Suburban Cook County to enter Phase Three mitigation measures Wednesday
Issued: Oct. 27, 2020
The Illinois Department of Public Health on Wednesday will place Region 10 (Suburban Cook County), which includes portions of Tinley Park, under Phase Three mitigation measures in response to the recent spike in COVID-19 cases. Region 10 has had eight consecutive days of increases in test positivity rates and seven days of increased hospitalizations due to COVID-19. Region 7, which also includes the Will County portion of Tinley Park, moved into Phase Three last week for similar reasons. Phase Three mitigation measures include:
- All restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor and carryout service only and will close at 11 p.m.
- Reservations will be required for anyone dining out
- Gatherings will be limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25 percent of overall room capacity
- Gaming and casinos will close at 11 p.m. and are limited to 25 percent capacity
- These measures don’t currently apply to schools.
Phase Three COVID-19 mitigation efforts coming to Will County
Issued: Oct. 22, 2020
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) on Friday will implement Phase Three COVID-19 resurgence mitigations in Region 7, which includes the Will County portion of Tinley Park. Region 7 is seeing a seven-day rolling average test positivity rate of 8 percent or more for three consecutive days, which exceeds the threshold set for establishing mitigation measures under the State's Restore Illinois Resurgence Plan.
As part of these mitigation measures, all restaurants and bars will be limited to outdoor service only and will close at 11 p.m. Additionally, gatherings will be limited to the lesser of 25 people or 25 percent of overall room capacity. These mitigations will not apply to schools.
The IDPH will continue to track the positivity rate in Region 7 to determine if mitigations can be relaxed, if additional mitigations are required, or if current mitigations should remain in place. If the positivity rate averages less than or equal to 6.5% for three consecutive days, then the region will return to Phase 4 mitigations under the Restore Illinois Plan. If the positivity rate averages between 6.5% and 8%, the new mitigations will remain in place and unchanged. If the positivity rate averages greater than or equal to 8% after 14 days, more stringent mitigations can be applied to further reduce spread of the virus.
Please refer to the Restore Illinois plan for more information.
DCEO offering second round of BIG grants
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is awarding $220 million as part of the second round of its Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program, which provides economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. Applications are available on the DCEO website.
Areas subject to regional mitigation measures due to COVID-19 resurgence (including Will County) will receive priority. Priority also will be given to the most heavily impacted industries, including event spaces, music venues, performing arts venues, indoor recreation, amusement parks, movie theaters, museums and charter/shuttle buses
Grants will be awarded on a rolling basis, so apply as soon as possible! Read this release from DCEO for more information.
Illinois issues statewide mask mandate for bars, restaurants
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a new statewide mandate requiring all patrons of restaurants and bars to wear a mask while interacting with waitstaff and other employees when food and beverages are brought to the table and when picking up carryout orders. The new mandate went into effect Wednesday, Aug. 26. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have released a revision to its Restore Illinois Safety Guidelines for Bar and Restaurant Establishments that reflect the new face mask guidance.
CARES Small Business Assistance Grant Program applications are open now through Sept. 28 for Will County businesses. Applications are available on the Will County website. The program is for businesses with less than $2.5 million in revenue and fewer than 25 employees that have had significant COVID-19 expenses or disruptions. Selected businesses may receive as much as $15,000 in grant assistance. The full eligibility criteria is available online. Will County will also be conducting two webinars to provide additional information. The first will take place from 10 to 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 28 (register here), and the second will be held from 2 to 3 p.m. Monday, Aug. 31 (register here). Accion is assisting with the application process, and there is a contact form on the program website to assist applicants who have additional questions.
Cook County Mitigation Guidance
As COVID-19 cases increase, the Cook County Department of Public Health has issued new recommended restrictions, which are voluntary. Read the Cook County Department of Public Health Mitigation Guidance document for more information.
The entire state has moved into Phase Four of the “Restore Illinois” COVID-19. Among other things, certain businesses are allowed to resume operating, albeit at a reduced capacity and with social distancing guidelines in place. Phase Four reopened businesses such as restaurants and bars, salons and barbershops, health clubs, museums, zoos, movie theaters, arcades, skating rinks and bowling alleys. Schools, child care, live entertainment, summer camps, meetings and conventions and nonessential offices also are allowed to resume. There are capacity limitations at all reopened establishments, and everyone is still expected to wear face coverings and adhere to proper social distancing guidelines. Industry-specific guides are available at the below links.
- Day Camps
- Health and Fitness
- Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
- Personal Care
- Restaurants and Bars
- Service Counters
- Youth Sports
Government makes changes to PPP program
Tinley Park businesses have until Tuesday, June 30 to apply for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), a loan offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA) to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll.
The SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest or utilities. Businesses can apply through any existing SBA lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program. You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
The U.S. Senate recently passed a new version of the PPP legislation. Under the new version, current PPP borrowers can choose to extend the eight-week period to 24 weeks, or they can keep the original eight-week period. New PPP borrowers will have a 24-week covered period, but the covered period can’t extend beyond Dec. 31, 2020.
The new version also drops the payroll expenditure requirement to 60% from 75% but is now a cliff, meaning that borrowers must spend at least 60% on payroll or none of the loan will be forgiven.
For details on other legislative updates, see this story in the Journal of Accountancy.
Coronavirus Information and Resources
The restaurant industry, more than any other industry in the nation, has suffered the most significant sales and job losses since the COVID-19 outbreak began. Restaurant owners can visit a resource section at Restaurant.org containing information needed to navigate the new challenges COVID-19 has presented the food service industry.
Phase Three of the State’s “Restore Illinois” allows outdoor dining at restaurants. The Village has created a simple, straightforward application process geared at expediting the time from submittal to approval. Interested restaurant owners/operators can email a completed Temporary Outdoor Dining Application for Tinley Park Restaurants, as well as a sketch of the planned outdoor dining area layout, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Community Development Department staff will reply to the request within one business day of receipt and will schedule the required inspection within two business days. Find out more at TinleyPark.org/TempOutdoorDining.
Village creates redevelopment grant for eligible Tinley Park businesses
The Village is committed to assuring the long-term viability of the community by encouraging private investment in sites throughout Tinley Park that need significant redevelopment. Because many of these sites don’t meet the criteria for traditional incentive agreements, the Village recently created the Non-Tax Increment Financing Redevelopment Grant for properties not able to access existing funding opportunities. Funds can be used for facade improvements, code compliance, storm water management, parking lot improvements and environmental remediation. This is a matching grant of 50% of a minimum of $10,000 or a maximum of $30,000 per tax-paying business. For more information or to apply, visit the Village website at TinleyPark.org/RedevelopmentGrant.
Before you reopen, read these tips
If you’re among the many Tinley Park businesses taking steps to reopen your doors to the public next month, here are some helpful resources to guide you along the way:
- IDPH’s recommendations for ways to reduce plumbing and water quality concerns
- Water system safety guidelines for reopening buildings after a prolonged shutdown or reduced operation
- IDPH’s “Guidance for Food Service” for information on what to do before and after reopening
Webinar recording for food establishments available
Tinley Park businesses that serve food and drink are invited to watch a pre-recorded Zoom presentation by Dr. Jeannie Kotsiovos titled “Guidance and Best Practices for Food Service Establishments during COVID-19.” To access the presentation, go to the presentation's Zoom link and enter this password:
Please note that you need to include the period in the above password for it to work.
Illinois to benefit from CARES Act
The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, signed into law on March 27, is the third federal bill to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. With a price tag estimated at more than $2 trillion, it provides widespread assistance to individuals, corporations and state and local governments. The organization Federal Funds Information for States estimates that Illinois will receive $8.46 billion from the federal bill. Read this memo for more information on how the bill will impact Illinois.
Webinar: How to Increase Virtual Foot Traffic
Retail Coach and 58 Inc. recently held a webinar for small businesses that discussed ways to generate virtual foot traffic and revenue. The webinar covered the importance of having an online presence, using social media platforms, and website and e-commerce basics. Watch the entire one-hour webinar online.
DCEO offers WorkNet grant
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has made funds available for local WorkNet offices throughout Illinois to prevent essential, small businesses from laying off or furloughing employees. DCEO is looking for businesses for whom these potential grant dollars would make the difference between keeping workers on or having to layoff/furlough. Business who are interested should fill out a brief application and submit it to their local WorkNet office by close of business on Wednesday, May 6. For more information, please see the WIOA Funding Opportunities letter. Illinois WorkNet is the state's primary employment and training resource for workforce development. See this website to find a WorkNet Center near you.
Village of Tinley Park Assistance Measures
The Village is taking measures to help Tinley Park businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, including:
- The Village has extended the filing and payment of March hotel taxes to May 15. Penalties and interest on any past-due hotel tax payments have been waived through May 15.
- The Village is postponing the implementation of the new storage tax.
- Until further notice, the Village will not charge late fees or shut off water service due to an inability to pay.
- The Village is waiving temporary sign permit fees and time limits for businesses.
- The Village is waiving all semi-annual liquor license renewal fees that would have been due June 30, 2020 and will begin to collect these fees on an annual basis beginning Dec. 31, 2020.
- All fees relative to building, planning and zoning that were recently increased as a result of the fee study will revert back to the previous rates until July 1.
- Various fire protection/sprinkler fees that were also increased as a result of the fee study have been reverted back to their previous rates until July 1.
See the below resources for owners/operators of bars and restaurants.
- Illinois Liquor Control Commission Guide
CARES Act for businesses
The programs and initiatives in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act are intended to assist business owners with whatever needs they have right now. When implemented, there will be many new resources available for small businesses, as well as certain nonprofits and other employers. This guide provides information about the major programs and initiatives that will soon be available from the Small Business Administration (SBA) to address these needs, as well as some additional tax provisions that are outside the scope of SBA.
The State of Illinois has granted license extensions to numerous professions. See below for more information on:
- Professions whose renewal deadlines have been extended until Sept. 30, 2020
- Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) press release
- IDFPR variance resolution
Small Business Administration (SBA) Economic Injury Disaster Loans
The State of Illinois has received its statewide Economic Injury Declaration, which means small businesses in all 102 Illinois counties may be eligible for low-interest, economic injury disaster loans for as much as $2 million per business. The deadline to apply is Dec. 21, 2020.
Short-Term Sales Tax Relief
In an effort to assist eating and drinking establishments impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is waiving any penalty and interest that would have been imposed on late sales tax payments from qualified taxpayers. For more information, visit the IDOR’s informational bulletin at tax.illinois.gov.
U.S. Chamber of Commerce
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce believes another bill is already under development that will be specifically targeted to address liquidity issues for small- and medium-sized businesses. Issues under discussion include:
- Cutting payroll taxes
- Streamlining the process for accessing federal loans
- Additional measures from the Fed and Treasury to make more loans and loan guarantees available
In addition, the U.S. Chamber has put together resources for small businesses as they navigate through these unprecedented times.
- Coronavirus Small Business Guide
- Guidance for Employers Handout
- Workplace Tips Handout
- Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers
- Additional Resources
Tax Deadline Extended
The date to file 2019 federal taxes has been moved from April 15 to July 15. All taxpayers and businesses will have three extra months to file and make payments without interest or penalties. The State of Illinois also has extended its tax deadline to July 15 for state returns.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) has issued an emergency rule addressing unemployment eligibility. The issue of chargeability to an employer’s experience rate is not addressed in the emergency rule and will likely need to be clarified through legislation. The Illinois Chamber and other business groups are pushing for such a change when the General Assembly returns to Springfield. Visit the IDES website for more information.
Families First Coronavirus Response Act
Provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act include:
- Mandatory employer-provided emergency sick pay and emergency paid family leave for employers with fewer than 500 employees
- Credit will be provided to employers to reimburse 100% of the qualified sick leave wages as a credit against Employer Social Security Tax
- Available to qualified full- and part-time employees beginning April 2 through the end of 2020
Visit Congress.gov for more information.
Safety tips for hand sanitizer dispensers
People are using hand sanitizer now more than ever before. But did you know that, if not properly handled, hand sanitizer can pose a significant fire hazard? The main ingredient in sanitizers is alcohol, and the amount of alcohol needed for an effective disinfecting solution is high enough to be classified as a flammable liquid.
To reduce the risk of fire when using alcohol-based hand rubs, the Tinley Park Fire Department would like you to consider that the maximum capacity for each wall-mounted dispenser is 68 ounces, and that the minimum separation between individual dispensers should be 48 inches.
Don’t install dispensers directly adjacent to, directly above or below an electrical receptacle, switch, appliance, device or other ignition source. The wall space between the dispenser and the floor should remain clear and unobstructed, and dispensers should be mounted so that the bottom is a minimum of 42 inches and a maximum of 48 inches above the finished floor. Also, make sure your dispensers don’t release their contents unless activated.
Please see the attached flyer or call the Tinley Park Fire Prevention Bureau at (708) 444-5200 for information on “touch-free” dispensers and other helpful tips.
Facebook Group for Restaurants
The Tinley Park and Orland Park Chamber of Commerce have teamed together to create a Facebook group to help promote restaurants’ menu and delivery options to the community. Visit the group's Facebook page for more information.
See below for other resources for Tinley Park businesses.
- Executive Order 2020-63-102720 (State of Illinois)
- Phase Four Business Guidance
- Southland SBD COVID-19 Recovery Options
- Common errors to avoid when filing for advance payment of employer credits
- Beyond the Curve: A Toolkit for Reopening Your Community