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Corona Virus

Cares Act Small Business Grant

The deadline to apply for CARES relief has been extended until the end of business Friday, October 2, 11:59pm. To register and fill out the application, visit the Will County website at:

https://www.willcountyillinois.com/CARES-Act

Additionally, the direct Small Business Assistance link is: 

https://www.willcountyillinois.com/CARES-Act/Local-Business-Assistance

If your small business has been hurt by COVID-19, don’t delay, fill out that application today

Business Interruption Grant Webinars

The Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program is multi-million program developed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois General Assembly to provide economic relief for small businesses hit hardest by COVID-19.

BIG leverages federal funding provided by the CARES Act to help offset COVID-19 related losses for Illinois small businesses. Funding may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs; rent; utilities; and other operational costs.

Applications for a second round of funding are now being accepted and can be found here. A total of $220 million will be made available for small businesses of all types in Illinois. Grants will be awarded and funded on a rolling basis until funding is depleted.  The grant size will be equivalent to two months of expenses.

The BIG program is open to all eligible businesses (for profit and nonprofit) with $20 million or less in annual revenue in 2019 and experienced losses due to COVID-19. Of the total funding, $70 million will be invested in Disproportionately Impacted Areas (DIAs) and $60 million in heavily impacted industries. A map of the DIAs and the eligibility guidelines can be found on our website. 

The heavily impacted industries are defined as having annual revenues of $10 million or less and have been close or operating at a very diminished capacity since mid-March and are likely to continue to do so until Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan. These industries include the following:

·         Event spaces

·         Music venues

·         Performing arts venues

·         Indoor recreation

·         Amusement parks

·         Movie theaters

·         Museums

·         Charter/shuttle buses

DCEO will be hosting webinars regarding this program. You can register for the webinars by using the links below:

Event:  Northeast Region Business Interruption Grant Webinar
Date and time:  Friday, September 25, 2020 2:00 pm
Event address:  https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eae4c803e69f3132138ed9c902bf20d0e

Event:  Northeast Region Business Interruption Grant Webinar
Date and Time:  Monday, September 28, 2020 2:00 pm
Event Address:  https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=eb5ae540f4ac73d79af6b0fcdc96cd4fa

Event:  Northeast Region Business Interruption Grant Webinar
Date and time:  Wednesday, September 30, 2020 3:00 pm
Event address:  https://illinois.webex.com/illinois/onstage/g.php?MTID=e1b28c578db7ed2236ac96f8a0a0def37

New COVID-19 ‘Mitigation Efforts’ starting Aug. 26

Governor Pritzker has announced new COVID-19 restrictions on businesses in the greater Will and Kankakee County areas.

According to Mr. Pritzker’s office, new COVID-19 positivity rates have climbed to unacceptable levels, prompting the state to re-impose certain restrictions on bars, restaurants, meetings and social gatherings in general, beginning August 26 through at least September 2, at which point the restrictions may be rolled back or increased.

The entire press release is attached below.

Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program

From the Illinois Housing Development Authority (IHDA) Emergency Rental & Mortgage Assistance Program:

Emergency Rental Assistance Program

With applications now available, the Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERA) will support Illinois tenants unable to pay their rent due to a COVID-19-related loss of income. Tenants whose applications are approved will receive one-time grants of $5,000 paid directly to their landlords to cover missed rent payments beginning March 2020 and prepay payments through December 2020, or until the $5,000 is exhausted, whichever comes first. The assistance will be in the form of a grant and repayment will not be required. Applications for ERA will be accepted August 10th through August 21st. Due to anticipated high volume, the application window may close early. IHDA will use a third-party entity to select a pool of applications to be reviewed for eligibility. Approximately 30,000 tenants are expected to receive funding. Apply online at: era.ihda.org. 

Tenant Eligibility:

  • Household income before March 1, 2020 was at or below 80 percent of the Area Median Income;
  • An adult member of the household must have had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis on or after March 1, 2020; and
  • Household has an unpaid rent balance that began on or after March 1, 2020.

Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program

Available August 24, 2020, the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program (EMA) will assist homeowners who have experienced a COVID-19-related loss of income resulting in past due mortgage balances starting March 2020. Approved applicants will receive up to $15,000 paid directly to their mortgage servicer. Assistance will cover the homeowner’s past due or forbearance balance and their regular mortgage payments through December 30, 2020, or until the funding is exhausted, whichever comes first. Payments may include all escrowed first mortgage expenses including property taxes, insurance and certain fees. The assistance will be in the form of a grant and repayment will not be required. Applications for EMA will be accepted from August 24th through September 4th. Due to anticipated high volume, the application window may close early. IHDA will use a third-party entity to select a pool of applications to be reviewed for eligibility. The program is expected to assist approximately 10,000 households. Apply online at: ema.ihda.org. 

Homeowner Eligibility:

  • Household adjusted gross income from 2019 Tax Return was at or below 120 percent of the Area Median Income;
  • An adult member of the household has had a loss of income due to the COVID-19 crisis on or after March 1, 2020;
  • Homeowner’s mortgage was current as of February 29, 2020;
  • The mortgage is past due or in forbearance.

Additional documentation attached to this post.

For more information about the Emergency Rental Assistance Program: https://era.ihda.org/

For more information about the Emergency Mortgage Assistance Program: https://era.ihda.org/

Illinois Enters Phase 4

Phase 4 of ‘Restore Illinois’ went into effect today. It further eases restrictions on businesses and activities such as:

• Meetings and Social Events
• Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
• Indoor and Outdoor Dining
• Museums
• Zoos
• Theaters and Performing Arts
• Youth and Recreational Sports Guidelines
• Film Production
• Manufacturing
• Offices
• Retail
• Service Counters
• Health and Fitness Centers
• Personal Care Services
• Day Camps

Read more about the move to ‘Phase 4’ at https://dceocovid19resources.com/restore-illinois/restore-illinois-phase-4/ and https://coronavirus.illinois.gov/s/restore-illinois-phase-4.

The move to ‘Phase 4’ does NOT mean an end to face-covering and social distancing. Many states have seen a recent spike in new cases, and the science on immunity is not yet in – meaning that it may be possible to get infected multiple times. This would be especially disastrous in the case of asymptomatic carriers.

Village Hall Open Again

The Crete Village Hall front office has re-opened with its previous regular hours. Service is limited to two people at a time, and visitors are requested to don face coverings and observe social distancing while inside the building.

ComEd Assist Package to Customers in Need

According to a ComED press release, “the package features flexible payment options, financial assistance for past due balances; extends suspension of service disconnections and waiver of late fee charges, until either the state moves to Phase 4 of the Restore Illinois plan or Aug. 1, 2020, whichever comes first.”

The press release goes on to say that “customers who are challenged in paying their outstanding balances and electric bills should contact ComEd’s customer care team as soon as possible at 800-334-7661, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to take advantage of new and existing assistance options. More information is also available at ComEd.com/CARE.”

Updated Phase 3 Guidelines

• Bars and restaurants will have the option to resume operations for outdoor seating, but not for regular indoor food service. Tables must be six feet apart and away from sidewalks, face coverings and distancing measures for staff must continue to be followed. Bars and restaurants will be also required to follow additional precautions and guidance that will be issued at a later date.
• All state parks will reopen on May 29. All parks concessions will reopen, as well, under guidance set for retail and food service businesses.
• Indoor and outdoor tennis facilities will be allowed to open while following IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits.
• Golf will now be allowed in foursomes, and golf carts will be allowed with capacity limits of one person per cart. One additional member of the same household will be allowed to share a cart.
• Boating or camping of up to 10 people will be allowed.
• The state will be providing additional guidance for how other outdoor recreational businesses, such as golf driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges and paintball courses can safely reopen.

Additional PPP Guidance

The recent CARES legislation was designed to provide an economic stimulus during the Coronavirus pandemic. One of the pillars of the CARES bill was the introduction of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. These loans were established to provide working capital to borrowers so they could continue to pay their employees during the pandemic.
A key feature of the PPP loans was loan forgiveness, the opportunity for borrowers to have their loans forgiven if they spend the loan borrowings on certain items during an eight-week period. Congress dictated that the PPP loan must be spent on the following items to obtain loan forgiveness:
• Payroll;
• Interest on business loans;
• Lease payments; and
• Utilities
Of these items, Congress felt that payroll should be the focus to permit forgiveness for the borrower. The SBA established a limitation that 75% of the loan amounts must be used for payroll costs, and no more than 25% could be used for non-payroll costs (interest, rent, and utilities). These were the general parameters; however, borrowers wanted more specifics. The clock was ticking on the eight-week period, and the SBA was late in providing guidance on how the PPP loan forgiveness would work.
Much of the earlier SBA guidance on PPP loans was in the form of FAQs or “Interim Final Rules,” and borrowers were expecting more of this type of guidance. However, on May 15, the SBA issued a loan forgiveness application form that provided much of the details for borrowers. This application form and related instructions were the details borrowers were waiting for to assist them in navigating the eight-week period to maximize their loan forgiveness. While this guidance was welcomed by borrowers, there are still many uncertainties and questions—hopefully the SBA will offer additional guidance soon.
Here are some highlights of what the SBA provided in this loan forgiveness application form:
• The application form, SBA Form 3508, consists of three parts: (1) the PPP Loan Forgiveness Calculation Form; (2) PPP Schedule A; and (3) the PPP Schedule A Worksheet. Each of these forms involve detailed calculations with specific instructions to follow, and the forms flow from one to the other.
• The part of the CARES law dealing with loan forgiveness indicated that it applied for “costs incurred and payments made during the covered period” for the above indicated expenses. There was uncertainty how this would be interpreted by the SBA. In the forgiveness application form, the SBA defined “incurred and paid” to allow, with certain limitations, both expenses paid and incurred in this eight-week period.
• The application form introduced a new “Alternative Payroll Covered Period” that permits a borrower to sync up the eight-week period with the own borrower’s payroll period.
• The application form deals with a key aspect of the payroll factor involving definition and treatment of FTEs (full-time equivalent employees). The form established 40 hours as the level for a full-time employee. The calculations related to the adjustments: (1) for full-time equivalent employees; and (2) for the comparable wages are involved, but provide some options to help borrowers in some situations when trying to maximize their loan forgiveness.
• Borrowers hoping to pay bonuses to owners (or employees with annual compensation above $100,000) to maximize their loan forgiveness will find there are certain restrictions and limitations in the worksheets.
• The application form also indicates that for rent (a non-payroll cost), this expense is allowed for leases of both real and personal property. Remember, however, this applies only to leases that were in effect as of February 15, 2020. It is unclear how a lease renewal or modification will be treated.
There are many other items found in this forgiveness application for borrowers to consider. There will be some situations that are not clearly defined or addressed in the application, and hopefully the SBA will offer additional guidance to clarify these matters. Borrowers should be diligent to learn the rules spelled out in the application and then gather the required documentation that must be submitted with the application. Please contact your Sikich advisor if you have any questions or need any assistance.