COVID-19 BUSINESS/CONSUMERS/JOBS: How To 'Get My (Stimulus) Payment!' From IRS - kanecountyconnects.com

COVID-19 BUSINESS/CONSUMERS/JOBS: How To 'Get My (Stimulus) Payment!' From IRS - kanecountyconnects.com


COVID-19 BUSINESS/CONSUMERS/JOBS: How To 'Get My (Stimulus) Payment!' From IRS - kanecountyconnects.com

Posted: 15 Apr 2020 12:00 AM PDT

  • Editor's Note: Kane County Connects is here to help during COVID-19 emergency, and so are your local businesses. Consumers need stuff — from the supplies for everyday living to the best advice about taxes, financing or services during the coming days and weeks. This article is designed to help you easily find what you need. Economic development and chamber of commerce officials who wish to share information can email news releases, links and images to kanecountyconnects.com.
  • CLICK THIS LINKS FOR THE KANE COUNTY HEALTH DEPARTMENT WEBSITE.
  • Scroll down for links to additional business resources, such as the Small Business Advisory Council.

Kane County Connects Daily Updates

  • COVID-19 OVERVIEW — A roundup of national and international updates.
  • COVID-19 STATE — State of Illinois and Illlinois Department of Public Health updates (Includes daily updates from Gov. JB Pritzker's news conferences and Kane County COVID-19 alerts from the IDPH.)
  • COVID-19 KANE COUNTY — Kane County updates, including information from the Kane County Health Department, courts, Sheriff's Office, and all units of county government. (Note:  IDPH provides breaking information on the numbers of cases or deaths in Kane County.)
  • COVID-19 COMMUNITIES — A roundup of information from municipalities, park districts, libraries, as well as local human interest stories.
  • COVID-19 SCHOOLS — Updates on school closings or openings, meals and online learning.
  • COVID-19 HOSPITALS — Vital links to local hospital websites and additional trusted information on COVID-19.
  • COVID-19 BUSINESS/CONSUMERS —Business news, what's open and closed, where to find stuff you need, and updates from local chambers of commerce.
  • COVID-19 CONNECTIONS — Personal observations, photos, miscellaneous news, quirky and fun stuff related to the days of COVID in Kane.
  • COVID-19 HOW TO HELP — Volunteer, donation and any local efforts to help others during the COVID-19 emergency.

10:30AM FRIDAY, APRIL 17

Sugar Grove Chamber to Host Zoom Meeting with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce will host a Zoom meeting froom 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Thursday, April 23, with the Illinois Chamber of Commerce.

Illinois Chamber Executive Director Todd Maisch and Lanae Clark, vice president of investor relations, will be on hand to discuss a number of items related to the business community. Participants may receive the latest information on resources available at a state and federal level to help the business community during this difficult time.

Additional discussions on the proposed progressive income tax and what it means for local business will be discussed.

This program is free, though registration is required to attend the meeting. Please submit questions in advance, and feedback will be welcomed. You may register by emailing the Executive Director Beth Goncher at bethgoncher@gmail.com, and a login code will be provided.

The Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce website is being updated with resources, links and more information to assist membership and local business owners.

Visit www.sugargrovechamber.org to review the latest news and information.

9:30AM THURSDAY, APRIL 16

Consumers Should Be Award of Counterfeit KN95 Masks

NOON WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

To Help in Crisis, Kane County Waives 30-Day Property Tax Late Payment Penalty

11AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

4 VITAL Resources Recommended by Kane Economic Development Staff

10:30AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

How To Get Your (Gosh-Darn) Stimulus Payment!

The IRS is committed to helping you get your Economic Impact Payment as soon as possible. The payments, also referred to by some as stimulus payments, are automatic for most taxpayers.

No further action is needed by taxpayers who filed tax returns in 2018 and 2019 and most seniors and retirees.

Filers: Get Your Payment

Use the "Get My Payment" application to:

  • Check your payment status
  • Confirm your payment type: direct deposit or check
  • Enter your bank account information for direct deposit if we don't have your direct deposit information and we haven't sent your payment yet

See if you are eligible for an Economic Impact Payment.

SOURCE: https://www.irs.gov/coronavirus/economic-impact-payments

9AM MONDAY, APRIL 13

Have You Received Your Stimulus Check Yet?

Stack of 20 dollar bills with illustrative coronavirus stimulus payment check on USA flag

Here are some FAQs from the IRS on that check that's supposed to be in your account — now or soon, if you filed your taxes electronically.

If you haven' filed electronically prior to this point in time, below is some information on how you can do that and very likely get your stimulus payment sooner.

Who is eligible for the Economic Impact Payment?

U.S. citizens or resident aliens who:

  • Have a valid Social Security number,
  • Could not be claimed as a dependent of another taxpayer, and
  • Had adjusted gross income under certain limits.

Who will receive the Economic Impact Payment automatically without taking additional steps?

Most eligible U.S. taxpayers will automatically receive their Economic Impact Payments including:

  • Individuals who filed a federal income tax for 2018 or 2019
  • Individuals who receive Social Security retirement, disability (SSDI), or survivor benefits
  • Individuals who receive Railroad Retirement benefits

Who should use Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info to provide additional information to receive the Economic Impact Payment?

Eligible U.S. citizens or permanent residents who:

  • Had gross income that did not exceed $12,200 ($24,400 for married couples) for 2019
  • Were not otherwise required to file a federal income tax return for 2019, and didn't plan to

You can provide the necessary information to the IRS easily and quickly for no fee through Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info. We will use this information to determine your eligibility and payment amount and send you an Economic Impact Payment. After providing this information you won't need to take any additional action.

Information You will Need to Provide

  • Full name, current mailing address and an email address
  • Date of birth and valid Social Security number
  • Bank account number, type and routing number, if you have one
  • Identity Protection Personal Identification Number (IP PIN) you received from the IRS earlier this year, if you have one
  • Driver's license or state-issued ID, if you have one
  • For each qualifying child: name, Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number and their relationship to you or your spouse

What to Expect

Clicking "Non-Filers: Enter Payment Info Here" above will take you from the IRS site to Free File Fillable Forms, a certified IRS partner. This site is safe and secure.

Follow these steps in order to provide your information:

  • Create an account by providing your email address and phone number; and establishing a user ID and password.
  • You will be directed to a screen where you will input your filing status (Single or Married filing jointly) and personal information.
  • Note: Make sure you have a valid Social Security number for you (and your spouse if you were married at the end of 2019) unless you are filing "Married Filing Jointly" with a 2019 member of the military. Make sure you have a valid Social Security number or Adoption Taxpayer Identification Number for each dependent you want to claim for the Economic Impact Payment.
  • Check the "box" if someone can claim you as a dependent or your spouse as a dependent.
  • Complete your bank information (otherwise we will send you a check).
  • You will be directed to another screen where you will enter personal information to verify yourself. Simply follow the instructions. You will need your driver's license (or state-issued ID) information. If you don't have one, leave it blank.

You will receive an e-mail from Customer Service at Free File Fillable Forms that either acknowledges you have successfully submitted your information, or that tells you there is a problem and how to correct it. Free File Fillable forms will use the information to automatically complete a Form 1040 and transmit it to the IRS to compute and send you a payment.

8AM FRIDAY, APRIL 10

Farmers Getting Ready To Start 2020 Planting Season

COVID-19 has hit the pause button for millions of people in Illinois – but that does not include the state's farmers.

Kane County Board member Mike Kenyon, himself a farmer, said that the recent rains and wet grounds have kept many farmers in Kane County from getting started in the fields — and there's more rain in the forecast Saturday and Sunday.

But with the warming spring weather, state of Illinois officials are also expecting an onslaught of activity in farm fields across Illinois.

This means a lot more farm vehicular traffic on Illinois' roadways over the next few weeks. While the state's stay-at-home mandate has reduced vehicular traffic overall, it doesn't change the fact that spring planting season is one of the most dangerous times for farmers — both on the roads and in the fields.

"Farmers are the backbone of our state's economy, and I know how hard they work this time of the year. But in the rush to get the 2020 crop in, we urge them to use caution while sharing the road," said Michael Kleinik, director of the Illinois Department of Labor. "We all want farmers to head home to their families safe and sound at the end of each day."

Vehicle safety is an especially important focus this time of year. Tractor overturns are the leading cause of fatalities in the agriculture industry, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. These accidents result in about 130 deaths each year nationwide.

While tractor roll-over accidents most often occur on the farm, roadways also pose a major safety hazard. Too often a vehicle attempting to pass causes a collision before the tractor or farm implement can finish a left-hand turn. Such collisions occur simply because the driver fails to reduce speed for the slower moving farm implement.

Impatience and speed are a deadly combination on rural roads this time of year. Visibility is also a key to road safety. All agricultural vehicles using the public roadways must display the fluorescent orange Slow Moving Vehicle triangle.

10:45AM THURSDAY, APRIL 9

State Awards Emergency Grants to 700 Small Bars, Restaurants, Hotels

The state of Illinois in partnership with Accion awarded $14 million in small grants to more than 700 small bars, restaurants, and hotels.

According to a state of Illinois news release, 12,000 businesses applied for funding and grantees were selected via a random lottery conducted by Accion.

Bars and restaurants received an average grant of $14,000 while hotels received an average grant of $30,000.

The grants can be used to support working capital — like payroll and rent — job training, and technology to support shifts in operations including increased use of carry out and delivery.

Awards for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program were drawn from existing DCEO funds budgeted for tourism promotion, job training, and general operations. More than 450 small bars and restaurants received an average grant of roughly $14,000 while more than 250 small hotels received an average grant of $30,000.

Applications were accepted by Accion from March 25 through April 1 and the lottery to select grantees was held from April 4 to April 7.

The awarded businesses are located across the state of Illinois. Approximately one-third of the businesses receiving grants are located outside of Cook and the collar counties.

DCEO continues to identify new resources and services for businesses impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including resources under the federal CARES Act including the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), EIDL Emergency Advance, and the Paycheck Protection Program. A list of resources available to small businesses is published and updated on DCEO's website.

11AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8

Department of Revenue Moves to Assist Distillers Making Hand Sanitizer

With many Illinois-based distillers shifting operations to produce needed hand sanitizer during the COVID-19 outbreak, the Illinois Department of Revenue is ensuring any alcohol purchases made for production be tax-exempt. Normally, distillers incur a tax liability based on the amount and strength of alcohol used in distillation. Last night, IDOR sent distillers guidance on how to claim a tax deduction on their alcohol purchases to remove any tax liability.

"During this time of crisis, it is great to see Illinois taxpayers stepping up to help in so many ways," said Illinois Department of Revenue Director David Harris.  "The department will continue to take steps to help taxpayers have the financial flexibility to address needs due to this COVID-19 outbreak."

Since the Governors' Disaster Proclamation, IDOR has granted temporary sales tax relief to small and medium-sized restaurants and bars, extended the income tax deadline to July 15, extended renewal deadlines for sales tax exemption holders, and offered taxpayers who owe estimated taxes an alternative way to calculate their liability.

Although the tax deadline was extended, IDOR is still processing and issuing tax refunds in a timely manner to those expecting them.

Taxpayers can find more coronavirus-related resources at IDOR's website at tax.illinois.gov.

2:30PM TUESDAY, APRIL 7

All Essential Workers Now Qualify For Childcare Assistance

The state of Illinois has expanded eligibility to support essential workers' child care needs and an increase in financial support for emergency child care centers and homes.

Effective April 1, all essential workers in health care, human services, essential government services, and essential infrastructure now qualify for the state's Child Care Assistance Program.

The state will cover most of the cost of care provided by emergency child care centers and homes. This expansion of eligibility includes those working as nurses and doctors, supporting staff in hospitals, grocery store clerks and food producers.

Full details and applications for assistance are available on the Department of Human Services website DHS.illinois.gov/helpishere and coronavirus.illinois.gov.

State Pays Enhanced Reimbursement

The doctor listens to the lungs of a sick boy in a stethoscope. He came with his mother to the doctor. The girl is ill with a cold. They are in the light office of the doctor.For emergency child care centers and homes, the state will be paying enhanced reimbursement rates effective April 1. The enhanced reimbursement rate is 30 percent above the usual pay rate. The change seeks to reflect the additional costs of providing care in smaller groups.

Child care centers that are interested in re-opening as emergency child centers are able to apply for a permit through the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services. Information is available on the Governor's Office of Early Childhood Development (GOECD) website www2.illinois.gov/sites/OECD. Home child care providers do not need a permit, and can serve up to six children.

This effort builds on previous initiatives expanding financial relief to child care providers across Illinois.

The state developed a simple waiver process to allow child care providers to be paid for all of their enrolled children in the Child Care Assistance Program for March and April so that child care staff could continue to receive pay through this crisis. The state also reduced parent co-payments in April and May to $1 per month to relieve cost burdens on parents and to make sure that providers don't miss out on this important revenue.

Last week the state also announced one-time stipends to providers. 1,100 homes and centers have already applied. Child care providers that are interested in applying should contact their local Child Care Resource & Referral agency, or download the application from coronavirus.illinois.gov.

The state is providing these resources to child care providers because it recognizes that it is critical to safeguard the fiscal stability of providers until they are ready to serve families again when it is safe for them to fully re-open.

SOURCE: state of Illinois news release

11AM MONDAY, APRIL 6

Grocery Stores Dedicate Times for Seniors

VISIT: www.kanehealth.com

In an effort to protect senior citizens and those considered high risk for contracting COVID-19, many grocery stores have set aside times for these populations to shop.

Below is a list or stores and shopping times, courtesy of the Kane County Health Department. Consumers can also click on the links to find out more about home delivery, great deals, popular products and COVID-19 FAQs.

Jewel-Osco — Every Tuesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Meijer — Meijer stores and pharmacies will provide dedicated shopping times on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m.

ALDI — Tuesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. for seniors, expectant mothers and those with health concerns

The Fresh Market — Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. Woodman's- Wednesday morning between 6-8 a.m. at all
locations

Trader Joe's — Every day between 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Crew members will maintain an additional line outside the front door for senior customers

Elgin Fresh Market — Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for senior citizens and those physically handicapped

Butera Market — Suggested to visit stores from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m.

Costco — Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m. for members 60+ and those with physical impairments

10:30AM FRIDAY, APRIL 3

$349 Billion in Emergency Small Business Capital Cleared

Following the signing of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, the Small Business Administration and Treasury Department have initiated a robust mobilization effort of banks and other lending institutions to provide small businesses with the capital they need.

The CARES Act establishes a new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program. The program will provide much-needed relief to millions of small businesses so they can sustain their businesses and keep their workers employed.

The new loan program will help small businesses with their payroll and other business operating expenses. It will provide critical capital to businesses without collateral requirements, personal guarantees, or SBA fees – all with a 100% guarantee from SBA.

All loan payments will be deferred for six months. Most importantly, the SBA will forgive the portion of the loan proceeds that are used to cover the first eight weeks of payroll costs, rent, utilities, and mortgage interest.

The Paycheck Protection Program is specifically designed to help small businesses keep their workforce employed. Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on the Paycheck Protection Program.

  • The new loan program will be available retroactive from Feb. 15, 2020, so employers can rehire their recently laid-off employees through June 30, 2020.

Loan Terms & Conditions

  • Eligible businesses: All small businesses, including non-profits, Veterans organizations, Tribal concerns, sole proprietorships, self-employed individuals, and independent contractors, with 500 or fewer employees, or no greater than the number of employees set by the SBA as the size standard for certain industries
  • Maximum loan amount up to $10 million
  • Loan forgiveness if proceeds used for payroll costs and other designated business operating expenses in the 8 weeks following the date of loan origination (due to likely high subscription, it is anticipated that not more than 25% of the forgiven amount may be for non-payroll costs)
  • All loans under this program will have the following identical features:
    • Interest rate of 1%
    • Maturity of 2 years
    • First payment deferred for six months
    • 100% guarantee by SBA
    • No collateral
    • No personal guarantees
    • No borrower or lender fees payable to SBA

SBA's announcement comes on the heels of a series of steps taken by the Agency since the President's Emergency Declaration to expeditiously provide capital to financially distressed businesses affected by the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Since March 17, SBA has taken the following steps:

Visit SBA.gov/Coronavirus for more information on SBA's assistance to small businesses.

8:15AM THURSDAY, APRIL 2

Unemployment in Illinois Soars

More than 178,000 Illinois residents applied for unemployment insurance benefits last week, as the number of workers who have lost their jobs due to the coronavirus pandemic continues to swell, the Chicago Tribune and other sources reported today (Thursday, April 2).

Because of the high volume of claims, online filing and claims applications will be unavailable every night from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. for daily claims processing.

As previously mentioned (scroll down), Illinois has done to an online filing schedule based on alphabetical order.

  • Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  • Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.

Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions:

COVID-19 and Unemployment Benefits FAQ

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.

What is Unemployment Insurance (UI)?

In general, UI provides temporary income maintenance to individuals who have been separated from employment through no fault of their own and who meet all eligibility requirements, including the requirements that they be able and available for work, register with the state employment service and actively seek work. Click here for more information.

What determines if I'm able to work?

An individual is considered able to work if he or she is mentally and physically capable of performing a job for which a labor market exists.

What determines if I'm available for work?

To be considered available for work, an individual cannot impose conditions on the acceptance of work if those conditions essentially leave him or her with no reasonable prospect of work.

What determines if I'm actively seeking work?

An individual is considered to be actively seeking work if he or she is making an effort that is reasonably calculated to return the individual to work.

What if I'm temporarily laid off because the place where I work is temporarily closed because of the COVID-19 virus?

An individual temporarily laid off in this situation could qualify for benefits as long as he or she was able and available for and actively seeking work. Under emergency rules IDES recently adopted, the individual would not have to register with the employment service. He or she would be considered to be actively seeking work as long as the individual was prepared to return to his or her job as soon the employer reopened.

What if I quit my job because I am generally concerned over the COVID-19 virus?

An individual who leaves work voluntarily without a good reason attributable to the employer is generally disqualified from receiving UI. The eligibility of an individual in this situation will depend on whether the facts of his or her case demonstrate the individual had a good reason for quitting and that the reason was attributable to the employer. An individual generally has a duty to make a reasonable effort to work with his or her employer to resolve whatever issues have caused the individual to consider quitting.

What if I'm confined to my home 1) because a licensed physician has diagnosed me as having COVID-19 or 2) because I must stay home to care for my spouse, parent or child, whom a medical professional has diagnosed  as having COVID-19 or 3) because of a government-imposed or government-recommended quarantine?

An individual in any of those situations would be considered to be unemployed through no fault of his or her own. However, to qualify for UI, he or she would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements, including the requirements that the individual be able and available for work, registered with the state employment service and actively seeking work from the confines of his or her home.

The individual would be considered able and available for work if there was some work that he or she could perform from home (e.g., transcribing, data entry, virtual assistant services) and there is a labor market for that work.

What if I leave work because my child's school has temporarily closed, and I feel I have to stay home with the child?

Ordinarily, an individual who left work to address child care needs would be considered to have left work voluntarily and would generally be disqualified from receiving UI, unless the reason for leaving was attributable to the employer.

However, the fact that all schools statewide have temporarily closed in response to the COVID-19 virus presents a unique situation in which it is unlikely a parent whose child cannot stay home alone has a ready alternative to staying home with the child himself/herself.

Under the current circumstances, someone who left work to care for the child could be considered as unemployed through no fault of his her own; in that case, to qualify for UI, the individual would still need to meet all other eligibility requirements, including the requirements that the individual be able and available for work, registered with the state employment service and actively seeking work from the confines of his or her home.

The individual would be considered able and available for work if there was some work that he or she could perform from home (e.g., transcribing, data entry, virtual assistant services) and there is a labor market for that work.

I have exhausted my rights to UI. Will additional benefits be available because of the COVID-19 situation?

At this point, no additional UI is available to individuals who have already received the full 26 weeks' worth of benefits for their current benefit years.

9AM WEDNESDAY, APRIL 1

How To Determine If You're Eligible For a Stimulus Check

The amount you'll receive will depend on your total income in 2019 or 2018. If you qualify, you'll receive one payment. Here's who qualifies:

  • If you're a single US resident and have an adjusted gross income less than $99,000.
  • If you file as the head of a household and earn under $146,500.
  • If you file jointly without children and earn less than $198,000.

Read on for how your payment is calculated and how much you can expect. You can also look at this calculator.

4PM TUESDAY, MARCH 31

St. Charles Chamber: #Stronger Together

Aurora Company Transforms Factory To Make Emergency Beds

The most critically-needed resources in the coming days, as the COVID-19 cases spike, will be medical personnel, equipment, ventilators and beds.

Here's another inspiring effort by a local company — Richard Wilcox, Inc. of Aurora — to make difference in this COVID-19 emergency, shared by Kane County Economic

Send Meals To First Responders in St. Charles

COVID-19 Pandemic: Manufacturers' Greatest Time of Need

Helpline image - horizontal

IMEC and our partners are ready to serve you! The experts at IMEC have packaged the tools and resources you will need to survive current disruptions, while strengthening your business continuity plan:

  • Illinois Manufacturing Helpline – You need quick, credible responses to urgent questions and concerns. Submit them to the helpline and an expert will address your concern in as little as one business day!
  • Manufacturing Leaders and Experts Forum – An opportunity to share best practices, ideas, and solutions with other leaders and experts who are experiencing and overcoming similar crisis-related challenges.
  • Coronavirus / COVID-19 Updates – Your source for up to date information around the pandemic from federal and local government sources, along with tips and resources to help you prepare for COVID-19 impacts
  • COVID-19 Risk Mitigation Webinars (part 1 and 2) – Experts address the issues and initiatives associated coronavirus/COVID-19. Both webinars are available for download, as well as other key resources from the webinars.
  • COVID-19 Preventative Sanitation & Decontamination Practices Webinar – Daily tasks and proactive steps you can take to limit your risk of exposure to COVID-19
  • 10 Practical Things Manufacturers can do to Respond to the COVID-19 Pandemic – A checklist that helps you keep a pulse on the different areas of business you need to be concerned with right now to overcome the challenges brought on by COVID-19.
    Supply Chain Disruptions Tools:
  • Supply Chain Planning Checklist – As the COVID-19 health crisis impacts global supply chains, IMEC is stressing the importance of having a plan in place prior to disruptions to your supply chain. This checklist can help your company react to and prepare for disruptions.
  • Supply Chain Preparedness Support – There are over 20 critical supplies needed to respond to COVID-19. If your company currently does or can quickly begin production, please let us know. This information will be shared with critical stakeholders such as US Department of Commerce, DCEO, and IMA.
  • Match with a Supplier –  For company experiencing supply chain disruptions and looking for suppliers to fill their needs.
  • IMEC COVID-19 Blog Collection – Timely blogs related to the best ways to respond COVID-19, written by IMEC experts and industry partners. Topics range from supply chain planning, cybersecurity, employment law, marketing, safety practices, tips and highlights from the Illinois Manufacturing Helpline, and more!

As always, IMEC is proud to be a manufacturer's source of information, solutions, and confidence for your community.

11:30AM FRIDAY, MARCH 27

Where To Find Important Information From Kane County Hospitals

Elgin OKs Alcohol Delivery

8:06AM FRIDAY, MARCH 27

IDES Taking Steps to Address Unprecedented Volume of Unemployment Claims

The Illinois Department of Employment Security announced new rules for applying for unemployment in the wake of the unprecedented volume of unemployment benefit claims resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.

To date, the department has taken several steps to improve the unemployment benefit claims process via the online portal and the call center.

  •  The website has been moved to new hardware infrastructure to handle the increased demand
  •  Web, storage, and processing capacity has been increased to meet needs of increased traffic
  •  Methods have been implemented to track COVID-19-related claims
  •  Call center capacity has been increased
  •  Daily call center hours have been extended to respond to those waiting in the queue after closure
  •  Call center staff has been supplemented by 40% to cut down on wait times
  •  Both the website and the call center will continue to be monitored for improvements in functions and abilities

In addition to these measures, IDES is now asking individuals to adhere to an alphabetized schedule when filing an unemployment benefit claim online and over the phone.  This process mirrors other states, such as Colorado and New York, who are experiencing increased web traffic and high call volumes with their unemployment benefit systems.

Online Filing Schedule:

  •  Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to file their claims on Sundays, Tuesdays, or Thursdays.
  •  Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to file their claims on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
  •  Saturdays will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

Call Center Filing Schedule:

  •  Those with last names beginning with letters A-M will be asked to call on Tuesdays and Thursdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
  •  Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30am – 6pm.
  •  Fridays (7:30am – 6pm) will be available for anyone to accommodate those who could not file during their allotted window.

The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether you receive benefits or your benefit amount.  Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19.

IDES is currently working through an unparalleled number of unemployment benefit claims and questions, both online and through the call center.  Over the first three weeks of March, IDES has received over 130,000 unemployment benefit claims, an increase of close to 400% compared to the corresponding weeks the prior year.  The department received close to 115,000 claims for the week of March 21 alone, an increase of nearly 1,400% compared to the corresponding week the prior year.  Additionally, the call center continues to field hundreds of calls per minute, per day.

The administration and the department understand and empathize with the heightened level of frustration this crisis has had on those wishing to file a claim.  IDES is doing everything possible to support our customers and meet the demand for unemployment benefit inquiries and claims.

Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefit at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

10:30AM THURSDAY, MARCH 26

Gas Prices Go Low

Kane County Board member Chris Kious spotted this sign for gasoline at $1.47 Thursday morning in northern Kane County.

One consolation for consumers during the COVID-19 emergency is the price of gas.

As you can see by the image above, Kane County Board member Chris Kious spotted this sign for gasoline at $1.47 Thursday morning in northern Kane County.

You won't have to drive far to find a great price. Below is a chart from a GasBuddy search for Geneva.

Geneva Business Makes Ventilator Valves

Nice story in the Kane County Chronicle about a Geneva business that makes ventilator valves.

1PM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

Aurora Puts Non-Essential Businesses on Notice

In an effort to reinforce the mandated closure of non-essential businesses through April 7, the city of Aurora is preparing to issue compliance notices for those in violation.

Irvin

"We have received complaints from employees who are justifiably concerned about working conditions amid the COVID-19 crisis," said Aurora Mayor Richard C. Irvin. "We will determine if the business is essential as defined by the state, and, if so, what social distancing and prevention measures are in place for operations."

Concerned employees can contact the city of Aurora at 630-256-4636 or MayorsOffice@aurora-il.org.

Once information is received, the city's Law Department will make the determination if a business located within the city of Aurora is essential or non-essential. Non-essential businesses will receive a hand-delivered Notice to Comply and mandated to comply with the Governor's Executive Order.

Business owners will have 24 hours to comply or appeal to the law department before corrective action is enforced, which could include 1) an order of closure issued by the state or local health department or 2) a civil and/or criminal liability.

"This is clearly a matter of life or death," said Irvin. "COVID-19 is here in Aurora, and we will do whatever is necessary to reinforce the state's guidelines for safety. We cannot have employees working in unsafe conditions and completing non-essential tasks just to meet the company's bottom line. People are more important than profits."

10AM WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25

Kane County Business FlagSource Is Making Masks

Is this cool, or what?

2:15PM TUESDAY, MARCH 24

Small Business Administration Offers Disaster Loan Webinars

The Small Business Administration is a great resource for Kane County businesses during these tough economic times.

Additional SBA Disaster Loan training/info webinars have been scheduled.

All Illinois small businesses can now apply for low-interest disaster loans to help offset the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Tuesday, March 24, 3 p.m. CT
  • Wednesday, March 25, 11 a.m. CT
  • Thursday, March 26, 11 a.m. CT
  • Thursday, March 26, 3 p.m. CT

Click here for a link to register.

11:30AM MONDAY, MARCH 23

Health Department Shares Interim Guide For Businesses

The Kane County Health Department has released interim rules and guidelines for workplaces and restaurants in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

This interim guidance is based on what is currently known about the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. (CDC has provided separate guidance for healthcare settings.) This guidance also provides planning considerations for community spread of COVID-19.

INFORMATION FOR FOOD ESTABLISHMENTS

Per Gov. JB Pritzker's Executive Order dated March 16, 2020,  all businesses in the state of Illinois that offer food or beverages for on-premises consumption must suspend service for and may not permit on-premises consumption.

This is effective through March 30, 2020. Click HERE​ ​for information​.

It's important for consumers to know exactly how restaurants are maintaining safe conditions for delivery and carry-out. Check out the links below to see the requirements.

10:30AM MONDAY, MARCH 23

Geneva Offers Temporary Business Accommodations

During the statewide coronavirus public gathering restrictions, the city has issued temporary accommodations to assist Geneva's restaurants and stores.

Parking and sign regulation enforcement has been relaxed for restaurants and merchants to utilize public parking spaces for curbside pickup operations. The City also will delay the due date of liquor license renewal applications and fees from April 1 to May 1 without proration or penalty. Daily fee parking in the Third Street Commuter Parking Deck and downtown commuter parking lots will be free until further notice.

The city has provided a full listing of temporary municipal business accommodations as well as links to state and federal agencies offering useful information and financial assistance for businesses on the City's website.

8:30AM MONDAY, MARCH 23

Got a Virtual Workshop For Kane County?

If you've got a webinar or workshop event that's specifically targeted to a Kane County audience, send an email a link and text to kanecountyconnects.com, and we'll try to add it to our e-newsletter calendar.

This idea comes from the Women's Business Developement Center, which is holding a virtual event "How To Set Your Business Up For Growth!" from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 24.

"Thinking of starting a business? Recently started one? Ready to set your business up at a legal entity, a corporation or LLC? If you are an entrepreneur, start-up or established business, please join us for this seminar," WBCD says on its events page.

Leading the workshop is Nancy Fallon-Houle, a business lawyer in Downers Grove, a small-business owner herself at Velocity Law, LLC. She will apply her 25-plus years of experience to advise you on how to navigate legal topics.

"Please note this is being offered as a Virtual Training on-line. Instructions to access training will be emailed once you are registered," the website says.

Click this link to learn more.

8:30PM SUNDAY, MARCH 22

The Elgin business community is coming together to make sure that all residents and businesses are aware of services available during this time (both virtually and in person).

The Elgin Area Chamber of Commerce is asking businesses to update their information frequently so officials can keep the most current information on websites.

PREVIOUS POSTS

UPDATED 3:30PM FRIDAY, MARCH 20

While the governing is right now announcing a Shelter in Place order, please note the order does allow people to go out to shop for groceries or pick up from a local restaurant or go online to buy a gift card from a local business.

We'll continue to update this post with messages from chambers of commerce throughout Kane County. Here's the most-recent note from the Geneva Chamber of Commerce:

In response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the Geneva Chamber will be taking the following steps until further notice. We feel that extra caution needs to be taken to mitigate the spread of the virus.

  • Beginning noon Thursday, March 19, we will be working remotely.
  • Emails will continue to be checked regularly.
  • Voicemail will be checked, so please leave a message at 630-232-6060.
  • Updates regarding status of businesses will continue to be placed on our home page. KEEP SHOPPING LOCAL!
  • All March events have been canceled. We will update on April events.
  • Businesses – If you have gift certificates to be redeemed, please drop them off in the mail slot at 10 S. Third St. We will monitor this and send you a check in the mail.
  • Businesses – Flyers can be downloaded here, please continue to use.
  • Visitors – If you need to purchase a gift certificate, please do so at genevachamber.com/gitcertificates.php.

The chamber is continuing to support Geneva during this unprecedented time.

EAT, DRINK, STAY

If you are uneasy about going out right now, you can still support our local businesses by doing the following:

  • Buy gift certificates from the Geneva Chamber or gift cards from your favorite shop NOW, and use them later.
  • Buy items now for future pick-up or curbside pick-up (ask if they even offer delivery service).
  • If you know a business owner, ask how you can help them during this time.

By supporting our local businesses, you will help ensure that Geneva continues to be a desirable place to live, work and play!

UPDATED 12:05AM FRIDAY, MARCH 20

Here's The Status on Waste Hauling

Here's a quick update on the status of waste hauling and recycling services, courtesy of Kane County Recycling Coordinator Jennifer Jarland.

Bottom line is, waste-hauling services are still a go, and the drive-up recycling centers for electronics and textiles are open.

UPDATED 4PM THURSDAY, MARCH 19

State Offers Tax Deferrals For Bars, Restaurants

What's Open in Kane County

The Batavia Chamber of Commerce has a really cool idea that they shared today: Let's help connect consumers and local retailers so that people can find the stuff they want and need and local businesses can stay open as we soldier through the six to eight weeks many health officials say might be the duration of the coronavirus bell curve.

Yes, it's vitally important to use social distancing strategies. But when you have to venture out for supplies, want something delivered or want to conduct business online, there are plenty of options.

The Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia MainStreet and the city of Batavia have partnered to offer a comprehensive Google document spreadsheet of hours, accessibility and specials by local business.

The partners also have a Google doc list of Batavia restaurants that are open for delivery, drive-through and curbside service.

For information about what's open in your neck of the woods — or to find resources for your business, click the links below.

We will update this article as often as possible during the COVID-19 emergency.

Chambers of Commerce

Additional Resources

Other Resources

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Governors feel heat to reopen from protesters, president - Turn to 10

Posted: 18 Apr 2020 11:18 AM PDT

[unable to retrieve full-text content]Governors feel heat to reopen from protesters, president  Turn to 10

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