The Economic Development Corporation of Decatur-Macon County has created this page full of business and community information as it relates to COVID-19. Please share this page with others as you see fit. We’re updating frequently as new resources become available.
We understand that each individual and business is different – and we’re here to help. If you have a question, want to share information about your company’s situation, and/or are in need of resources, please contact us here.
This page will be continuously updated with business and community information & resources.
On January 21, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced Region 6, which includes Macon County, is returning to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. Under Phase 4, the following applies:
- All employees who can work from home should continue to do so
- Continue to wear face covering that covers nose and mouth, maintain social distance of 6 ft., and frequently wash hands
- Continue employee health screenings upon entry into the workplace and mid-shift screenings for employees with shifts >5 hours (virtual screening permitted)
- Follow guidelines on capacity limits and group sizes (to be continually reassessed throughout Phase 4)
Restaurants & Bars
- Indoor dining and drinking now permitted for parties of up to 10 people
- Seated areas should be arranged so that tables allow for 6 ft. between parties; impermeable barriers may be installed between booths which are less than 6 ft. apart
- Standing areas (in restaurants or bars) should be limited to no more than 25% of standing area capacity
- Self-service beverage fountains are permissible with the additional precautions
- Continue capacity limit of no more than 50% occupancy
- In-person meetings of up to 50 people with social distancing permitted
- Continue health screenings, though employers may screen office employees via in-person conversation or questionnaire once at their workstation, or using virtual method
- Employers should conduct in-person COVID-19 screening of employees upon entry and a mid-shift screening if employee shift is greater than 5 hours
- Stagger and space shifts, and designate shift entrances and exits (when possible) to minimize interactions of employees across unique shift groupings
- Workstations should be disinfected between every shift and in between employee handoffs
- In-person meetings of up to 50 people with social distancing permitted
A full list of Phase 4 guidelines (for all industries) can be found here.
Restore Illinois – Phase 4
Governor JB Pritzker released plans on June 22nd to safely continue reopening businesses and industries as Illinois moves into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan. Working with public health officials and business representatives, guidelines were developed to keep workers and customers safe as the economy recovers. All four regions of the state are currently on track to move into Phase 4 on June 26 as the state continues to make significant progress in reducing new COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, with the average 7-day statewide case positivity rate falling to just 2.5 percent as of June 20.
To prepare businesses and employers to implement new and updated safety guidelines in Phase 4, the state of Illinois has developed this business toolkit complete with signage, posters, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest public health recommendations.
Phase 4 guidelines include five new industry categories and updated recommendations for the existing categories from Phase 3. Each set of guidelines includes a common set of guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and activity types, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.
Phase 4 allows for the safe reopening or expansion of several key business segments – such as health and fitness, movies and theater, museums and zoos, as well as indoor dining at restaurants. Phase 4 also allows for expanded gathering sizes, increasing the limit from 10 in Phase 3, to 50 people or fewer. This expanded gathering limit extends to key activities like meetings, events, and funerals.
Phase 4 Industries:
· Meetings and Social Events
· Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
· Indoor and Outdoor Dining
· Theaters and Performing Arts
· Youth and Recreational Sports Guidelines
· Film Production
· Service Counters
· Health and Fitness Centers
· Personal Care Services
· Day Camps
See an overview of the Phase 4 changes here.
BUSINESS FINANCIAL RESOURCES: NATIONAL LOANS
Paycheck Protection Program – Applications are now being accepted for 2021.
Click here for an updated message from the SBA.
CARES Act – The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses who maintain their payroll during this emergency. Importantly, these loans may be forgiven if borrowers maintain their payrolls during the crisis or restore their payrolls afterward. Updated PPP Lender forms, guidance, and resources are available at www.sba.gov/ppp.
SBA Disaster Loan (Economic Injury Disaster Loan)
The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). For more information on these loans, click here.
With 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. Click here for further information on the availability of the EIDL portal to receive new applications (including those from agricultural enterprises).
Honeycomb Crowdfunded Small Business Relief Loan
To help deliver the working capital that businesses need, Honeycomb is offering 45-day payment free periods, 6-month interest-only periods and reducing our posting, success, and investor fees. Learn more here.
Womply & FundRocket Loan: $1,000 Interest Free Loan
If you own a U.S. business, you can receive a no-fee, no-interest $1,000 capital offer, with flexible repayment terms, through Stimulus 2020 capital partner FundRocket. To qualify for the capital offer, a business only needs to verify a legitimate business bank account. For more information, click here.
BUSINESS FINANCIAL RESOURCES: STATE OF ILLINOIS LOANS
LISC State Farm Small Business Relief Fund Loan Program
LISC provides loans from $75,000 to $500,000 to small businesses through the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund. The program allows LISC to make loans similar to banks, but with more flexible credit standards to reach businesses that might not qualify for conventional bank financing. Learn more here and complete the business questionnaire for eligibility here.
Bridge Loan Program
The Illinois State Treasurer has announced a bridge loan program. For additional information on this program, please click here to connect to the Treasurer’s website or read the press release here.
Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan
Under the leadership of Governor JB Pritzker, DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000. Learn more here.
BUSINESS FINANCIAL RESOURCES: GRANTS
Business Interruption Grants Program (BIG)
The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is informing small businesses and communities that the application period for the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program will close at 5pm on Tuesday, December 15. This second round of BIG builds on over $49 million in grants awarded last month – with initial grants allocated to approximately 2,800 businesses in 400 communities in every corner of the state. To learn more, click here.
Ameren Small Business Assistance Grant
As part of the company’s COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery Program, Ameren Illinois is accepting applications from small businesses that are having difficulty paying their energy bills. Now through June 30, qualifying customers can apply for a one-time grant, up to $500, to be applied to their Ameren Illinois electric account.
Grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until funds are depleted, or at the company’s discretion. Click here for more details.
In June 2020, Comcast NBCUniversal announced the development of a comprehensive, multi-year plan to allocate $75 million in cash and $25 million in media over the next three years to fight injustice and inequality against any race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual orientation or ability throughout the U.S. As part of that initiative, Comcast has considered ways to support small and medium-size businesses using resources from Comcast Business and Effectv, the advertising sales division of Comcast Cable.
Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned businesses have been disproportionately affected by extended closures in the wake of the pandemic, as well as continued social unrest across the country. These businesses are vital parts of our community. With that in mind, we have developed Comcast RISE – a program that stands for Representation, Investment, Strength, and Empowerment. Beginning November 24, 2020, the program will be open to all BIPOC-owned small businesses. For more information on RISE, click here.
Layoff Aversion Grant for Essential and Small Businesses
The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has made some funding available for our local Workforce offices to prevent essential, small businesses from laying off or furloughing employees. They are looking for businesses for whom these potential grant dollars would make the difference between keeping workers on or having to layoff/furlough. Click here for more information and to apply.
Macon County Emergency Response Fund for 501c3
Based upon the charitable structure of the Macon County Emergency Response Fund, these grants are limited to 501c3 nonprofit organizations, groups fiscally sponsored by a 501c3 nonprofit organization, or other charitable organizations able to receive tax-deductible contributions, such as schools, faith-based organizations and other public entities. The Fund is for nonprofit organizations in Macon County. To learn more, click here.
Arts for Illinois Relief Fund
The Governor introduced a new relief fund to provide grants for both individual artists and art/cultural organizations. To learn more, visit: artsforillinois.org/donate-and-apply. A special thank you to IMA member, Exelon, for their contributions to starting this fund.
Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
Macon County businesses that exist outside of Decatur city limits* may qualify for this program. Businesses must have 50 employees or less (including the owner) and have been in operation for at least three fiscal years. Private for-profit small retail and service businesses, or businesses considered non-essential by the Governor’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely. For more details and to apply, click here.
*Businesses within the Decatur city limits are not currently eligible for this grant. However, the City of Decatur is examining whether they can repurpose some of their CDBG allocation to be used for short-term assistance for businesses inside city limits impacted by COVID-19. The City will make an announcement soon, after obtaining clearance from the federal government.
Business For All: Apply for Grants Up to $50,000
Apply for grants up to $50,000 to support business growth, including $10,000 emergency COVID-19 Business for All Grants to help small businesses in crisis. To apply, click here.
Red Backpack Fund: Support for Women Entrepreneurs
GlobalGiving will be overseeing the fund, making 1,000 grants of $5,000 each to female entrepreneurs in the U.S. to help alleviate the immediate needs and support the long-term recovery of those impacted by this crisis. Click here to learn more.
Nav’s Small Business Grant
Nav is the free way to monitor your personal and business credit in one spot. Over 500,000 business owners use Nav today. The Nav Small Business Grant was launched to give $10,000 to help a deserving business take their company to the next level. If you’ve ever dealt with a tough business challenge but refused to quit, apply today.
LISC and Verizon
LISC will use the Verizon funding to provide grants of up to $10,000 to businesses facing immediate financial pressure because of Covid-19—especially entrepreneurs of color, women-owned businesses and other enterprises in historically underserved communities who don’t have access to flexible, affordable capital. Learn more here.
COVID-19 Ad Credits for Google Ads
Google wants to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) stay in touch with their customers during this challenging time. That’s why they’re giving SMB customers worldwide $340 million in ad credits, which can be used towards future ad spend, until the end of 2020 across our Google Ads platforms. Click here for more.
Self-Employed & Gig Workers, Freelancers, and Independent Contractors Unemployment Assistance
Beginning May 11, the federal government will allow self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors to apply for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). This program provides a total of 39 weeks of federally funded unemployment benefits to individuals not typically eligible for unemployment benefits, including independent contractors and self-proprietors, who have become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19. Read more here.
Affordable Care Act Special Enrollment Period
Governor Pritzker has joined colleagues in asking the White House to open a special enrollment period of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to cover Americans during this challenge. Illinoisans recently laid off can enroll in the ACA now as the program allows those experiencing a qualifying life event to join. Learn more at: getcovered.illinois.gov.
IDES Unemployment Benefits
IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. To learn more, click here. To listen to the IDES Conference Call hosted on Tuesday, March 24, click here.
Business Operations, Human Resources and Legal Q&A
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association have compiled answers for some of the most commonly asked questions and will continue to be updated as events unfold and laws change.
SBA Guide for Impacted Businesses
Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy. To learn more, click here.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Here is some guidance from the United States Department of Labor with regard to the new federal laws surrounding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act. This link provides a detailed Questions and Answers.
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and their partner, Scott Cruz and his law firm Greensfelder, have provided this article that includes information on tax credits for paid sick leave, the emergency paid sick leave act, and the family and medical leave expansion act. An additional breakdown of the tax credits from Plante Moran can be found here.
Legal Guidance: Work from Home, Employees Presenting Symptoms & More
Click here for answers to various questions all companies must know.
Sales Tax Deferral for Bars and Restaurants
To help alleviate some of the unprecedented challenges facing bars and restaurants due to COVID-19, Gov. Pritzker has directed the Department of Revenue to defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants — accounting for nearly 80% of all such entities statewide. Read more here.
Banking and Tax Payments
If your business has been affected and you are having difficulty meeting your loan obligations, please contact your bank or credit union on ways they can help you. We also suggest contacting your accountant to get information on tax return filing and payment extensions that may be available to you.
Working From Home Software
Although we may not be working at the office, there’s still lots of ways to connect and continue doing business. Here are some commonly used software platforms:
REQUEST FOR ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES
Requests for Essential Supplies
Illinois is facing a critical shortage of essential supplies needed by manufacturers, health care providers, and first responders. These include items such as N95 masks, gloves, gowns, ventilators, sanitizer, and more. All of these products will be used in Illinois to help our local communities. Check out the links below if you’re able to donate supplies or meals.
- Production or Donations of Life Saving Supplies
- Meals Ready to Eat (MRE) – The State of IL is looking for donations of MREs. Volunteer Organizations Assisting in Disasters (VOAD’s) like Salvation Army, American Red Cross, are asking for 1 million MREs. For more information, please contact Randy Prince with the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association at firstname.lastname@example.org.
RETURNING TO WORK
Webinar: When to Return and Reopen
The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association hosted a webinar that covered many points related to when to return and reopen businesses. The webinar covers topics like who should come back to work first, what employers can do if an employee doesn’t want to return to work, what considerations employers need to make, and more. To listen, click here.
As businesses prepare to open their doors, several reopening guides have been published:
Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Safety & Reopening Guide (click here for the PDF document)
Decatur Regional Chamber of Commerce Reopening Guide – including guidance for industry specific businesses (click here for the PDF document)
Additional Business Resources
Here are some additional helpful resources for your business:
COVID-19 Employee Rights Workplace Poster
Macon County Health Department
For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Macon County and preparedness resources, please visit the Macon County Health Department (MCHD) website.
United Way’s 2-1-1
2-1-1 is an easy-to-remember telephone number that connects callers with free information and referrals for community services in Macon, DeWitt, Moultrie, Piatt & Shelby counties. If you’re looking for help and assistance, give 2-1-1 a call today. For more information, click here. Also visit the United Way’s COVID-19 Resource page here.
To help our local restaurants during the mandated COVID-19 shutdown, the City of Decatur has created a delivery and curbside guide.
Businesses and school districts have worked together to help provide food resources for families who may need it. Here is a list of food resources.
Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the COVID-19. Check out some of these listed scams to help you stay safe.
Anxious about Coronavirus? If you are needing help and would like to talk to an anonymous crisis counselor, text HELLO to 741741 to connect. For more information, click here.
Additionally, the Illinois Department of Human Services’ Mental Health Division has launched a free-of-charge emotional support text line, Call4Calm, for Illinois residents who are experiencing stress or mental health concerns related to COVID-19. Individuals who would like to speak to a mental health counselor can text TALK or HABLAR for Spanish to 552020.
State of Illinois Website