Last Updated: March 30, 2020 

In This Weeks Weekly Connection:

  • Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

  • Emergency Small Business Grants and Loans Assistance

  • Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Guidance

  • Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

  • COVID-19, the Law and your Business Webinar – April 2nd 12:00 PM

  • Scammers are taking advantage of fears surrounding the Coronavirus

  • Small Business Trends: How to Work from Home

Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

Late Wednesday night, the Senate unanimously passed the largest economic stimulus package in American history. Then the House of Representatives on Friday passed the stimulus and it was signed by the President. Check out the Small Business Owners Guide to the CARES Act

Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) Guidance

The new guidance includes questions and answers addressing critical issues such as what documents employees can be required to submit to their employers to use paid sick leave or expanded family and medical leave; whether workers can take paid sick leave intermittently while teleworking and whether workers whose employers closed before the effective date of the FFCRA can still get paid sick leave.


This guidance adds to a growing list of compliance assistance materials published by WHD, including a Fact Sheet for Employees, a Fact Sheet for Employers, and an earlier Questions and Answers document. Available are two new posters, one for federal workers and one for all other employees, that will fulfill notice requirements for employers obligated to inform employees about their rights under this new law, Questions and Answers about posting requirements and a Field Assistance Bulletin describing WHD’s 30-day non-enforcement policy.


“The Wage and Hour Division is delivering necessary information so that American workers and employers can receive this much needed relief,” said Wage and Hour Division Administrator Cheryl Stanton. “We are working to ensure that workers and employers have the tools they need to maximize the benefits they are entitled to when this law goes into effect on April 1, 2020.”


FFCRA, signed by President Trump, offers American businesses with fewer than 500 employees tax credits as reimbursement for providing employees with paid leave, either for the employee’s own health needs or to care for family members. The legislation will enable employers to keep their workers on their payrolls, while at the same time ensuring that workers are not forced to choose between their paychecks and the public health measures needed to combat the virus.


WHD provides additional information on common issues employers and employees face when responding to COVID-19 and its effects on wages and hours worked under the Fair Labor Standards Act and job-protected leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act at


For more information about the laws enforced by the WHD, call 866-4US-WAGE, or visit


For further information about COVID-19, please visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.


Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program

The Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer would make up to $250 million in deposits available to financial institutions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.



COVID-19, the Law and your Business Webinar – April 2nd 12:00 PM

Covid-19, the Law, and Your Business: A Legal Analysis of the Illinois Executive Orders Issued in Response to Covid-19, Insurance Coverage Considerations for Businesses Due to Covid-19, and the Relationship Between the Federal Government and State Government.



Avoid Coronavirus Scams

Here are some tips to help you avoid coronavirus scammers:


Small Business Trends: How to Work from Home

Working from home looks a bit different for everyone. But by focusing on a few key areas, you can stay productive while also enjoying a comfortable and healthy work environment.

Here are a few of the areas discussed in this guide:



Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.

Learn more + contact IDES:



The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has put together a comprehensive guide to COVID-19 geared directly at businesses and employers. This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about COVID-19. CDC will update this interim guidance as needed and as additional information becomes available.

Learn more:

There is an ongoing investigation to determine more about this outbreak. This is a rapidly evolving situation and information will be updated as it becomes available.

About COVID-19 & Latest Updates


Health and government officials are working together to maintain the safety, security, and health of the American people. Small businesses are encouraged to do their part to keep their employees, customers, and themselves healthy.

Learn more: 


March 16, 2020 – State of Illinois Executive Order: “To-Go”, Carry Out, Take Out Permitted

“Beginning March 16, 2020 at 9:00 p.m. through March 30, 2020, all businesses in the State of Illinois that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption—including restaurants, bars, grocery stores, and food halls—must suspend service for and may not permit on-premises consumption. Such businesses are permitted and encouraged to serve food and beverages so that they may be consumed off-premises, as currently permitted by law, through means such as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, and curbside pick-up. In addition, customers may enter the premises to purchase food or beverages for carry-out. However, establishments offering food or beverages for carry-out, including food trucks, must ensure that they have an environment where patrons maintain adequate social distancing. Businesses located in airports, hospitals, and dining halls in colleges and universities are exempt from the requirements of this Executive Order. Hotel restaurants may continue to provide room service and carry-out. Catering services may continue.”

The USBG National Charity Foundation has a Bartender Emergency Assistance Program – find information and eligibility requirements here.


From IMA: Manufacturers may continue operating in Illinois. Governor Pritzker’s executive order issued banning events with 50 or more attendees does not apply to manufacturers or private employers with the exception of restaurants and bars. While some cities and states have prohibited the operation of “non-essential” businesses, this is not currently in effect in Illinois.

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association & IMEC are excellent resources specific to manufacturing.

IMEC has implemented a helpline at


Facebook is offering $100M in cash grants and ad credits for up to 30,000 eligible small businesses in over 30 countries where they operate.


Ameren Illinois: In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ameren is suspending all disconnections for non-payment and forgiving any late payment fees for residential and business customers. Normal billing for customers’ usage will continue as usual but if you are having difficulty paying your bill, please contact their Customer Care team. Learn more here.

Illinois American Water: In an effort to keep their customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Illinois American Water will be placing a moratorium and discontinuing service shut offs at this time. They will continue to evaluate this moratorium as more information becomes available. Additionally, Illinois American Water will begin the restoration of service to previously shut-off customers. Learn more here.

The IRS has established a website to help taxpayers and businesses affected by the coronavirus.

The U.S. Department of Labor has resources to help workers and employers prepare for the COVID-19 virus, including use of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Google for Small Business has resources to help your small business manage through uncertainty.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) has an entire section of COVID-19 resources, including best practices and templates. SHRM links worth bookmarking:


Commonly used & suggested by local employers:


New to working at home? Here are some tips on how to be successful via Zoom. Other articles:


For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 and preparedness resources, please visit your county's public health website.


BUREAU,MARSHALL, & PUTNAM COUNTIES:  websitefacebook page

GRUNDY COUNTY:  websitefacebook page

LASALLE COUNTY:  websitefacebook page

LIVINGSTON COUNTY:  websitefacebook page


Social distancing SLOWS the spread of COVID-19. We should avoid ALL unnecessary interactions. Social distancing can prevent further spread of the virus and help alleviate pressure on our healthcare system.


Find information from the Illinois Department of Public Health here, including FAQs & daily press releases + videos.


  • On March 17, the Illinois Manufacturers’ Association hosted a conference call to update employers on the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Topics included business communications, human resource issues, and business continuity. Listen to audio of the call here & please be aware that the initial audio quality for the beginning of the first panelist is very poor, but improves significantly after approximately two minutes.


We understand that each individual and business is different – and we’re help to help. If you have a question, want to share information about your company’s situation, and/or are in need of resources, please contact us:

  • General Questions -

  • Amy Lambert, Executive Director – alambert@alliancesbdc

  • Phone - 844.369.8898

(Please leave message if unanswered as we may be providing one-on-one assistance with clients on another line.)

As a reminder, all SBDC services are no cost, confidential & one on one. To schedule an appointment (phone or webinar) with the SBDC, register online ( ‘Request a virtual appointment’).

While our physical office is closed for the time being, we’re always available to connect digitally. View upcoming events, offered via webinar, here.

This page will be continuously updated with business and community information & resources.