cook County Community Relief Fund: NOT FOR CITY
    • FYI - this is ONLY for Suburban Cook County businesses, nonprofits, community based organizations, and 1099 independent contractors.
    • Learn more here.
  • IL Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loan:
    NOW OPEN (cash advance no longer available)

    • As of April 28th, per the SBA website: "With the additional funding provided by the new COVID-19 relief package, SBA will resume processing EIDL Loan and Advance applications that are already in the queue on a first come, first-served basis."
    • Still in process of applying? It is recommended to continue completing your documents so once more funds are available, there will be limited disruption.
      • Interest rates are 3.75% for small businesses or 2.75% for nonprofits.
      • Maximum loan $2m
      • Loans up to $25k do not require collateral
      • 50-60 day average for approval and payment turnaround
      • 11 month deferral option of first payment from date of promissory note
  • Payroll Protection Program: OPEN (extended until August 8)
    • PPP Forgiveness Calculator: Major changes were made to allow more flexibility - view this resources to manage your loan forgiveness (from June 4th)
    • Learn more about this program; once the application opens you can apply at your bank or any bank that issues SBA loans. This program provides loan forgiveness with the purpose to help you retain employees. The interest rate is capped at 4%. Administered by the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) allocates nearly $350 billion program that provides entities a zero-fee loan with the option to defer the principal and interest payments for up to one year. This loan could be used to cover up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs to be forgiven if the business retains its employees and their salary levels.
      • If your business wishes to re-open but your staff wish to remain on unemployment, issue them a written invitation to return. If they decline, it still won't affect your loan forgiveness.
    • As of April 3, The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) began authorizing loan applications through their Paycheck Protection Program. This program is designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The 2-year loan has an interest rate of 1% and can be completely forgiven for compensation expenses, rent or mortgage interest, and utility costs incurred for eight weeks after origination. Click here to learn more.
    • You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, or Farm Credit System institution that chooses to participate.
    • Use this tool to find a nearby lender eligible to issue a loan under the Paycheck Protection Program. A sample application form can be found here.
    • Who qualifies? Businesses, nonprofits, sole proprietors, and independent contractors.
  • Arts for Illinois Relief Fund: NOW CLOSED!
    • UPDATE: due to high demand, the portal is currently closed and will reopen on May 4th for both individual artists and arts organizations.
    • Artists, artisans, theaters, or arts/cultural organizations: The application is now closed. Individual artists and artisans – including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers – experiencing an urgent need will be able to apply for one-time grants of $1,500 distributed by 3Arts. Grants will be awarded through a lottery system and will be disseminated quickly. Additionally, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of any size will be able to apply for relief through the Arts Work Fund. Based on their demonstrated financial need, organizations will be awarded grants from $6,000 – $30,000.
  • Mortgage Forbearance: per the Federal Government from March 27, 2020 when the CARES Act was passed for only federally backed mortgages like Freddie Mac & Fannie Mae
    • Read the breakdown of Title IV of the CARES Act including includes mortgage forbearance and renter protection, a foreclosure moratorium, eviction protection, easing accounting standards for borrowers who miss payments, and changes to credit reporting requirements.
      • Individuals with single-family mortgages may write to their mortgage servicer requesting forbearance for 180 days due to COVID-19-related difficulties
      • Landlords with multifamily mortgages are provided 30 days of forbearance with the option to extend for an additional two 30-day periods (Section 4023). These borrowers also cannot charge any fees or penalties related to rent nonpayment, or late payment, for any tenants on properties funded by multifamily mortgages.
      • For 120 days after the enactment of the CARES Act, no tenant residing in a federally subsidized housing or in a dwelling covered by a federally backed mortgage loan can be forced to change dwellings through the filing of evictions by the lessor. The lessor cannot issue an eviction notice until the expiration of the moratorium period.
      • No foreclosure initiation with the exception of vacant property.
  • Fifth Third Bank's Fast Capital Loans
  • City of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund: NOW CLOSED
    • UPDATE: As of April 21st, they received 9,000+ applications for $100m.



  • Click here for several private grants for women-owned businesses and self-employed.
  • Heinz Co. Business Grants: NOW CLOSED
  • City of Chicago Business Recovery Microgrants: please note that North Park, Albany Park, and Irving Park community areas do NOT qualify. See the qualifying areas here.
  • Red Backpack Fund: NOW CLOSED!
    • The goal of The Red Backpack Fund is to provide the opportunity for women-owned small businesses and nonprofits to continue to operate and thrive in partnership with The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation.
    • Apply here for a chance at a $5,000 grant awarded to 1,000 businesses.
    • Future application rounds:
      • Aug. 3-10
    • The Red Backpack Fund by visiting our FAQs on The Red Backpack Fund here. Your business or nonprofit must meet all of the criteria below in order to be eligible:

      • You are at least 51% majority women-owned
      • You have withheld payroll taxes for at least one employee in addition to yourself
        • unfortunately, we are unable to accept applications from sole proprietors or individuals who exclusively employ contractors at this time
      • You are registered in the U.S. and its territories as a legal entity and have a valid EIN number
      • You have fewer than 50 employees
      • Your annual revenues did not exceed $5M in any of the past three years
      • You are 18 years or older
  • LISC's Small Business Recovery Fund: ROUND THREE, NOW CLOSED
    • Large companies have teamed up with LISC for $5,000, $7,500, and $10,000 one-time grants to small businesses across all industries. The app is simple and should take you around 20 minutes to complete. LISC is a reputable nonprofit community and economic development organization with offices across the US so it will be competitive; however, we highly recommend everyone to apply because our organization works closely with LISC's Chicago office on many community issues. Entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital are highly encouraged to apply as well as businesses who have 10 or fewer employees and those in operation for at least a year. If you don't fit this description, do not be discouraged - there are several factors they will be weighing, one of which are LISC-supported census tracts, many of which are in Albany Park.
    • Learn more about the LISC/Verizon/Sam's Club grant here.
    • Apply here for Round 3!
  • Salesforce Cares - Small Business Grants: NOW CLOSED
  • FACEBOOK cash grants and ad credits: NOW CLOSED
  • Beauty Professionals or Beauty Students: $500 - $1000 grants
    • Professional Beauty Association
      • As of July 17th, they are still accepting applications for $500 grants to licensed beauty professionals, as well as complimentary membership for licensed professionals and non-licensed salon employees.
    •  Horst Rechelbacher Foundation: 
      • $1,000 grants will provide financial assistance to beauty professionals or students of beauty programs, whose lives have been drastically changed by the mandated closures in response to COVID-19.
      • Who qualifies? Must be a licensed professional OR future professional receiving licensure in cosmetology, esthetics, massage or barbering in the US on or before March 16, 2020.
  • Restaurant Strong Grant from Sam Adams: NOW CLOSED
  • US Chamber of Commerce Foundation "Save Small Business Fund" Grant:
  • IL Hospitality Emergency *Grant* Program: CLOSED


  • Check with your bank on payment deferral options, waived fees, mortgage
  • Discuss flexible payment plans, payment deferrals, rent decrease, etc. with your landlord
  • LISC Chicago provides small business loans; download their flyer here.
  • nonprofit lender with 0% interest rates for up to $15,000 with a crowd-sourcing model and digital platform
  • ACCION: largest nationwide nonprofit lending network in the United States
    • Line of credit for businesses with clean credit from Jan. 19 to March 20.
    • Interest rate of 9% up to $25,000
  • SomerCor
  • Women's Business Development Center (start ups and existing businesses) who also helps with:
    • Business plans
    • Access to capital
    • WBE certification
    • Workshops & business cohorts
  • IFF



  • Announced on May 5th, review the Governor's 5 Phases here.
    • The State is currently in Phase 4. As of July 24th, the city is rolling back restrictions in Phase 3; see these restrictions/rollbacks here.
    • PLEASE NOTE: Chicago-based businesses must follow Chicago guidelines.
UI steps

Unemployment Insurance: Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

  • Self Employed, Gig Workers, and Independent Contractors (IC):
    • UPDATE as of May 8th: IDES is now recommending that ALL unemployed individuals to apply for benefits immediately, regardless of worker designation.
      • Independent contractors, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, and 1099 workers are now eligible for up to 39 weeks of benefits under the new Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program in the CARES Act.
      • However, IDES has emphasized that an individual must first be denied unemployment benefits in order to qualify for PUA unemployment. Once an individual receives a denial letter, it will become the basis for approval under a subsequent PUA application.
      • IDES will begin accepting applications for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program beginning Monday, May 11.
    • Here's how to prepare:
      1. Apply for regular unemployment before you apply for PUA
      2. If you applied for regular unemployment and have been denied between April 1, 2019 and today, do not reapply. Go into your regular unemployment account and set up direct deposit for payment.
      3. Have your 2019 tax return or proof of income ready and available
      4. Be prepared to certify
      5. Remember: You must submit a new application for PUA. The two systems are not transferrable.


  • IL Department of Employment Security (IDES)
    • Share with your employees, and see if you qualify as a business owner
    • Read the March 11th press release from the Governor's office here on benefits to cover workers without access to paid sick leave impacted by COVID-19.
      • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance - Creates a temporary Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program through December 31, 2020 to provide payment to those not traditionally eligible for unemployment benefits (self-employed, independent contractors, those with limited work history, and others) who are unable to work as a direct result of the coronavirus public health emergency.
      • Supplemental Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation -Through July 31, 2020, the federal government would provide an additional temporary Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) of $600 a week for any worker eligible for state or federal unemployment compensation (UC) benefits
      • Allows employers to receive an advance on the tax credit for required paid family leave implemented in Families First Coronavirus Response Ac from Treasury instead of having to be reimbursed on the back end
      • The bill includes $360 million for the Department of Labor to invest in programs that provide training and supportive services for dislocated workers, seniors, migrant farmworkers, and homeless veterans. This also includes funding for DOL agencies to ensure new Paid Leave and UI benefits are implemented swiftly and effectively.



Immediate Hiring



Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act



Legal Guidance for Businesses During COVID-19: G&G Law

  • Chamber member G&G Law is offering a "COVID-19 Employer Toolkit" to help you navigate these unprecedented times.
  • The toolkit contains easily-digestible information about requirements for sick leave, the difference between termination, temporary termination, and furlough, obligations to employees, unemployment for business owners, and more. The Toolkit is available for $329. After submitting your payment information, G&G Law will email you your copy of the Toolkit within one business day. More details here.



Webinars on Programs & Resources

The Chicago Department of Business Affairs & Consumer Protection will host a webinar to provide an overview of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, loan terms, requirements, and how to apply. To register for a workshop please email or call 312.744.2086.

Phase 4 (Recorded) Webinars


Previous BACP Webinars

    • To view the Small Business Capital and Coaching During the Recoveryclick here.
    • To view the Protecting Yourself Against Business COVID and Cybersecurity Scams, click here.
    • To view the Chicago Fair Workweek Overview-Part 2click here.
    • To view the Chicago Fair Workweek Overview-Part 1click here.
    • To view the Paycheck Protection Program & Other SBA Resources for Small Businessesclick here.
    • To view the Resources Small Businesses During the COVID Pandemicclick here.
    • To view the Navigating the New Stay at Home Orderclick here.
    • To view the Workers' Rights and Resources During COVID-19 webinar -Spanishclick here.
    • To view the Workers' Rights and Resources During COVID-19 webinar -Englishclick here.

BACP Workshops

Please visit on a rolling basis for more workshops usually on Wednesday afternoons and Friday mornings. Please email with any webinar questions.

The presentation will be the same for each webinar and additional webinars may be added soon!

    • Tuesday, 7/21 at 2:00 pm Webinar
      Overview of New Guidelines For Chicago Businesses
      Register for the Tuesday, 7/21 at 2:00 pm Webinar
    • Tuesday, 7/21 at 4:00 pm Webinar
      Overview of New Guidelines for Restaurants and Bars
      Register for the Tuesday, 7/21 at 4:00 pm Webinar
    • Wednesday, 7/22 at 10:00 am Webinar
      Overview of New Guidelines for Health and Fitness Centers
      Register for the Wednesday, 7/22 Webinar
    • Wednesday, 7/22 at 3:00 PM Webinar
      Nuts and Bolts of Business Planning and Financial Readiness For Start-ups
      Presented by Geri Aglipay, Small Business Majority
      Learn nuts and bolts for starting a sustainable small business that is prepared to weather economic changes through business planning from a financial readiness lens.
      Register for the Wednesday, 7/22 Webinar

    • Thursday, 7/23 at 10:00 am Webinar
      Overview of New Guidelines for Personal Services
      Register for the Thursday, 7/23 Webinar
    • Friday, 7/24 at 9:30 AM Webinar
      Facebook Small Business Solutions Webinar
      Presented by Facebook
      During this webinar we will walk through free tools businesses of any size can leverage to communicate with their customers and drive sales. The content will cover an overview of Facebook & Instagram shops (new), how to leverage Facebook Messenger and Whatsapp business tools (new).
      Register for the Friday, 7/24 Webinar

Illinois SBA Office Webinars:


Recursos en Espanol 

Social Distancing Guidance for Businesses & Groceries


GROCERY STORES: click here for more guidance from the Illinois Dept. of Public Health.

Business Social Distancing Guidelines (JPG)

Restaurants & Bars

SBA Illinois Webinars: Applying for Disaster Loans & Start Preparing Documents for Submission

If your small business has been impacted by coronavirus, join this free online training lead by SBA to learn more about the program including:

Eligibility requirements

  • Use of proceeds
  • Terms
  • Filing requirements
  • Additional small business resources

Register now to receive log on instructions emailed to you. Email the Lead Economic Development Specialist at SBA with questions: Carole Harris,

Upcoming SBA Disaster Loan webinars: sign up ASAP, these fill up fast!

Here are the documents you'll need to provide to complete the SBA Disaster Loan application: 

SBA Illinois Office

Taxes & Tax Relief - local, state, federal

  • Income tax deadline is now July 15, 2020
  • Business tax deadline has been extended to April 30, 2020
  • Cook County announces COVID-19 relief for taxes, fines, and fees:
    • Cook County Real Estate Taxes will now be due by October 1st (2 month extension) with no penalty or fees for deferring payment from the typical August 1 deadline.
    • Download the announcement here (pdf)
  • To further provide relief for businesses over the coming weeks, the City is extending due dates for tax payments until April 30, 2020 for the following City taxes:
    • Bottled Water tax
    • Checkout Bag tax
    • Amusement tax
    • Hotel Accommodation tax
    • Restaurant tax
    • Parking tax
  • Employee Retention Credit (ERC)
    • The ERC is a refundable payroll credit of up to 50% of “eligible wages” paid between March 12, 2020, and December 31, 2020. The credit is capped at $5,000 per employee ($10,000 of eligible wages).
    • Employers who were unable to obtain a PPP loan should consider whether they qualify to take the ERC. If an employer had a PPP loan funded, they cannot take the ERC. Taxpayers who are self-employed with no employees cannot take the ERC against SE tax.
    • Learn more here.
ssb_caresactassistance_02 tax credit

Other Resources

Press Releases from Government & Businesses

  • City of Chicago, July 20
  • City of Chicago, May 29
  • Governor Pritzker, Restore Illinois, May 5
  • Governor Pritzker, Stay at Home Order, May 1
  • Governor Pritzker Stay at Home Order, March 20
  • Mayor Lightfoot Stay at Home Order, March 20
  • City of Chicago, March 16
  • City of Chicago, March 19
  • Block Club Chicago, March 20
  • GrubHub:  announcement on fees
  • Square: refunding all software subscription fees for the month of March for existing sellers who currently use Square Appointments, Retail, Restaurants, Loyalty, Team Management, Payroll, Marketing, and Square Online Store.
  • Crain's Chicago Business: paywall has been removed, allowing for free use of its COVID-19 coverage. Go directly to their coverage here
  • Zoom Basic Plan: Host up to 100 participants in a meeting and hold unlimited one-on-one meetings with the video-conference provider’s complimentary plan. This does provide a 40-minute limit on group meetings, though you’re not limited to the number of meetings.
  • Yelp: CEO Jeremy Stoppelman announced the company is providing $25 million in coronavirus relief for independent restaurant and nightlife businesses in the form of waived advertising fees, and free advertising, products and services.
  • Facebook announced a $100 million grant for small businesses impacted by COVID-19 and launched the Business Resource Hub, which features recommendations to help small businesses stay connected to customers and stay on track. Click here to sign up to receive notice when the application is open.
  • Kabbage launched an online hub to help boost sales for U.S small businesses impacted by COVID-19, including a system through which businesses can sell gift cards to consumers for use at a later date.

Contact Us for Assistance

Alexa Schutz • • 312-860-7884

Dalia Aragonbilingual English & Espanol • • 312-860-8543

COVID-19_ Business Resources

Check if your business is listed on our new "How to support local businesses" page. This lists Go Fund Me's, restaurants open for delivery/takeout, operation notices, and more.

Missing from this list? Contact to add your information.

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Contact us

We are here for you, whether its clarification on COVID-19 updates, access to capital, marketing, and more. You can reach staff via phone, email, or text.


Alexa Schutz


Dalia Aragon (Spanish)

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