COVID-19 Community Survey

Choose DuPage, in conjunction with the DuPage County Health Department and the DuPage Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, is conducting a survey to better understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting people’s lives, and their attitudes towards public activities. 

To take our short survey, click here
goldfinger brewing

Goldfinger Brewing Company Opening in Downers Grove

The Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation announced that Goldfinger Brewing Company will open on July 31st at 12:00 p.m. Goldfinger is a new production brewery and 2,500 sq. ft. taproom located at 513 Rogers Street in Downers Grove. Goldfinger is an exclusively lager beer brewery with three offerings to start: the Original Lager, Pils, and Vienna Style Lager.

“We are a family owned brewery named after our ancestors: the Goldfingers, who brewed beer, dealt hops, and made brewing equipment in central Europe in the 19th century” said Owner/Brewer Tom Beckmann. “We look forward to serving everyone at our new brewery in Downers Grove.”

The modern beer hall style taproom features a 10 foot high glass giving customers a clear view of the production facility. The taproom is illuminated by wrought iron chandeliers, and includes artifacts from their ancestor’s brewing history, including 19th century newspaper advertisements. Goldfinger features an outdoor beer garden with two large tents. Guests can bring in their own food, or order in.  In the future, food trucks will set up in the parking lot. There is also a multi-purpose room equipped with a communal shuffleboard table and a dart board.

“We’re so excited that the Goldfinger Brewing Company is opening their new craft brewery in Downers Grove” said Mayor Robert Barnett. “Tom Beckmann is continuing a family tradition that began in Europe in the 1800s. We wish Tom, Alison (and Rembrandt!) all the best, and thank them for choosing our community – welcome to Downers Grove!”  

Goldfinger is taking the health and safety of their staff and customers very seriously, and therefore will only be offering outdoor seating and table service for now. Masks are required. For more information, please like them on Facebook, or visit goldfingerbrewing.com. The phone number is 630.541.9728.

The Downers Grove Economic Development Corporation is the official agency for economic development and tourism for the Village of Downers Grove. For more information, please visit dgedc.com.

Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report

Q2 Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage has released its Second Quarter Economic Indicators Report.

Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate was 12.6% in May; down from 14.8% in April. DuPage has the lowest unemployment rate in the region.
  • In May, 83% of those laid off said it was temporary.
  • Unemployment claims dropped 50% from April to May.
  • At the end of Q2, there were over 55,000 job opportunities posted in DuPage County.
  • The office vacancy rate remained at 13.8% in Q2, slightly lower than it was during the same time last year.
  • The industrial vacancy rate dropped to 6%, from 6.5% during Q1.

Click here to download the Q2 2020 Economic Indicators Report.

Hugh Elliott named private-sector co-chair of Choose DuPage

Choose DuPage is pleased to announce Hugh Elliott, principal at accounting firm Dugan & Lopatka, has been named private sector co-chair of the Choose DuPage Economic Development Alliance, joining chairman of DuPage County Board and public sector co-chair, Dan Cronin. Elliott will serve as elected private sector co-chair for a two-year term.

“Choose DuPage plays an important role in the success of DuPage County,” said Elliott. “As we navigate the reopening of our economy in the coming months, public and private sector collaboration will be critical. As the collective voice of the business community, Choose DuPage opens the dialogue for these important discussions.”

A long-time Choose DuPage board member, Elliott moves into his new role as co-chair after having served on the board of directors for Choose DuPage since 2007. In his position at Dugan & Lopatka, he oversees the audit & review practice of the firm for privately held businesses in a wide variety of industries as well as for nonprofit organizations. Dugan & Lopatka was established over 45 years ago and is located along the I-88 corridor in Warrenville. The firm is consistently recognized as a top accounting firm in the region.

“Hugh is a respected business leader with an unwavering commitment to serve DuPage County’s  business community. His dedication to the mission of Choose DuPage and to supporting economic development in our region makes him the right choice to help our Choose DuPage members, and all our local businesses navigate these unique and challenging times. Together we will continue to foster a collaborative public/private partnership that encourages prosperity for DuPage,” said DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.  

Hugh Elliott is a Certified Public Accountant and member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA), the Illinois CPA Society (ILCPA), and the ILCPA Peer Review Acceptance Committee.

Elliott assumes the position of private-sector co-chair following Ahmed Elganzouri, deputy general counsel at Edward-Elmhurst Health. Elganzouri served as private-sector co-chair for two years from 2018-2020.

In addition to Elliott being named private sector co-chair, the following members were elected to positions on the Choose DuPage Executive Committee.

Executive Committee Members

Public Sector Co-Chair
The Honorable Dan Cronin, Chairman, DuPage County Board

Private Sector Co-Chair
Hugh Elliott, Dugan & Lopatka

Immediate Past Private-Sector Co-Chair
Ahmed Elganzouri, Edward-Elmhurst Health

Private Sector Vice Co-Chair
Diana Riekse, CBRE

Secretary
Mike Roth, Ice Miller LLP

Treasurer
Sue Pittacora, Corterra Solutions

Choose DuPage
Greg Bedalov, President & CEO

Finance Committee Chair
Chris Pohlman, Mesirow Financial

Marketing Committee Chair
Ray Kinney, MACLYN & Blooming Color

Programming & Development Committee Co-Chairs
Diana Riekse, CBRE
Karyn Charvat, PowerForward DuPage

Public Policy Committee Co-Chairs
John Quinn, AT&T
Sean McCarthy, Comcast – Greater Chicago Region

Workforce Committee Chair
Dan Allen, CISCO

DuPage County
Joan Olson, Chief Communications Officer

To view a full list of board members, click here.

SBA Offers Disaster Assistance to Businesses and Residents of Illinois Affected by Civil Unrest

Illinois businesses and residents affected by civil unrest on May 26 through June 8, 2020 can apply for low-interest disaster loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration, Administrator Jovita Carranza announced today.

Administrator Carranza made the loans available in response to a letter from Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on June 22, requesting a disaster declaration by the SBA. The declaration covers Cook County and the adjacent counties of DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and Will in Illinois and Lake in Indiana.

“The SBA is strongly committed to providing the people of Illinois with the most effective and customer-focused response possible to assist businesses of all sizes, homeowners and renters with federal disaster loans,” said Carranza. “Getting businesses and communities up and running after a disaster is our highest priority at SBA.”

In accordance with health precautions for the Coronavirus (COVID-19), the SBA will not establish a field presence to assist survivors. However, SBA will continue to provide first class customer service and conduct outreach virtually with webinars, skype calls, phone assistance and step-by-step application assistance. To this end SBA has opened a Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC) to help survivors apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via the SBA’s secure website and there are virtual customer support representatives available to assist applicants with completing the online application. The VDLOC information:

Virtual Disaster Loan Outreach Center (VDLOC)
Open: Monday – Friday
Hours: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Closed: Saturdays and Sundays
Closed: Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day
FOCE-Help@sba.gov
Phone: (571) 422-6016, (470) 363-6079

These services are only available for the Illinois disaster declaration as a result of the civil unrest on May 26 through June 8, 2020 and not for COVID-19 related assistance.

Business owners and residents should contact the SBA Customer Service Representatives at (571) 422-6016 and (470) 363-6079 to schedule an appointment for immediate one-on-one assistance in completing their applications. The Center will be closed Friday, July 3 in observance of Independence Day. Requests for SBA disaster loan program information may be obtained by emailing FOCE-Help@sba.gov. The SBA will conduct extensive outreach to ensure that all impacted by the disaster are afforded the opportunity to seek assistance.


“Businesses and private nonprofit organizations may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace disaster damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory, and other business assets,” said SBA’s Illinois District Director Robert Steiner.


For small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture and most private nonprofit organizations, the SBA offers Economic Injury Disaster Loans to help meet working capital needs caused by the disaster. Economic Injury Disaster Loan assistance is available regardless of whether the business suffered any physical property damage.


“Loans up to $200,000 are available to homeowners to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate. Homeowners and renters are eligible for loans up to $40,000 to repair or replace damaged or destroyed personal property,” said Kem Fleming, center director of SBA’s Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.
Applicants may be eligible for a loan amount increase up to 20 percent of their physical damages, as verified by the SBA for mitigation purposes. Eligible mitigation improvements may include a safe room, signage, facility hardening such as fencing and non-combustible materials, and electronic security measures to help protect property and occupants from future damage caused by a similar disaster.


Interest rates are as low as 3 percent for businesses, 2.75 percent for nonprofit organizations, and 1.25 percent for homeowners and renters with terms up to 30 years. Loan amount and terms are set by the SBA and are based on each applicant’s financial condition.


Businesses and individuals may also obtain information and loan applications by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded at www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.


The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is Aug. 24, 2020. The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 23, 2021.

Stay Safe COVID-19 Signage Toolkit

From the DuPage County Health Department

As our state and communities begin to reopen, the DuPage County Health Department (DCHD) would like to provide resources to support you in continuing to promote safe practices for your business. To do so, they have developed a COVID-19 signage toolkit filled with a variety of Stay Safe messages in English and Spanish.

Businesses are encouraged to download the artwork and collaborate with a vendor of their preference to print an assortment of flyers, posters, window clings, and floor decals that meet their needs. The files are available to download as a PDF file and can also be resized as needed.

Any questions can be directed to the DCHD Health Promotions Team at healthpromotions@dupagehealth.org.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD THE COVID-19 SIGNAGE TOOLKIT

Gov. Pritzker Announces $900 Million Package of Equity-Driven Community and Business Grant Programs

Support for Working Families and Small Businesses’ Disproportionately Impacted by COVID-19 and Civil Unrest

On June 17, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker joined members of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucuses of the state legislature and small business owners to announce a package of state grant programs to support communities and businesses impacted by the pandemic and recent civil unrest.

The package includes more than $900 million across more than ten programs and four state agencies to help working families and small businesses who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19’s economic impacts, which was compounded by recent property damage and civil unrest.

“We are in a moment that requires a historic effort to mitigate this virus’s devastating effects on the health and livelihoods of the residents of this state,” said Governor Pritzker. “We must do so in a way that prioritizes those who were hurting long before we’d ever heard of COVID-19 – to be there for people who are in need, people who are falling through the cracks, people who never expected themselves to need a helping hand from anyone else – but now they do. With assistance from the federal CARES Act and in partnership with the General Assembly, including from the Black Caucus, Latino Caucus, and Asian Caucus, my administration has put together a support package of over 900 million dollars to lift up small businesses, working families and Black and Brown communities who have been hit the hardest by COVID-19’s financial impacts. I’m deeply proud to lead a state government so committed to being there for the people we serve.”

The economic toll of the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted residents across Illinois but has disproportionately affected households with limited resources who are least able to weather financial hardship. Businesses across every industry sector have faced significant economic strain.

To ensure families and businesses receive ongoing support to maintain their livelihoods, the new package of grant programs operate with equity requirements, ensuring that disproportionately impacted areas (DIAs) receive their fair share of support.

EMERGENCY RENTAL ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) is launching a $150 million program with $5,000 grants to provide emergency rental assistance to Illinois tenants who are unable to pay their rent. The Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) is expected to reach approximately 30,000 renters who are disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. The program will launch in August 2020 and run through the end of the year. Governor Pritzker will extend the ongoing residential eviction ban through July 31 to provide a smooth transition into the assistance program.

To address housing instability due to COVID-19, renters who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will be prioritized in the grants process. Eligible tenants must already carry an unpaid rent balance from March through present day and certify that the reason they were unable to pay rent was due to a COVID-19 related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to a property owner or landlord on behalf of the tenant and as a condition of accepting the assistance, landlords must agree not to evict the tenant for the duration of the ERA. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.

 
EMERGENCY MORTGAGE ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

IHDA is also launching a separate $150 million program for eligible Illinois homeowners with grants of up to $15,000 to provide support with mortgage payments. The Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) is expected to assist approximately 10,000 eligible homeowners who are unable to pay their mortgage. The program is also expected to launch in August 2020 and provide assistance through the end of the year.

Building upon efforts to mitigate housing instability, homeowners who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic will also be prioritized in the grants process. Homeowners’ income prior to the pandemic cannot exceed 120% of the area median income (AMI). Therefore, only homeowners with mortgage arrearages, or in forbearance, on or after March 2020 through present day may be eligible to apply. Eligible homeowners must be able to certify that the reason they could not pay their mortgage in full was due to a COVID-19-related loss of income on or after March 1, 2020. The assistance will be paid directly to the mortgagor’s loan servicer on behalf of the homeowner. Assistance will be available on a first-come, first-approved basis until the funds are exhausted.

 
NEW BUSINESS INTERRUPTION GRANTS PROGRAM

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will launch the first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG) by providing $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The BIG Program is available for up to 3,500 businesses that experienced a limited ability to operate due to COVID-19 related closures. DCEO will begin distributing funds to qualifying businesses in early July. The total program funding will amount to at least $540 million in grants for small businesses, $270 of which has been set aside for childcare providers, and is funded by the CARES Act.

In the first wave of grants, priority will be given to small businesses that have been heavily restricted or completely shut down during the pandemic and are located in DIAs. Businesses eligible for the program must have experienced extreme hardship, demonstrated by eligible costs or losses in excess of the grant amount, since March and may continue to face depressed revenues or closure. Businesses must also have been in operation for at least three months prior to March 2020. An emphasis will also be placed on those businesses that are located in areas that have experienced recent property damage due to civil unrest, exacerbating the economic impacts of COVID-19.

Specifically, the program includes support for:

• Businesses in DIAs – $20 million for businesses that are located in a subset of DIAs that have recently experienced significant property damage, providing 1,000 grants of $20,000 each
• Bars and Restaurants – $20 million for bars and restaurants unable to offer outside service, providing at least 1,000 grants of up to $20,000 each
• Barbershops and Salons – $10 million for barbershops and salons, providing 1,000 grants of $10,000 each
• Gyms and Fitness Centers – $10 million for gyms and fitness centers that have lost significant revenue due to COVID-19, providing 500 grants of $20,000 each

DCEO will make the application for BIG available on Monday, June 22.

DISTRESSED CAPITAL PROGRAM

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s new economic recovery program will provide $25 million to support Illinois businesses that have sustained property damage as a result of civil unrest during the recent protests and demonstrations on or after May 25, 2020.

The Distressed Capital Program will reimburse the costs to repair structural damages, including repairs to storefronts and entrances, improving electrical systems, and restoring exterior work.

The program will prioritize small businesses, women and minority-owned businesses, underinsured or uninsured businesses, businesses that have a high community impact – such as grocery stores – and businesses in communities that have experienced historic disinvestment.

The Rebuild Distressed Communities NOFO will solicit applications from regional and local organizations that will perform outreach, coordinate local qualified vendors, and provide funds to cover the cost of repairs and building improvements for businesses in their region. The Distressed Capital Program also includes provisions to ensure BEP-certified contractors, including minority- and women-owned businesses, are the first in line to do the repair work.

DCEO will invite applications for the Distressed Capital Program with a NOFO made available on Monday, June 22.

POVERTY ALLEVIATION STRATEGIES

The Department of Human Services (IDHS) will provide $32.5 million in an effort to immediately mitigate poverty in Illinois and respond to the needs of hard-hit communities by COVID-19 and by the civil unrest. The program will support more than 73,000 people across the state by building upon contracts and services to target communities disproportionately affected by the pandemic. The actions will begin in June and extend through the summer.

Specifically, the IDHS strategies will provide:

• Unemployed Adults – Stipends of up to $4 million to help rebuild businesses 
• Summer Youth Providers – More than $6 million to empower and engage youth and help rebuild communities
• Foods Banks – $2 million to expand the capacity to feed hungry families in the hardest hit areas
• Illinois Black and Brown Farmers – $1 million to increase the availability of fresh food and produce
• Mental Health Services – $2 million to help meet the increased demand for crisis services and better serve diverse communities
• Community-Based Organizations – $5 million to provide small grants for healing circles, restorative justice circles, and other healing activities
• Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) – One-time $500 payment to help ensure food security, totaling $11.5 million 

Additionally, the Department on Aging will expand the Emergency Senior Services Funds by providing up to $5 million to support senior residents in need of meals, groceries, medicine, and medical care. The funding will assist seniors who may not have been able to access necessary supplies due to damages to physical locations in their communities. The department will utilize the statewide case coordinator units (CCUs) throughout the Aging network to take referrals from all Aging providers for services.

CityGate Hospitality Restaurant Brands Launch Community Giving Program

Press Release

NAPERVILLE, IL (May 11, 2020) – CityGate Grille, Che Figata and Tap In Pub, in conjunction with the John P Calamos Foundation, today launched an effort to raise funds for five local nonprofits by adding a donation option to their online menus. 

The John P Calamos Foundation pledged donations ranging from $10,000 to $25,000 each for the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry, Naperville Education Foundation, Indian Prairie Educational Foundation, Career & Networking Center, and Naperville’s community television station, NCTV-17. Individuals ordering online from the three CityGate Hospitality restaurant brands can add to the funds in $5 increments when placing online carryout orders.

“We selected these organizations as they are cornerstones of the community and have either suffered loss of projected funds or increased demand for services due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CityGate Hospitality SVP and Chief Operating Officer Mae Calamos. “Recognizing that members of the community also want to offer support, we’ve added the donation option to our contact-free online transactions.”

According to the Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry website, every $10 donated equals $70 of food. The organization currently is feeding 5,000 people per week. 

Naperville Education Foundation is providing crisis services directly to more than 80 at-risk District 203 students and their families impacted by COVID-19. 

“The thought of being able to continue to provide immediate support to our most vulnerable Naperville 203 families is so heartwarming,” said Naperville Education Foundation Executive Director Wendy L Goettsch. “The bonus of the online give-back program is icing on the cake!”

Typically serving 5,000 District 204 students with free and reduced lunch, the Indian Prairie Educational Foundation now is providing meals to an additional 70 COVID-19 affected families.

“We are so incredibly grateful for the tremendous generosity towards our students and families in need,” said Community Relations Coordinator Lisa Schwarz-Barry. “This donation will make a significant impact on our families in crisis.”

Career & Networking Center, formerly Community Career Center, is facing increased demand for its services as more members of the community face uncertainty in their employment due to COVID-19.

“This is life-changing for the Center,” said Executive Director Kimberly White. “It will have a real impact on people’s lives in our community.”

NCTV-17 has continued fulfilling its mission to bring a uniquely local perspective to the news and keeping its community informed while suffering a significant loss of revenue from its coverage of sports and events canceled due to the pandemic.

“As a community television station, NCTV17 plays a vital role in keeping Naperville residents informed and connected with timely, accurate and local news about what’s happening in their hometown,” said the station’s Executive Director Elizabeth Braham Spencer. “In these unprecedented times, local news really matters and NCTV17 is there to deliver it on a daily basis.

“The NCTV17 Board of Directors and staff would like to thank the John P Calamos Foundation for their generous donation to help us continue to deliver our important mission of telling local stories on air and online,” Spencer added.

In addition to the donation and fundraising effort, some CityGate Hospitality Associates facing reduced work hours are volunteering with Aurora Interfaith Food Pantry in an effort led by Che Figata Sous Chef Tom Marquez.

To contribute to these organizations through the CityGate Hospitality effort, community members can visit www.citygatecentre.com/carryout for online ordering at CityGate Grille, Che Figata and Tap In Pub, where they can select any one or all of the organizations and donate in increments of $5 added to their food and beverage order.

CityGate Hospitality LLC manages Hotel Arista, CityGate Grille, Che Figata, Tap In Pub, Lavazza Naperville, Zorba Cocktail Bar, Arista Spa & Salon and Olympus Executive Fitness Center, all located on the CITYGATE campus at Rte. 59 and Ferry Rd., alongside I-88, in Naperville.

Governor Pritzker Releases Guidelines for Businesses and Workplaces to Safely Reopen During Phase 3 of Restore Illinois

Springfield – Governor JB Pritzker [May 24, 2020] released industry-specific guidelines that allow for the safe re-opening of businesses as the state progresses into the next phase of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions of the state are on track to advance to Phase 3 of the plan in the coming days, allowing thousands of residents to return to work, and the reopening of businesses in the following industries: retail, offices, manufacturing, barbershops and salons, summer programs, various outdoor recreation activities and bars and restaurants for outdoor dining. 

Guidelines as well as toolkits for businesses can be found on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website, HERE

“In every aspect of our pandemic response, and especially as we begin to safely reopen meaningful swaths of our economy, our number one priority must be the health and safety of our workers, our customers, and Illinoisans at large,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “The industry-specific baseline guidance for businesses the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity released today will help employers re-open their doors in Phase 3 in line with that priority. In order to cover as many unique aspects of industry as possible, my administration collected input from hundreds of industry participants across the state and these guidelines reflect the questions and ideas brought to us by businesses of every size, background, and region in the state – and prioritize public health as our guiding light. You can’t build a strong economy if people aren’t comfortable being a part of it.”

Phase 3 of Restore Illinois is expected to bring approximately 700,000 Illinoisans back to the workplace, a key step towards getting the Illinois economy back on track—with an estimated 20 percent, or $150 billion in annual GDP, of the overall economy returned to operations.

In addition to industry-specific guidelines, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) developed a common set of standards all businesses must follow. Those standards include the required use of face coverings, social distancing, and informational signage on site, among other preventative measures. 

DCEO also developed a downloadable toolkit for businesses to help them re-open and comply with new guidelines.  The toolkit includes signage, training checklists and other resources to help business owners and workers implement safety procedures and precautions from IDPH. Materials will soon be made available in multiple languages, including Spanish, Polish, Chinese and other most commonly spoken languages in Illinois.

The Pritzker administration has launched nearly $100 million in resources in the past few weeks to help businesses impacted by COVID-19 – including the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program, the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, the Emergency Hospitality Assistance Grant, and the Fast Track Capital Grants. The administration continues to look for ways to provide ongoing assistance for businesses across the state. A full list of resources made available to small businesses and communities can be found on DCEO’s website.

“The move to phase 3 marks a milestone achievement in our efforts to protect all Illinois communities and overcome the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH will continue working closely with local public health departments, businesses and communities across our state to refine our public health response based on the latest data, expand testing and contact tracing, and sustain our overall progress in overcoming COVID-19.”

DCEO consulted extensively with over 200 businesses, industry leaders, chambers of commerce, industry associations and trade representatives from around the state to consider the unique aspects and operations of each business industry that is preparing to re-open. 

In addition to the return to work and reopening of specific businesses, Phase 3 permits the following: small group gatherings of 10 or fewer; participation in select sports and outdoor activities, including tennis, boating and camping; and other activities where safe social distancing can be practiced. Residents must continue to follow public health guidelines around social distancing, sanitization and face coverings.

“New guidance provided by the State today will help ensure a safe reopening for businesses, customers and communities at large,” said Michael Negron, Assistant Director of DCEO. “As Illinois works toward its recovery, DCEO is committed to providing businesses across our state clear and actionable guidance that will allow them to implement safe operations so they can get back on track.”

Restore Illinois is a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The phased approach is guided by health metrics and coupled with investments in hospital capacity, ramping up testing, and establishing a comprehensive contact tracing system to ensure communities continue to make progress in bending the curve of COVID-19. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized. All guidelines for phases are informed by public health data, a review of other states, and CDC guidelines.

“All manufacturing in Illinois will be able to operate under these guidelines as Illinois moves to the next phase of Restore Illinois. This is a milestone for the manufacturing sector that employs 592,000 women and men on factory floors, many of whom were already working on the front lines making life-saving equipment, producing food, or equipping first responders,” said Mark Denzler, President & CEO of the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association. “We appreciate the Governor’s Administration for engaging with the IMA and manufacturers across the state in this process and accepting some of our recommendations. Manufacturers look forward to releasing their collective economic might to help our economy recover.”

“The outdoor operational guidelines provided by Governor Pritzker and his team prioritize health and safety while allowing our state’s eating and drinking establishments to start bringing their team members back to work,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. “We are pleased to see Phase 3 outdoor guidelines extend to a range of food and beverage service providers, and while we recognize this is not a solution for every business, we are encouraged by the creative plans in progress by local municipalities to implement measures that will help broaden the opportunities. This is one step forward in getting our restaurants and bars open in a safe, measured way while allowing diners to come back to the places and experiences they’ve missed.”

“While all of us are focused on maintaining the health, safety and welfare of our residents, we are equally focused on returning to an active, meaningful economy and positive, interpersonal social interactions,” said Brad Cole, Executive Director of the Illinois Municipal League. 

“On behalf of the businesses in Coles County, I appreciate the effort the Pritzker administration made to consider and solicit guidance from regional businesses as the state moves into Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan,” said Angela Griffin, President of Coles County Together. “Listening to leaders across sectors and across the state assures the nuances of operating a business in the central region are given adequate consideration in ways that both protect our citizens’ health and preserve their livelihood.” 

“Thanks to the Illinois Department of Economic Opportunity for hosting the Focus Group on Covid-19 and the impacts on business operations,” said Kevin Davis, Vice President of Pepsi MidAmerica. “We have maintained a very clean and safe environment as an essential employer throughout this entire process, so the check-list we went through was of value to confirm all of our responses and determine all of the areas to be considered.”

“The Great River Economic Development Foundation and several key Quincy and Adams County businesses were very appreciative of the opportunity to meet with representatives of DCEO to discuss our regional challenges, the status of our businesses and to work on strategies within the guidelines of the ReStore Illinois plan,” said Marcel Wagner, Executive Director, Great River Economic Development Foundation. “Quincy and Adams County have been working on a toolkit for businesses to use which aligned very well with the information in presented yesterday by DCEO.  All of our participating businesses felt that our information was well received and be a part of the Phase 3 planning.”

“As we start to reopen our businesses and workplaces, having guidelines and best practices will be beneficial to our employers and staff.  Thank you for taking time to hear local input into the process,” said Alene Carr, Executive Director of Southeastern Regional Planning.  

“The Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance appreciates Illinois DCEO allowing us and our area businesses to provide feedback and suggestions for these important guidelines,” said Ryan McCrady, CEO of Springfield Sangamon Growth Alliance, Springfield Illinois. “Gaining input from those businesses affected by the guidelines will certainly improve the compliance and practicality of the provisions.”

“The Quad Cities Chamber continues to advocate for a timely, safe and responsible reopening of the Quad Cities economy. I appreciate Governor Pritzker’s willingness to allow us to review and provide input on Illinois’ draft guidelines in advance of their release,” said Paul Rumler, CEO of Quad Cities Chamber. “As impacted Illinois businesses look forward to the Phase 3 reopening, the Chamber asks the state to provide clear guidelines to companies for robust, yet manageable, health protections.  Doing so helps balance businesses reopening in a safe manner while also protecting the health of their employees and customers they serve.”

“The pandemic has brought Illinois’ tourism and hospitality industry to its knees and that has translated to more than half of the employees in the sector becoming unemployed,” said John Groh, President/CEO of Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Reopening our state’s economy safely, responsibility and sustainably is critical. So, I was very pleased to have bene invited to represent our local industry partners in reviewing and providing feedback on Phase 3 re-opening guidelines.”

“On behalf of the many health and fitness centers that operate as business units within Illinois Park Districts and Recreation Departments, we appreciate the thoughtful considerations made by the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Public Health in regard to Phase 3 opening  procedures,” said Ron Oestreich, Execitove Director of Bolingbrook Park District. “Our members’ health and wellness will be the ultimate beneficiary of these considerations.”

“Thank you for inviting me to participate in a very important subject for the region, keeping employees safe while operating a manufacturing business.  I believe we are in this together and need to all do our part in staying safe.  Being part of an essential business has allowed us to experience and develop our processes to help create the guidelines for a safer future,” said Erik Perks, Plant Manager of General Cable. “Greater Peoria EDC was happy to help DCEO put a focus group of local businesses together, and was appreciative of being allowed to provide feedback around some the guidelines.”

“We would like to thank the Governor’s Office and the DCEO for putting together the task force and listening to our concerns as local and small business owners. The open discussion was refreshing and informative,” said Stephanie Clark, Chief Executive Officer and Rebecca Garland, Chief Compliance Officer, of VeriFacts, LLC, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciated hearing the input of the other participants and plans for reopening,” said Angela Rowe, Owner of Decorating Den & Saline County Chamber.

“We would like to thank Governor JB Pritzker and DCEO for reaching out to the Greater Sterling Development Corporation to provide regional coordination of local business input into the guidelines being released for phase 3 of Restore Illinois.  When government agencies listen to business concerns, everyone benefits,” said Heather Sotelo, Executive Director of Greater Sterling Development Corporation. “Our hope is by participating in these conversations, we will keep our businesses open and provide a safe environment for our citizens to work, shop and eat thus moving more quickly to the next phase.”

“I appreciate the opportunity given to me from DCEO and Governor JB Pritzker inviting me to participate in panel discussions regarding the re-opening of Illinois, and given a chance to voice my opinions and concerns on the guidelines pertaining to retail establishments like mine,” said John Brady, Owner of JJM Printing, Sterling Illinois.

“I appreciate the chance to engage in the dialogue regarding the proposed reopening guidelines,” said Bart Hagston, Administrator, Jackson County Health Department. “Forward progress depends upon having solid, carefully considered guidelines.”    

“The Leadership Council SWIL supports DCEO efforts to reopen business in our region! We also appreciate guidelines that will inform the process of reopening given the current COVID-19 virus still existing in our communities. Reopening of our economy and putting people back to work balanced with a proactive and aggressive testing, tracking, and containment of virus hotspot areas will require all of us to lookout for each other by wearing masks and social distancing for the foreseeable future. This virus has brought out the best in many of us to do the right thing for the health of our friends, neighbors, and communities in a consistent and sustained manner,” said Ronda Sauget, CEO of Southwestern Leadership Council, Metro East. “Many businesses have worked hard to develop strong plans to follow the guidelines as appropriate for their business and for their customers. We salute all of the frontline and essential workers who have been working diligently setting a strong example for all of us to follow as we look forward to reopening more businesses. Please stay safe and we look forward to better times ahead!”

“The Professional Beauty Association is very appreciative of the opportunity to work together with the state of Illinois in a collaborative effort to implement safe guidelines for the reopening process of salons,” said Myra Y. Irizarry Reddy, Director, Government Affairs of Professional Beauty Association. “PBA applauds the administration for their careful approach to ensure the safety of licensed beauty professionals and their clients.”