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.”

Governor Pritzker Announces Updates to Phase 3 of Restore Illinois Plan in Consultation with Health Experts

Bars and Restaurants Can Open for Outdoor Seating, All State Parks to Open

Building on a robust, statewide effort to ensure Illinois can safely reopen and following the data, science, and guidance from public health experts and stakeholders across the state, Governor Pritzker announced updates to Phase 3 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan.

“We are by no means out of the woods, but directionally, things are getting better. And because of these advances, we are able to make some modifications to allow more activity during Phase 3 of our reopening plan Restore Illinois,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Our mission has always been to get people back to work, get students back to school and return to as much normalcy as possible without jeopardizing the health and safety of Illinoisans.”

In the coming days, the state and IDPH will be issuing formal industry-specific guidance, particularly around workplaces and childcare, for business owners and employees in these and other sectors.

Bars and Restaurants

With Phase 3, bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Tables must be six feet apart and away from the sidewalks, masks and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed, and other precautions and guidance will be issued.

These measures will allow restaurants to re-open at a risk comparable to other outdoor activities, while giving the state’s hospitality industry a much-needed boost.

Municipalities are encouraged to help restaurants and bars expand their outdoor seating options.

To date, the administration has delivered over $14 million in small business grants averaging $20,000 to 699 bars, restaurants, and hotels across 270 individual cities in Illinois.

Outdoor Activities

With the start of phase 3, all state parks will reopen on May 29.  All concession will reopen as well under guidelines set for our retail and food service businesses in Phase 3. Illinois will permit the re-opening of indoor and outdoor tennis facilities with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) safety precautions and capacity limits.

For golf, in Phase 3, courses can allow foursomes out on the same tee times. Carts will also be permitted with one person per cart, or one immediate household per cart.

With the new ten person gathering limit for all activities in Phase 3, boating or camping with up to ten people will be permitted.

The state will be providing guidance on how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, and paintball courses can safely open their doors in Phase 3.

Health Clubs, Retail, and Personal Care Services

In Phase 3, health clubs, gyms, and fitness studios can provide one-on-one personal training in indoor facilities and outdoor fitness classes of up to ten people.

Personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.

And all retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place.

Local governments retain the right to establish stricter restrictions in any areas.

“The Governor’s action to allow for expanded outdoor dining options will benefit many restaurants at a time when every dollar counts and provides a glimmer of light at the end of this long, COVID-19 tunnel. Innovative outdoor dining strategies extend a lifeline – restoring jobs and offering guests the hospitality experience they’ve been missing while prioritizing public health and safety. Outdoor dining will not help every restaurant, but it is a constructive step in the right direction,“ said Sam Toia, President & CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. 

“The Allied Golf Associations of Illinois are grateful that we had the opportunity to collaborate with the Governor’s office to propose safely lifting some of the restrictions that had been in place for golf.  The Phase 3 changes will allow more people to enjoy the physical and mental benefits of the game, and do so in a way that is safe for both golfers and facility staff,” said Carrie Williams, Executive Director of the Illinois PGA and Illinois PGA Foundation.

Open DuPage

DuPage County, COVID-19 Reopening Guides

The following is intended to serve as a planning guide for reopening “non-essential” facilities in DuPage County. In no way does this document give the authority for businesses to open and all State of Illinois Executive Orders apply. The information is taken from industry experts, in accordance with federal, state, and county guidelines. As resources and guidelines are constantly changing, please consult the most recent documents prepared by these agencies for guidance.

Click the links below to download:

Reopening Guide for the Retail Industry

Reopening Guide for Commercial Office Space

Reopening Guide for the Manufacturing Industry

Reopening Guide for Restaurants and Food Service Facilities

 

Recap: Small Business Relief Grant Webinar

On Friday, May 15, Choose DuPage hosted an information webinar about the Small Business Relief Grant program. Below is a recording of the webinar. For more information on this program, including how to apply, click here.

Applications will be made available on Monday, May 18 at approximately 9:00AM CST. For questions, contact reliefgrant@choosedupage.com

Watch the webinar in English:

Watch the webinar with Spanish sub-titles:

RECAP: DuPage County Business Forum

Preparing your business for a post-pandemic world

On Wednesday, May 13th, Choose DuPage hosted the DuPage County Business Forum, a virtual event designed to help the business community deal with the impact of COVID-19. Nearly 200 small business owners and managers joined to hear about preparing their businesses for a post-pandemic world. 

The program kicked off with a welcome from DuPage County Board Chairman, Dan Cronin. The Chairman announced that DuPage County in conjunction with Choose DuPage is launching Reinvest DuPage, a small business relief program that will provide grants to sustain small businesses and independent contractors impacted by COVID-19.

Greg Bedalov, President & CEO of Choose DuPage followed with an economic outlook. Bedalov presented Choose DuPage’s Q1 Economic Indicators Report, which can be found here. He then expanded on Chairman Cronin’s announcement of Reinvest DuPage, providing the details of the program and encouraging attendees to join Choose DuPage for a webinar on Friday, May 15 at 11:00 AM CST to learn more, including how to apply (click here to register). More details about the program can be found here

Creating & Maintaining Company Culture in a Virtual Environment

Melissa Dimitri and Angela Jhanji of Grant Thornton gave a presentation on creating and maintaining company culture in a virtual environment. Their presentation touched on ways employers can show more empathy in order to keep employees engaged and help manage stress. They shared that leveraging authentic engagement can also lead to business efficiencies, and how employers should be prepared to accept the ‘new’ in the ‘new normal’. 

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE PRESENTATION.

Understanding the CARES Act & How to Begin Easing into the New Normal of Business

Bert Neuhring and Susannah Heitger of Crowe LLP gave a presentation on the CARES Act and PPP guidance, compliance, and easing into the unknown new normal. It included a series of recommendations for paycheck protection program recipients, such as building a case today around the necessity of the loan if you are requesting forgiveness. They also touched on compliance and reporting for the CARES Act, offering recommendations such as reading and understanding documents, determining if certifications are necessary, documenting decisions and activities, track and account for transactions, and document all costs for the forgiveness. 

The presentation also discussed how to write your own playbook when easing into the unknown new normal, along with a number of resources to help businesses.

CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD A COPY OF THE PRESENTATION.

For more information on the DuPage County Business Forum, please contact info@choosedupage.com

DuPage County Launches Reinvest DuPage

Small business relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage

DuPage County announced it will launch Reinvest DuPage, a grant relief program developed in partnership with Choose DuPage for small businesses and independent contractors. The program will provide grants to sustain some businesses impacted by COVID-19.

DuPage County will fund this initial program with $7 million in monies received under the federal CARES Act. Choose DuPage will administer the plan with support from DuPage County and local banking and financial experts.

“We are well aware of the devastating impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on our small business community,” said County Board Chairman Dan Cronin. “We believe establishing this small business relief program will sustain some businesses until they can safely reopen.”

The program will provide grants of up to $15,000 for DuPage County-based businesses with fewer than 15 full-time employees and less than $1.5 million in annual revenues. Monies received under the program may be used for payroll, rent, mortgage payments, utilities, and other expenses necessary to maintain operations. A 1099 contractor whose annual income is less than $100,000 can also receive relief through the program.

Recipients may not have received assistance from either the federal Paycheck Protection Program, the Economic Injury Disaster Loan, any state hospitality grant, or any local loan or grant program.

Choose DuPage will hold a webinar at 11 a.m. May 15 to discuss the program with DuPage businesses. Registration for the webinar can be found here and Choose DuPage will promote the program via social media and an email outreach campaign. 

The online-only application portal is expected to launch at 9 a.m. May 18.

Further details, and a link to the application can be found here

Choose DuPage Economic Indicators Report

Q1 Economic Indicators Report

Choose DuPage has released its First Quarter Economic Indicators Report.

Report Highlights:

  • DuPage County’s unemployment rate was 4.0%, lower than both the State of Illinois (4.6%) and the United States (4.4%).
  • The fastest growing industry in DuPage County continues to be healthcare and social assistance, employing over 77,000 people.
  • The average annual wages in DuPage County was $64,287.
  • Industrial vacancy rates are currently at 6.5%; office vacancy rates dropped slightly to 13.8% from 13.9% in the last quarter. Class-A office vacancy was 17.6% in Q1.

DuPage County is home to nearly 90,000 businesses that are taking advantage of the highly educated and skilled workforce. Together, these companies represent 653,705 jobs across a variety of industries. 

Click here to download the Q1 2020 Economic Indicators Report.

State Treasurer to Make Low-Interest Bridge Loans for Businesses Available as Soon as This Week

Illinois small businesses can tap into $250 million in low-interest bridge loans as soon as this week to help push through the COVID-19 pandemic, Illinois State Treasurer Michael Frerichs said today.

The state treasurer’s office will make $250 million available to Illinois banks and credit unions that wish to participate. The financial institutions will determine who is eligible for the loans.

“We can move faster than the federal government and its partners because we are not slowed by the partisanship that overshadows such efforts,” Frerichs said. “Part of ensuring the health and well-being of our residents includes making sure small-business owners stay solvent so their workers can be paid.”

Kraig Lounsberry, president of the Community Bankers Association, encourages its members to participate in this loan program. “Partnering with the state treasurer’s office will give community banks a powerful new tool to quickly protect small businesses suffering during this crisis,” Lounsberry said.

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office can move faster than others because facilitating low-interest loans is one of its core functions. These linked-deposit loans have been a staple for decades. The most widely known linked deposit is Ag Invest, which helps farmers with annual and long‑term loans to be used for operating costs, equipment purchases, livestock purchases, and construction-related expenses. Established in 1983, Ag Invest has provided more than $4 billion in loans.

Other linked-deposit models include efforts to assist workers impacted by a government shutdown; faith‑based organizations seeking facility improvements; and the legal cannabis industry.

“As someone who used to be in the restaurant business, these bridge loans truly are needed and will make a difference,” said Illinois Rep. Mike Murphy, R-Springfield. “Small business is the backbone of our economy, and now, more than ever, these businesses need to know state government is here to support them and their employees.”

“In Illinois, we can move more quickly than others because the treasurer’s office already has the authority to create these loan programs. These loans can help businesses stay solvent today, when they need the help,” said Illinois Sen. Scott Bennett, D-Champaign.

For more about the Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program, visit bit.ly/SmallBizRelief.

About the Illinois Treasurer

As Illinois State Treasurer, Frerichs is the state’s Chief Investment and Banking Officer and actively manages approximately $31 billion. The portfolio includes $13 billion in state funds, $12 billion in college and retirement savings plans and $6 billion on behalf of local and state governments. The investment approach is cautious to ensure the preservation of capital and returns $42 to the state for every $1 spent in operations. Frerichs’ office protects consumers by safeguarding more than $3 billion in unclaimed property, encouraging savings plans for college or trade school, increasing financial education, assisting people with disabilities save without losing government benefits, and removing barriers to a secure retirement. The Treasurer’s Office predates Illinois incorporation in 1818. Voters in 1848 chose to make it an elected office.

Breaking Down the Families First Coronavirus Response Act

Written By: Mark McAndrew, Rathje Woodward LLC

On March 11th, H.R. 6201 was introduced in the House, and yesterday, it was passed by the Senate and President Trump has signed it. Although a more thorough analysis of the 110 page bill is warranted, the following are my initial takes on the bill.

Food and Nutrition Service

Includes funding to ensure the domestic nutrition assistance programs have adequate resources to help those impacted by the COVID-19 public health emergency.

Emergency Paid Sick Days Program

Includes $5 million for the Department of Labor to administer the emergency paid sick days program. Senior Nutrition Program – Includes $250 million for the Senior Nutrition program in the Administration for Community Living (ACL) to provide approximately 25 million additional home-delivered and pre-packaged meals to low-income seniors who depend on the Senior Nutrition programs in their communities.

Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students Act Section 101.

Short Title. The short title for the bill is the Maintaining Essential Access to Lunch for Students Act or the MEALS Act. Section 102. Waiver Exception for School Closures Due to COVID-19. Provides the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to issue nationwide school meal waivers during the COVID-19 emergency, which will eliminate paperwork for states and help more schools quickly adopt and utilize flexibilities. Title II – COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act Section 201. Short Title. The short title for the bill is the COVID-19 Child Nutrition Response Act. 3 Section 202. National School Lunch Program Requirement Waivers Addressing COVID19. Allows all child and adult care centers to operate as non-congregate (i.e. they can serve outside the school or in individual settings) and waive all meal pattern requirements if there is a disruption to the food supply as a result of the COVID-19 emergency. Title III – SNAP COVID-19 Response Waivers Section 301. SNAP Flexibility for Low-Income Jobless Workers. Suspends the work and work training requirements for SNAP during this crisis. Section 302. Additional SNAP Flexibilities in a Public Health Emergency. Allows states to request special waivers from the Secretary to provide temporary, emergency CR-SNAP benefits to existing SNAP households up to the maximum monthly allotment, as well as give the Secretary broad discretion to provide much more flexibility for States in managing SNAP caseloads. Additionally, this language requires the Secretary to make State requests for waivers and the USDA response, as well as any USDA guidance on State flexibilities, publicly available.

Emergency Paid Leave Benefits.

This section creates a new federal emergency paid leave benefit program. Eligible workers will receive a benefit for a month (up to three months) in which they must take 14 or more days of leave from their work due to the qualifying COVID-19-related reasons. Days when an individual receives pay from their employer (regular wages, sick pay, or other paid time off) or unemployment compensation do not count as leave days for purposes of this benefit. The program will be administered by the Social Security Administration (SSA). Specifications include the following: 5 • Benefit amount: Two-thirds of the individual’s average monthly earnings (based on the most recent year of wages or self-employment income for which records are readily available), up to a cap of $4,000.• Program and benefit period: The benefits will be available for leave that occurs from January 19, 2020 (the date of the first U.S. COVID-19 diagnosis) through one year after the bill’s enactment.• Retroactive benefits: Benefits can be paid retroactively, and applications can be filed up to 6 months after enactment.• Application: Applications will be taken online, by phone, or by mail. Individuals will not visit SSA field offices to apply. Payments will in most cases be issued electronically.• Program integrity: Applicants must attest that they meet the criteria for eligibility and existing penalties for fraud or misrepresentation with regard to Social Security benefits are applied to the federal emergency paid leave benefits program.

Paid Sick Days for Public Health Emergencies and Personal and Family Care Act

The emergency paid sick days legislation:

  • Requires all employers to allow employees to gradually accrue seven days of paid sick leave and to provide an additional 14 days available immediately in the event of any public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis;
  • Requires all employers to provide an additional 14 days of paid sick leave, available immediately at the beginning of a public health emergency, including the current coronavirus crisis;
  • Ensures paid sick leave covers days when your child’s school is closed due to a public health emergency, when your employer is closed due to public health emergency, or if you or a family member is quarantined or isolated due to a public health emergency;
  • Reimburses small businesses—defined as businesses with 50 or fewer employees—for the costs of providing the 14 days of additional paid sick leave used by employees during a public health emergency;
  • Enables construction employees to receive sick pay based on hours they work for multiple contractors; and
  • Makes the bill effective immediately so that employees in areas covered under a qualifying Public Health Emergency, upon the date of enactment, can take 14 days of paid sick leave in order to address COVID-19.
Coverage of Testing for COVID-19.

This section requires private health plans to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider, urgent care center and emergency room visits in order to receive testing. Coverage must be provided at no cost to the consumer.

Section 102.

Waiving Cost Sharing Under the Medicare Program For Certain Visits Relating To Testing For COVID-19. This section requires Medicare Part B to cover beneficiary cost-sharing for provider visits during which a COVID-19 diagnostic test is administered or ordered. Medicare Part B currently covers the COVID-19 diagnostic test with no beneficiary cost-sharing. 

Section 103.

Waiving Cost Sharing Under the Medicare Advantage Program for Certain Visits Relating to Testing for COVID-19. This section requires Medicare Advantage to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the associated cost of the visit in order to receive testing. Coverage must be provided at no cost to the beneficiary.

Section 104.

Coverage at No Cost Sharing of COVID-19 Testing Under Medicaid and CHIP. This section requires Medicaid to provide coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing, including the cost of a provider visit in order to receive testing. Coverage must be provided at no cost to the beneficiary. It would also provide states with the option to extend Medicaid eligibility to uninsured populations for the purposes of COVID-19 diagnostic testing. State expenditures for medical and administrative costs would be matched by the federal government at 100 percent.

Section 105.

Laboratory Reimbursement for Diagnostic Testing for COVID-19 in Uninsured Individuals. This section requires the National Disaster Medical System to reimburse the costs of COVID-19 diagnostic testing provided to individuals without insurance.

Section 106.

Treatment of Personal Respiratory Protective Devices as Covered Countermeasures. This section requires certain personal respiratory protective devices to be treated as covered countermeasures under the PREP Act Declaration for the purposes of emergency use during the COVID-19 outbreak and ending October 1, 2024.

Section 107.

Application with Respect to TRICARE, Coverage for Veterans, and Coverage for Federal Civilians. This section ensures that individuals enrolled in TRICARE, covered veterans, and federal workers have coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing without cost sharing.

Section 108.

Coverage of Testing for COVID-19 At No Cost Sharing for Indians Receiving Contract Health Services. This section ensures that American Indians and Alaskan Natives do not experience cost sharing for COVID-19 testing, including those referred for care away from an Indian Health Service or tribal health care facility.

Section 109.

Emergency FMAP Increase. This section provides a temporary increase to states’ federal medical assistance percentage for the duration of the public health emergency for COVID-19. It requires states to maintain eligibility standards that are no less restrictive than the date of enactment.

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If you have questions about how these new laws may impact your business, contact them.

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