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Corona Virus

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.

ANNOUNCEMENT TO ALL SMALL BUSINESSES IN THE CRETE AREA

I have reviewed currently available information related to special financing and grants for small businesses that are experiencing financial issues due to the COVID19 event.  While I am far from an expert on this subject, my conclusion is that the State of Illinois is relying on the Department of Commerce and Economic Development (DCEO) and the Small Business Administration (SBA) to handle the situations related to bailing out businesses that are in trouble financially.  It appears that our area (Will County) will be treated differently than down state counties.  I have read that all the collar counties of Chicago will be handled like Will County.  It appears that there will be no grants allowed in our area, only low interest loans with stipulations that I am not qualified to comment on.  I have also contacted Will County to get their take on this issue.  I have scanned all the available documents and will gladly send them to any interested business if you simply send an email to me.  My email address is meinhorn@villageofcrete.org 

Mayor Einhorn

The Village of Crete UPDATE March 28, 2020

Thankfully the Village is operating as planned and pretty much as normal.  We are monitoring the health status of all of our employees every day and aside from the lobby at the Village Hall being closed it is basically business as usual.  The FD, PD and EMA are performing all necessary functions with a constant focus on reducing staff exposure.  The Public Works Department is functioning in a similar fashion and preforming many tasks that can be accomplished while observing social distancing guidelines to the greatest extent possible.  The front office is working ahead on preparing the vehicle sticker, business license and contractor licensing mailing that normally goes out May 1st.  We are paying the bills, handling payroll and taking calls from residents.  Code Enforcement is also still operating as normal.

To protect the drivers picking up our trash and to better manage the waste stream, Republic Services has announced the following: 

Until further notice residents need to follow the following guidelines:

·         They will only accept carts/toters that can be picked up mechanically by the truck.

·         Drivers are not authorized to dismount the truck to pick up items not in the container.

·         Yard waste and bulk item pick up are suspended until further notice. 

·         Recycling will be picked up as normal and residents are reminded not to contaminate recycled items with other types of trash.

I went to Walt’s this morning for some brief shopping and it was obvious that the shoppers were calm and orderly and acting with concern for social distancing to the greatest possible.  They are adhering to the six-foot rule while waiting to be checked out.  While the world right now is not perfect, everyone seems to be acting with shared concern.  I encourage everyone to pull together and although inconvenient, we will get past this.

Finally, a few comments about moving forward.  My personal feeling is that this circumstance will persist longer than presently projected, but the great citizens of Crete will improvise, adapt and overcome.  Please patronize our local restaurants and businesses so they will survive this ordeal, share important information with those close to you and try to remain positive.

Mayor Einhorn

Federal Stimulus Package

March 27, 2020 From Village of Crete, Mayor Einhorn:

Small businesses reeling from the impact of coronavirus may have good news coming in the form of loan forgiveness.

The $2 trillion federal stimulus package includes $350 billion in loans backed by the U.S. Small Business Administration, some of which will be forgiven depending on a company’s circumstances. That’s according to Neil Bradley, executive vice president and chief policy officer at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Bradley was speaking at the National Small Business Town Hall, a live webinar hosted by Inc. and the Chamber on Friday.

The SBA’s paycheck protection loan program is “really more of a loan that converts to a grant,” Bradley said. Small businesses with fewer than 500 employees qualify, as will some larger companies. The program is aimed at helping businesses maintain their payroll during the significant business disruption caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Here’s how the loan forgiveness works:

  • Your company’s expenses for the eight-week period after the origination of the loan will be analyzed.
  • Every dollar your company spent on payroll, utilities, rent, or interest on mortgage debt will be added together. That amount will be forgiven, up to the total amount your company borrowed through the program.

There is one caveat, however. The amount that is forgiven will be reduced for businesses that lay off employees during the first eight weeks following the loan. Companies that reduce wages of employees who make less than $100,000 per year by 25 percent or more will also have the forgivable amount reduced.

The good news is that businesses that have already let employees go before accepting the loan will not be subject to such penalties. And if those businesses rehire employees after accepting the loan, they’ll receive additional credit to cover their wages.

Testing for the General Public

March 27, 2020 From Village of Crete, Mayor Einhorn:

TESTING FOR THE GENERAL PUBLIC

The Will County Health Department is making the following suggestions to the general public:

Members of the general public who feel that they are experiencing symptoms of COVOD-19 should consult their primary healthcare provider. 

If the healthcare provider feels that the patient qualifies for a COVID-19 test, the provider can order the test and direct the patient to a test location.

Generally speaking, patients should not report to a hospital without speaking to their healthcare provider.    

If you are having a medical emergency and trouble breathing, please go to the nearest ER or call 911.

If you decide to go to the ER, please call ahead and let them know you are experiencing symptoms.

The Will County Health Department Coronavirus Response Hotline is 815-740-8977.

Illinois Coronavirus Hotline is 800-889-3931.

Attention: Important Notice Regarding Your Recycling and Waste Service

Republic Services Logo

Attention:
Important Notice
Regarding Your Recycling
and Waste Service
Until further notice we will be operating under the following guidelines starting March
30th, 2020:
• We will accept cart contents or personalized cans only. Drivers will not be authorized to leave their
vehicle to pick up waste outside of the cart or personal cans.
• Yard waste and bulk waste programs will be suspended.
• It’s important to keep waste out of your recycling container.
Dear Valued customer,
We are closely monitoring the COVID-19 situation to make sure we’re doing the right thing for the health
and safety of our employees, our customers, and the communities we serve. Our number one priority is
safety, and that is at the forefront of every decision we make.
We provide an essential service to the country, and like the police and fire departments, it’s our
duty to help protect and serve the public, especially in times like these. While we are working hard
to ensure the highest quality customer service and minimal service disruption, the recent surge in
residential waste and unique challenges we face requires us to temporarily modify our service
offerings to keep your community clean and safe.
The Republic Services team remains committed to you throughout this crisis. We
appreciate your business and wish you all the best during this difficult time.
For updates, visit RepublicServices.com
©2020 Republic Services, Inc.