Business Resources

Update – September 14, 2020

Chamber members and friends,

The Chamber Team is back in the office! We are eager to continue serving the business community – advocating for you and providing reliable information and resources to grow your business and the Greater Galesburg area.

Our offices are now open to the public with extra precautions in place! Please understand we wish to keep everyone who enters safe. Here is what our current policy is for visitors:

  • We require visits be made by appointment at this time. Call us at 309-343-1194 or email chamber@galesburg.org to schedule.
  • For the safety of our team, other building occupants and the community, we are limiting the number of people in our office space, including our conference rooms.
  • Conference rooms are now available for reservation with 50% capacity, 6-feet social distancing and sanitation procedures in place. We have introduced a smaller conference room making two options available. The large conference room can accommodate up to 10; the small conference room can accommodate up to 5. Please contact us to check availability.
  • If you are feeling unwell, please stay home.
  • Please maintain 6-feet distancing between you and anyone else. If you are unable to do so, please wear a face covering.
  • Do you have business questions? Need to chat over ideas? Brainstorm? Connect with other members and/or the community? Our Executive Director, Pam Gaither, is happy to mask up and swing by your location to talk to you one-on-one or we can meet virtually through Zoom.

27TH ANNUAL GOLF OUTING RESCHEDULED DUE TO WEATHER
PLEASE CALL 309-343-1194 TO REGISTER YOUR TEAM – SPOTS ARE VERY LIMITED!

The rescheduled annual event hosted by the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Galesburg Radio will take place on Monday, September 21st at Oak Run. Registration begins at 12 p.m. with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. If you were at the event on August 10th – you’re all set for this new date! Limited team spots remain if you’d like to join us.

RIBBON CUTTING CEREMONIES ARE BACK!

We want to celebrate your business with you and we are welcoming Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies back to our offerings! We know ribbon cuttings are known to be seen when a new business opens but you can also be considered for events such as moving to a new location or for milestone anniversaries! Even with social distancing and a lighter crowd, we can still showcase your big news and share it with our audience. Please give us a call at 309-343-1194 or email me anytime to discuss options.

We recently celebrated good things happening in the Greater Galesburg area! Check this out!

Meg’s Dance and Fitness is located in Wataga, IL. Owner, Meg Kremer, opens her doors on Monday, August 24th.

RESTORE ILLINOIS PHASE 4 BEGAN FRIDAY, JUNE 26

We are excited to see our state has moved into Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois Plan. As customers consider visiting their favorite retail stores, restaurants and other public places, best practices for consumer-facing businesses include being aware of how to help make people feel the safest while shopping. Please give your favorite retailers and restaurants grace as they navigate these new times.

NEW MASK POLICY AT BARS & RESTAURANT ESTABLISHMENTS FOR THE ENTIRE STATE OF ILLINOIS BY GOV. PRITZKER EFFECTIVE AUGUST 26, 2020

New guidelines went into effect Wednesday, August 26th and will require face coverings to be worn both in indoor and outdoor dining settings in all eleven regions in the state. Important information is linked at the bottom of this post.”Illinois residents continue to take important steps to protect the safety of our loved ones and neighbors. However, due to a recent uptick in cases, we must take additional precautionary steps when we are out in public,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Based on conversations and input from industry and business leaders, the State of Illinois is implementing updated guidelines which will allow restaurants and bars across the state to stay open while helping protect the health and safety of patrons and staff.”The revised guidelines recently announced build on both the statewide Restore Illinois guidelines as well as the tiered mitigation strategies that are implemented when a region sees consistent increased test positivity or hospital admissions. The latest data on regional test positivity and hospitals can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health(IDPH) website. More information about the Restore Illinois guidelines and tiered mitigation measures can be found on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.”Going out for food and drinks should not be a reason or an excuse to let our guards down in the fight against COVID-19,” said Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of IDPH. “IDPH and DCEO are updating current guidance to make it clear that face coverings should be worn in any situation where we are interacting with those outside of our immediate circles. We will continue to adapt our guidelines and institute additional precautions to help protect all residents that make up our communities.”Patrons are currently required to wear a mask whenever on premises, except while eating and drinking at the table or bar. The new guidelines ensure that while seated, interactions between business staff and patrons can happen safely to prevent possible spread of the virus.The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has worked with industry leaders, who have requested heightened measures to protect the safety of workers in light of the recent increase in cases, and to further reduce the risk of spread that could harm business operations.

The full release is available to read here: https://www2.illinois.gov/Pages/news-item.aspx?ReleaseID=21994.

NEW MASK GUIDELINES: https://dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois

REGIONAL POSITIVITY RATES: dph.illinois.gov/regionmetrics?regionID=1

RESTORE IL & MITIGATION MEASURES: https://dceocovid19resources.com/assets/Restore-Illinois/Resurgence-Migitations-Region-4.pdf

GROW GREATER GALESBURG PODCAST EPISODES NOW AVAILABLE

On May 27, we launched our first Grow Greater Galesburg podcast episode! This ongoing podcast will feature influential stories of positivity and growth from the communities in and around Galesburg, Illinois. Listen on any major podcasting platform and hear inspiration in the Greater Galesburg area. Sign up for email alerts to be notified when new episodes of the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s Grow Greater Galesburg podcast are available: https://bit.ly/3emBfZv. #GrowGreaterGalesburg

As always, please do not hesitate to reach out to me anytime. We are working for our community and we are here for you. Together we will #GrowGreaterGalesburg.

Sincerely,

Pam Gaither


FACEBOOK LIVE SERIES

LOCAL & NATIONAL RESOURCES

{BUSINESS TOOLS}

Governor Pritzker Announces New Mitigation Plan and Updated Regional Approach

Wednesday, July 15, 2020 – The administration has relied on science and data to guide its approach to battling COVID-19 from the very beginning and will continue to do so when determining the metrics and mitigations necessary to prevent a resurgence of cases in Illinois.
 
The following metrics will be used to determine when the spread of the virus in a region requires additional mitigations:

(1) Sustained increase in 7-day rolling average (7 out of 10 days) in the positivity rate and one of the following severity indicators:

  • Sustained 7-day increase in hospital admissions for a COVID-19 like illness
  • Reduction in hospital capacity threatening surge capabilities (ICU capacity or medical/surgical beds < 20%)

OR (2) three consecutive days averaging ≥ 8% positivity rate

The updated guidance from IDPH establishes three tiers of mitigations that can be implemented should a region meet the resurgence metrics.
 
Some mitigation strategies in higher risk settings, like indoor bars and restaurants, will be automatically applied in a region that meets resurgence criteria to prevent rapid spread of COVID-19. A larger list of mitigation strategies relating to settings like retail, fitness, and salons and personal care will be available if testing and contact tracing data at the local level indicate those mitigations to be prudent.
 
The list of optional measures included in the updated guidance is not exhaustive. Other industries could require additional mitigation if indicated by the region’s data.

PLAN REGIONS

Mitigations will be applied on a regional basis based on the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Regions that have traditionally guided IDPH in its statewide public health work. Expanding to 11 regions allows for a more granular approach in this phase of the response to COVID-19. The new regions follow county lines to account for counties that are in more than one region of the EMS system.
 
The new regions are:

1. NORTH: Boone, Carroll, DeKalb, Jo Daviess, Lee, Ogle, Stephenson, Whiteside, Winnebago
2. NORTH-CENTRAL: Bureau, Fulton, Grundy, Henderson, Henry, Kendall, Knox, La Salle, Livingston, Marshall, McDonough, McLean, Mercer, Peoria, Putnam, Rock Island, Stark, Tazewell, Warren, Woodford
3. WEST-CENTRAL: Adams, Brown, Calhoun, Cass, Christian, Greene, Hancock, Jersey, Logan, Macoupin, Mason, Mason, Menard, Montgomery, Morgan, Pike, Sangamon, Schuyler, Scott
4. METRO EAST: Bond, Clinton, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, St. Clair, Washington
5. SOUTHERN: Alexander, Edwards, Franklin, Gallatin, Hamilton, Hardin, Jackson, Jefferson, Johnson, Marion, Massac, Perry, Pope, Pulaski, Saline, Union, Wabash, Wayne, White, Williamson
6. EAST-CENTRAL: Champaign, Clark, Clay, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, De Witt, Douglas, Edgar, Effingham, Fayette, Ford, Iroquois, Jasper, Lawrence, Macon, Moultrie, Piatt, Richland, Shelby, Vermillion
7. SOUTH SUBURBAN: Kankakee, Will
8. WEST SUBURBAN: DuPage, Kane
9. NORTH SUBURBAN: Lake, McHenry
10. SUBURBAN COOK: Suburban Cook
11. CHICAGO: City of Chicago

A map of the resurgence plan regions will be available on the state’s coronavirus website: https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/.

Ameren Illinois offers Economic Hardship Assistance

Economic hardship caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting residents in every corner of our state, from all walks of life. If you find yourself behind on your energy bill, Ameren Illinois understands. There is a clear path to maintaining the essential electricity and natural gas services you need… now and in the future. Visit their website for step-by-step assistance.

U.S. Small Business Administration

The SBA has a broad range of programs that can help small businesses through these challenging times including business advisory and lending services.  Call or email the Illinois District Office (312-353-4528, illinois.do@sba.gov) or go to www.sba.gov/il for more information.

In addition, SBA has created a webpage for COVID-19 related resources, including:

  • Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program
  • Guidance for Business and Employers
  • SBA Products & Resources
  • Government Contracting
  • Local Assistance

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Coronavirus Response Toolkit

The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus. Resources include:

  • Workplace Safety (OSHA Guidance)
  • Wages, Hours, and Leave (Fair Labor Standards Act, Family and Medical Leave Act)
  • Unemployment Insurance Flexibilities
  • Injured Federal Workers Compensation Act and more


COVID-19 Well-Being Toolkit for Businesses from OSF HealthCare

Understandably, there may be feelings of uncertainty and anxiousness, and the well-being of your employees is essential. The following toolkit is for you to use for your well-being and resiliency, but also to reference as you offer guidance, provide support and encouragement, and care for your employees, family, coworkers and friends. Click the DOWNLOAD button below for this interactive business toolkit from OSF HealthCare.

Stand for Small Business Resources

More than 40 leading companies (and growing!) joined forces to support U.S. small businesses. Launching on April 21st, the #StandForSmall coalition brings together valuable benefits from leading brands into an easy-to-use centralized digital platform. Their focus is to give small businesses access to relevant products, information, tools and services to support them during this critical time. Many offerings are free or low cost. Learn more at StandForSmall.com

SCORE’s Free Business Mentoring

SCORE offers practical advice and insightful tips based on years of experience. Their mentors offer free, personalized assistance to address the current crisis to help you adapt your business. Remote mentoring services are available via phone, email, video and chat. Find a mentor today.

USDA Federal Rural Resource Guide

U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue unveiled a one-stop-shop of federal programs that can be used by rural communities, organizations and individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The COVID-19 Federal Rural Resource Guide is a first-of-its-kind resource for rural leaders looking for federal funding and partnership opportunities to help address this pandemic. USDA has taken many immediate actions to assist farmers, ranchers, producers, rural communities, and rural-based businesses and organizations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information on these actions, visit www.usda.gov/coronavirus.

Illinois Manufacturers’ Association Resources

A comprehensive FAQ list is available along with a review of all past and upcoming conference calls and webinars. Governor JB Pritzker asked the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association and the Illinois Biotechnology Association to lead a brand new coordinated effort in Illinois designed to ramp up production of essential products, foster collaboration by companies wanting to help, increase efficiency, and address regulatory challenges.  Many wonderful partners are stepping up and engaging in this effort.

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.

If you have the ability to donate or provide these products, or need help finding suppliers, please visit their website.

U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Resources

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has made available a host of resources to provide guidance and answers to frequently asked questions pertaining to the COVID-19 related tax credits required for paid leave policies provided by small and midsize businesses. The resources and the FAQ document can be found on their webpage here.

{STATE OF ILLINOIS GRANTS & LOANS}

Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Illinois businesses will be able to apply to programs on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) website.

“Our department is leveraging every resource we have available to support small businesses in these challenging times,” said Erin Guthrie, Director of the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. “These funds will provide small businesses on the brink with much needed working capital to continue making payroll and paying other bills while our administration continues to advocate for additional resources from the federal government.”

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program

This new $20 million program supports small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois, providing grants of up to $25,000 to small businesses in communities served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development.

These grants will offer businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. The program redeploys Community Development Block Grant funds to support local small businesses. The grants will be offered on a rolling basis.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000.

Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply.  Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.Learn more about eligibility and how to apply here.


Ameren Illinois Announces Small Business and Nonprofit Electric Bill Grants

Ameren Illinois announced that funding is available for small businesses and nonprofits that have fallen behind on their electric bills. Under the company’s COVID-19 Economic Hardship Recovery Program, one-time grants of up to $500 will be provided on a first-come, first-served basis until June 30, or until the funds are exhausted. 

To be considered, businesses must have an active, non-residential account, 50 or fewer full-time employees, and a principal office in Illinois. Eligibile businesses may include, but are not limited to: small commercial enterprises, restaurants, clothing stores, hair salons, flower shops, and fitness facilities. Eligible nonprofits may include, but are not limited to: schools, day cares, senior centers, religious organizations, community organizations, and charitable organizations.  Grant recipients will have the funds applied to their Ameren Illinois electric account. To apply, visit www.AmerenIllinois.com/Recovery or call the Ameren Illinois Business Center at 800.232.2477.

{FEDERAL GRANTS & LOANS}

SBA Disaster Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration has authorized emergency disaster loans for small businesses and nonprofits in the Greater Galesburg area. Borrowers can borrow up to $25,000 unsecured at a 3.75% interest rate. Businesses with adequate collateral can borrow up to $2 million. Repayment terms will be worked out on a case-by-case basis. These loans come straight from the SBA rather than go through a bank. 

Applicants may apply online, receive additional disaster assistance information and download applications at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela. Applicants may call SBA’s Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov for more information on SBA disaster assistance.

Families First Coronavirus Response Act

On Wednesday, March 25, the U.S. Senate reached an agreement to pass a $2 trillion stimulus package to help combat the effects of COVID-19.

While the language of the bill has not yet been released, the Galesburg Area Chamber of Commerce is eager to see movement on the federal level to help stabilize the nation’s health system and economy.

The FFCRA contains provisions around unemployment benefits, paid family leave, paid sick leave and a host of other resources.

The U.S. Department of Labor published guidance explaining paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which took effect April 1.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act created new temporary paid sick leave and paid Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) programs that are 100% reimbursable by the federal government. The effective date of both programs is April 1 and they expire on December 31, 2020.

Both programs are in addition to any leave you already offer. More details are available here.

Paycheck Protection Program (updated 6/5/2020):

On June 5 the President signed the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act of 2020, which made several enhancements to the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP). This law gives companies more time and flexibility to spend the PPP funds in order to achieve as much loan forgiveness as possible.

Below are a few of the flexible changes made to the Paycheck Protection Program:

  • Extends the maturity for loans made on or after June 5, 2020 from two years to five years.
  • Extends the covered period from June 30, 2020 to December 31, 2020 for forgiveness of PPP loans.
  • Extends the covered period for the use of loan proceeds from eight weeks to 24 weeks.
  • Provides a safe harbor for small businesses from the rehire requirements if the business owner can document their inability to hire employees for unfilled positions by December 31, 2020 or their inability to return to the same level of business activity because of federal COVID requirements pertaining to social distancing, sanitation and worker safety.
  • Allows borrowers to use 60 percent of the loan amount for payroll costs and up to 40 percent for debt obligations, including interest on a mortgage, rent payment or utility payment.
  • Extends the deferment period for loans retroactively until the amount of forgiveness is remitted to the borrower by the lender (the deferment period ends for all borrowers 10 months after the end of the covered period).
  • Delays the payment of employer payroll taxes until January 1, 2021 for PPP borrowers.

Paycheck Protection Program application can be found here.

New EZ PPP Application Announced

New borrower-friendly Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness applications were recently announced. In addition to a revised version of the full application, there is a simplified and shortened EZ application requiring fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers who:

  • Are self-employed and have no employees; or
  • Did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25% and did not reduce the number or hours of their employees; or
  • Experienced reductions in business activity due to health directives related to COVID-19 and did not reduce the salaries or wages of their employees by more than 25%.

Details and application here.


Employee Retention Tax Credit Guide

The CARES Act created a new employee retention tax credit for employers who are closed, partially closed, or experiencing significant revenue losses as a result of the coronavirus.

The guide is available at:uschamber.com/ertc.

{OTHER GRANTS & LOANS}

{NONPROFIT RESOURCES & GRANTS}

Forefront, an association of Illinois grantmakers and nonprofits,has a webpage dedicated to keeping the nonprofit sector apprised of COVID-19 developments, available by clicking here.

Rapid Response Fund for Local Nonprofits

Galesburg Community Foundation, in partnership with The Twomey Foundation, the G.L. Vitale Family Foundation, the McClean Family Endowment Fund, the Warren County United Way and the United Way of Knox County have committed $145,000 to establish the Rapid Response Fund to support local nonprofits directly responding to emergencies or disasters impacting the communities and people of Knox and Warren Counties. Specifically, at this time, the fund can be used to directly support local nonprofit organizations on the front lines dealing with COVID-19. Grants from the fund will be made in collaboration with public health and safety response efforts, in the event they are needed. More information is available here.

The Galesburg Community Foundation was announced as one of 30 Illinois nonprofits to receive funding from the first round of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF). They will receive $100,000 for the Rapid Response Fund. In conjunction with the ICRF, upon receipt of the funds, they will be swiftly deployed to nonprofits in our service area.

Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund

The United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations, in collaboration with the Office of Governor JB Pritzker, are establishing the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund to raise funds from individual, corporate, and foundation donors to be disbursed to nonprofit organizations across the state serving individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.

To see the original announcement of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund, click here.

For answers to frequently asked questions about the fund and general contact information, please click here.

{ILLINOIS UNEMPLOYMENT}

Illinois Department of Employment Security Resources

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributed to COVID-19. Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.

IDES offices have closed to the public but individuals are encouraged to file for unemployment online by clicking here. IDES has filed emergency rules that waive the one-week waiting period to apply for unemployment insurance benefits. The CARES Act made it so self-employed persons, independent contractors, and freelancers are able to receive unemployment .

New Callback only Model at the Illinois Department of Employment Security

Effective July 9, 2020, the IDES has implemented the “callback only model” as a temporary solution to effectively honor the order in which callers attempt to reach the call center for assistance. This new model will be in effect for the following call centers:

  • Claimant Services Center (800.244.5631)
  • IllinoisJobLink.com (877.342.7533)
  • Benefit Payment Control (800.814.0513)
  • Employer Hotline (800.247.4984)

What this means to you is that rather than waiting on hold or call multiple times, you will receive a call when you are next in line without losing your place. Read more about this new solution here.

Unemployment Option for Self-Employed, Independent Contractors and Sole Proprietors

The Illinois Department of Employment Security – IDES is accepting applications for its federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program that provides benefits for many individuals who have applied for and been determined ineligible for state unemployment benefits. If you are self-employed, an independent contractor or sole proprietor, learn more here.

{WHAT’S OPEN? CLICK THE IMAGE BELOW!}

Click above for an updated list of area businesses. Information is updated and provided by www.wgil.com. We thank them for their assistance in communicating vital updates to our community. To add your business to this listing, email Chris Postin at chrisp@galesburgradio.com.

{FEDERAL & STATE TAXES}

IRS and Federal Taxes

The deadline to file federal taxes has been extended to July 15, 2020.
All taxpayers and businesses will have this additional time to file and make payments without interest or penalties.

Illinois Taxes

The State of Illinois has extended the income tax filing and payment deadline by three months, from April 15 to July 15, 2020. The Department of Revenue (IDOR) will continue to process tax refunds for those filing ahead of the new deadline. The fastest, most secure way to receive a refund is to file tax returns electronically and request a direct deposit into a checking or savings account. Taxpayers who have already filed a return can check the status of their return by using the Where’s My Refund? link located at www.MyTax.Illinois.Gov.

{REAL ID DEADLINE EXTENDED}

President Trump announced on March 23, 2020 that the federal REAL ID deadline is being extended beyond Oct. 1, 2020. A new deadline has not yet been established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. When a new deadline is set, it will be posted here. Current Illinois driver’s licenses or ID cards (DL/ID) will continue to be accepted at airports, military bases and secure federal facilities until a new deadline is set by the federal government. View the media release.

{LOOKING TO VOLUNTEER?}

Looking for local volunteer opportunities? Click here!

{ESSENTIAL WORKFORCE BENEFITS}

Child care for Essential Workers during COVID-19 Crisis

Like schools, most child care programs have been asked to close. But many emergency and essential workers continue to need reliable care for their children. Thus, the state is in the process of establishing a series of “emergency child care” options – settings that could operate under more flexible-than-usual rules, while still offering kids and families crucial assistance.  Existing, interested providers could apply to re-open in this process; other, new providers could explore options for starting-up.

Here’s where to turn for more information on emergency child care homes and centers:

  • How to find emergency child care – Call 888-228-1146 or visit https://emergencycare.inccrra.org/
  • General guidance on establishing emergency-care options, including rules, a license application, list of essential workers, and background-check authorization – click here.
  • Related FAQ, including info on the closure of normal child care operations – click here