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Resources for economic assistance

Posted  4 years ago  in  Trending

3 MIN READ – Amid the coronavirus pandemic, businesses are seeking support and financial relief. Check out the following list of resources and opportunities.

Local Resources

Extension of Business Relief 

As thousands of Chicago businesses continue to deal with the significant impact of the COVID-19 crisis, the City has moved to give further relief to businesses by extending critical relief efforts and renewal dates into 2021. As a part of these measures, all existing Sidewalk Cafes will be now be able to operate until May 1, 2021, without needing to renew or pay a renewal fee. Additionally, all business and public vehicle licenses with an expiration date between March 15, 2020 and June 15, 2021 will be considered active and will not need to pay a renewal fee until July 15, 2021. Licensees will have until July 15, 2021, to renew without paying a late fee.  

ChiServes.com for hospitality workers

The City of Chicago has created a ChiServes.com portal for hospitality workers impacted by COVID-19 to access workforce development support resources. 


On September 18, the City of Chicago released this document providing guidance for restaurants and bars to continue operating outdoors safely and responsibly through fall and winter.

On October 8, the City of Chicago announced two wins for the restaurant industry: DoorDash’s $500,000 support for winterization, and the winners of the Winter Dining Challenge with BMO Harris Bank and Illinois Restaurant Association.

The Winter Design Challenge is a competition for community members to reimagine the winter outdoor dining experience in Chicago. The winners are Amy Young, ASD (SKY, Cozy Cabins), Neil Reindel (Block Party), and Ellie Henderson (Heated Tables). The Illinois Restaurant Association will select pilot restaurants for testing prototypes in the coming weeks.

Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge

The Department of Housing and City of Chicago pledge affirms lenders and landlords may offer eligible renters and mortgage holders deferred payment agreements and other financial relief in response to the economic fallout of COVID-19 and continuing after the pandemic. Find more information on the pledge, including the complete list of participating lenders here.

Arts Community Resources - Local, State and National

Find a list of resources compiled by the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, including grant and loan programs as well as resources for virtual arts programming.

Dining at a Distance

If you’re a restaurant open for business, submit your delivery information, menus, neighborhood, and more to be included on this list. Diners can use this aggregator to find what restaurants in the Chicago area are open for take-out, curbside pick-up, or delivery during the lockdown of Chicago’s restaurants and bars during COVID-19. 

Takeout COVID

Takeout COVID lists open restaurants that are selling wine, beer, and food. Restaurants can add themselves for free.

Millennium Garages Relief Rates

Millennium Garages is now offering free parking on Mondays at some of their Loop garages. Enroll here for a coupon to use every Monday. View discounted rates for other days of the week here.

State Resources

ComEd's Small Business Assistance Program

ComEd’s Small Business Assistance Program provides eligible small-business customers that are past due on their energy bills with a one-time grant equal to 30 percent of their total ComEd balance (up to $1,000) for a limited time. Customers whose electric service has not been disconnected can then set up their remaining balance due on a payment plan of up to six months.

Small-business customers can apply online or call 1-877-4-COMED-1 (1-877-426-6331) to learn more and apply.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL)

Working capital loans to help small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private, non-profit organizations of all sizes meet their ordinary and necessary financial obligations that cannot be met as a direct result of the civil unrest. These loans are intended to assist through the disaster recovery period. Apply online.

Illinois Department of Employment Security

Learn more about unemployment benefits related to COVID-19 in the State of Illinois. Find answers to questions like: What if I’m temporarily laid off due to COVID-19? 

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Illinois Small Businesses

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DECO) is working diligently to secure access to helpful resources for small businesses throughout the State of Illinois and has compiled these helpful links regarding COVID 19 resources for small businesses.

Illinois Events Coalition

Created by event professionals throughout the state, the Illinois Events Coalition is aiming to raise awareness for how the vendors, consultants, contractors, gig workers, and small businesses that comprise the events industry are and will be affected by COVID-19. Learn more about the coalition here.

National Resources

American rescue plan act of 2021

The American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 passed and provides $1.9 trillion to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here for a detailed outline from the City of Chicago of key components. Businesses are encouraged to connect with their banks as soon as possible to learn more about applying for this new round of federal COVID-19 relief.

U.S. Travel Association

In times like these, it is important for Congress to hear from their constituents about the impact a decline in travel is having on local workers and businesses. Your outreach is critical to U.S. Travel's advocacy efforts that will inform policymaking and inspire congressional action. Chicago Loop Alliance submitted a signed letter of support on March 20, 2020, requesting miscellaneous support (workforce stabilization fund, employment grants, business stabilizations, SBA loan optimization, and tax relief). Voice your support here.

U.S. Small Business Administration

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. Find business guidance and loan resources here.

Rehab Spot Addiction Recovery Centers

If you or a loved one is in the battle against addiction, treatment centers are still open during the spread of COVID-19. Many people are finding themselves turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms of drugs and alcohol to deal with stress, anxiety and uncertainty. You don’t have to go through this time by yourself. Rehabilitation centers are still open, providing essential treatment for people in need. Learn about treatment, rehab centers and more.

One Fair Wage

If you're a tipped worker (restaurant workers, delivery drivers, etc), you may sign up and receive $213 cash from the One Fair Wage. One Fair Wage has been working to support our service industry worker to the best of their ability. Learn more here.

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