It seems like the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) has brought the world to a grinding halt. It should be everyone’s first priority during this pandemic to stay healthy and safe, but maintaining your business’ health is just as important.
As Congress and the Illinois State government work to maintain the stability of the economy, it is important to understand what programs are available to small business owners. Take advantage of the following resources so you can stay informed and lessen the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program
The program, totaling $14 million, will help small hospitality businesses. The grants (money that does not need to be paid back) can be used toward working capital, including payroll and rent, job training, and technology to support changes in operations. Bars and restaurants that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for grants up to $25,000, and those who generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000. The deadline to apply is Wednesday, April 1st at 5pm. Businesses will be selected through a lottery pool of all applicants.
Illinois Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
This fund, totaling $20 million, supports small businesses in downstate and rural counties in Illinois. Grants of up to $25,000 will be awarded to businesses with up to 50 employees. Local governments can apply on behalf of businesses. Applications will be offered on a rolling basis and will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27, for local governments to apply on a business’ behalf. For those who qualify, please work with your local government to submit an application.
Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund
This fund, totaling $60 million, will be used to supply low-interest loans of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment for small businesses outside of Chicago. The loans are available to businesses with fewer than 50 employees, and with less than $3 million in revenue in 2019. The form to express interest in this loan will be available by Friday, March 27th. Immediate application is recommended. If selected as an eligible business, you will be invited to apply for the loan beginning April 1st.
Illinois has made available a few options for small business grants (free money) and loans (need to pay back). Full details on all of these options can be found by clicking here.
Illinois Gaming Board Suspension of Renewal Fees
The Illinois Gaming Board (IGB) has suspended all April license renewal fees in recognition of the hardship COVID-19 has caused. The fees will now be due 10 business days after the IGB resumes statewide video gaming operations. Additionally, the IGB suspended billing through at least April 8, 2020. During this suspension, the IGB will not initiate any enforcement actions or assess any penalties for unpaid license fees that came due during this period.
The IGB has indicated that they are “monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 and will continue to make decisions based on science, public health guidance, and applicable law and rules.” Please stay up to date on all of the latest IGB information here.
Disaster Assistance Loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA)
Governor Pritzker’s issuance of a Disaster Proclamation affords small businesses the option to access U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Disaster Assistance Low-Interest Loans. The SBA announced it would offer disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million for small businesses affected by the coronavirus. These low-interest loans are available to businesses that have sustained “substantial economic injury” due to the spread of the coronavirus.
The SBA has created a comprehensive coronavirus page with all of its resources in one place. Please view that page here.
Main Street Lending Program from The Federal Reserve
This program is intended to support lending to eligible small and midsize businesses and is designed to supplement any other relief businesses may qualify for from the SBA. The program is still being finalized, and we will share the details when they become available.
Internal Revenue Service (IRS) & State of Illinois Tax Relief
To offer tax relief during the COVID-19 pandemic, individual and corporate taxpayers will have until July 15, 2020 to pay taxes owed. For more information, please consult the IRS website and the Illinois Department of Revenue website.
Banks and Credit Card Companies
Major corporations like Capital One, Citi and Wells Fargo have all issues statements that they are willing to work with customers who are experiencing financial difficulties.
JP Morgan Chase pledged $50 million to help businesses, nonprofits and other organizations during the crisis. Of the $50 million, $8 million will be specifically reserved for “small businesses vulnerable to significant economic hardships in the U.S., China and Europe.”
These programs may be unfamiliar to many. Here at Accel Entertainment, we are working to get a better understanding of how these programs work, what it takes to become eligible, and how to apply. If you have any questions, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with your phone number and availability and we’ll contact you.
Accel Entertainment is here to assist Illinois gaming business’ in any way we can. We are working to keep all lines of communication open and to pass along any new information as it emerges. Please read our latest updates here.