On Wednesday, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced he is moving Illinois' tax deadline from April 15 to July 15 to help soften the economic impact of the novel coronavirus.
“As this crisis has evolved, my team and I have worked to protect our residents, workers and small businesses as they navigate this extremely challenging time,” Pritzker said Wednesday during his daily press briefing on COVID-19.
The Department of Revenue will continue to process tax refunds for those filling ahead of the new July 15 deadline, according to the governor’s office.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 330 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the largest single-day jump in the number of people across the state who have tested positive for the virus. Among the newly confirmed cases are two officers and a man incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center, and a contractual worker at Sheridan Correctional Center, according to IDPH.
Both facilities have been placed on a 14-day lockdown. The Stateville officers are recovering at home and the incarcerated man is isolated and recovering at the hospital. Anyone who may have been exposed at Stateville is being quarantined.
Statewide, 1,865 people have tested positive for the virus and 19 have died. Patients have ranged in age from younger than 12 months to 99 years old.
During his press briefing, Pritzker announced that small businesses would be eligible for a share of $90 million in state emergency assistance through three new programs. Among them is a $60 million Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, which will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in every industry outside of Chicago, according to the governor’s office.
Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $5 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible to apply. Those approved will owe nothing for six months, and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of the five-year loan. Applications will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity website by Friday.
Pritzker also announced the creation of the $20 million Downstate Small Business Stabilization program, which will support small businesses in suburban and rural counties across Illinois. Grants of up to $25,000 will be provided to small businesses served by DCEO’s Office of Community Development, according to Pritzker’s office. Businesses of up to 50 employees are eligible to apply for these grants, which be offered on a rolling basis. Applications will be available on DCEO’s website by Friday.
The hard-hit hospitality industry will also be able to get some relief via the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The $14 million grant seeks to help small hospitality businesses make ends meet by providing eligible bars and restaurants up to $25,000, and eligible hotels up to $50,000.
The new program will “support their payroll and rent, as well as job training and technology for operations like pickup and delivery which for now have become central to many restaurants staying open,” Pritzker said.
Bars and restaurants that made between $500,000 and $1 million in revenue last year are eligible for up to $25,000, and establishments that generated less than $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000, according to Pritzker’s office. Hotels that generated less than $8 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $50,000
The hospitality grants are available online and due by 5 p.m. April 1. All valid, eligible applications received within the five-day window will be entered into a lottery and grant winners be notified on April 4.
Coronavirus Prevention Tips and Resources
Officials advise taking preventive measures to slow the spread of the virus, including:
—Washing your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water
—Using hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol
—Sneezing or coughing into a tissue and then disposing of the tissue
—Limiting contact with people regardless of how you feel
—Staying home when you are sick
Symptoms of COVID-19 include, but are not limited to:
—New onset of fever, cough, shortness of breath
—Congestion in the nasal sinuses or lungs
—Sore throat, body aches or unusual fatigue
If you think you have COVID-19:
Call you doctor before showing up at their office. If you have a medical emergency and need to call 911, tell the operator that you think you have COVID-19. If possible, wear a mask before medical help arrives or presenting at a doctor’s office. More advice for those who think they have COVID-19.
—Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
—Illinois’ COVID-19 website
—Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) website
—IDPH COVID-19 hotline: 800-889-3931
—IPDH COVID-19 email link
—City of Chicago COVID-19 website
—City of Chicago COVID-19 hotline: 312-746-4835
—City of Chicago COVID-19 email link