COVID-19: Business + Community Information & Resources (Champaign County)

Business Information & Resources

State of Illinois

Visit for all the latest information from the state of Illinois.

DCEO – Aid for Businesses
DCEO – Aid for Workers
DCEO – Aid for Residents

Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phase, data-driven plan designed to reopen the state’s economy.

Get Hired Illinois – Have you lost your job as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic? Are you looking for candidates to fill open positions? The Get Hired Illinois website connects employers looking for workers to workers looking for work.

Take the pledge to be All in Illinois.

Need to report price gouging or fraud related to COVID-19? Please fill out this form to the Illinois Attorney General.

Essential vs. Non-Essential

Text of Illinois “Stay-at-Home” Order – Governor Pritzker previously announced an order for Illinois citizens to stay at home other than to conduct essential activities. The order further outlines the closing of businesses other than those listed in a variety of “Essential Businesses and Operations.” The full text of the Executive Order 20-10, including definitions of essential activities and businesses, can be found here (March 20), here (April 1), and here (April 30).

Essential Businesses & Operations Frequently Asked Questions (updated 5/15/2020)
Essential vs. Non-Essential Businesses in Champaign County – CUPHD & Champaign County State’s Attorney Julia Rietz (VIDEO 4/9/2020)

Have questions about whether or not your businesses qualifies as essential? Contact one of the following:

If you believe that a business is violating Executive Order 20-10, which requires all non-essential businesses cease all activities except for working from home, you may submit a complaint to one of the following:

If you have questions about whether a business is violating the Stay at Home Order by not allowing for safe social distancing or that it is not maintaining a safe and sanitary work environment to minimize the risk of spread of COVID-19, please contact the Workplace Rights Bureau of the Illinois Attorney General’s Office at 844-740-5076 or



Grants & Financial Assistance: SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance 

SBA’s EIDL portal has reopened and at this time, only agricultural business applications will be accepted due to limitations in funding availability and the unprecedented submission of applications already received. If you have questions about your already submitted EIDL application, contact the SBA Disaster Customer Service Center at (800) 659-2955 or

This loan advance will provide up to $10,000 of economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing temporary difficulties. This loan advance will not have to be repaid.  Eligible agricultural businesses may apply for the Loan Advance here.

Grants & Financial Assistance: State of Illinois / DCEO Programs

  • Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
    • With the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus and its detrimental impact on small businesses, the State is invoking its option to adjust Community Development Block Grant allocations to address specific needs to benefit Illinois’ non-entitlement communities in case of unforeseen circumstances. $20 million will be available for this program.
    • The program component makes funds available for 60 days of verifiable working capital up to a grant ceiling of $25,000 and is available for businesses that employ 50 people or less.
    • These funds may be used to assist private for-profit small retail and service businesses, or businesses considered non-essential by the Governor’s Executive Order without the ability for employees to work remotely.
    •  Who is eligible? Champaign County businesses that exist outside the city/village limits of Champaign, Rantoul, and Urbana.
    • Who is ineligible? Businesses within the Champaign, Rantoul, and Urbana city/village limits are NOT eligible. Why? These grant funds are repurposed Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) funds. Champaign, Rantoul, and Urbana already receive CDBG funds through the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), so these unused funds are being activated to help businesses that exist outside of Illinois municipalities and counties that are already receiving CDBG/HUD funds.
    • Applications must be submitted by a unit of local government recognized by the Illinois Constitution. If you have interest in applying and/or questions, contact your unit of local government or Kathy Larson at the Champaign County RPC:
  • The Business Invest – Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program is an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer has made up to $500 million in deposits available to banks and credit unions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.
  • Arts for Illinois is a collaboration between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, and private philanthropy to support the arts community during the COVID-19 crisis.

Grants & Financial Assistance: SBA Express Bridge Loans & Debt Relief

SBA Express Bridge Loans: The Express Bridge Loan Pilot Program allows small businesses who currently have a business relationship with an SBA Express Lender to access up to $25,000 quickly.

SBA Debt Relief: As part of their coronavirus debt relief efforts, the SBA will pay 6 months of principal, interest, and any associated fees that borrowers owe for all current 7(a), 504, and Microloans in regular servicing status as well as new 7(a), 504, and Microloans disbursed prior to September 27, 2020. This relief is not available for Paycheck Protection Program loans or Economic Injury Disaster loans. Borrowers do not need to apply for this assistance. It will be automatically provided as follows:

  • For loans not on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans currently on deferment, SBA will begin making payments with the next payment due after the deferment period has ended, and will make six monthly payments.
  • For loans made after March 27, 2020 and fully disbursed prior to September 27, 2020, SBA will begin making payments with the first payment due on the loan and will make six monthly payments.

SBA has notified 7(a), 504 and Microloan Lenders that it will pay these borrower loan payments. Lenders have been instructed to refrain from collecting loan payments from borrowers. Borrowers should contact their lender if they have any questions regarding this payment relief.

Grants & Financial Assistance: Paycheck Protection Program

The SBA resumed accepting Paycheck Protection Program applications from participating lenders on Monday, April 27, 2020. Contact a lender ASAP to apply.

View a list of lenders participating in the Paycheck Protection Program by state as of April 23, 2020. Download a list of Illinois lenders here or use the SBA’s Find Your Lender tool.

The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities.

Who Can Apply:

  • Any small business concern that meets SBA’s size standards (either the industry based sized standard or the alternative size standard)
  • Any business, 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, 501(c)(19) veterans organization, or Tribal business concern (sec. 31(b)(2)(C) of the Small Business Act) with the greater of:
    • 500 employees, or
    • that meets the SBA industry size standard if more than 500
  • Any business with a NAICS Code that begins with 72 (Accommodations and Food Services) that has more than one physical location and employs less than 500 per location
  • Sole proprietors, independent contractors, and self-employed persons

To learn more about loan details and forgiveness, view FAQs, how to calculate your loan amount, and download forms and guidance, visit the PPP website.

SBA and Treasury Release Paycheck Protection Program Loan Forgiveness Application (5/15/2020)

Grants & Financial Assistance: LISC Small Business Loans

LISC Small Business Loans – Emergency Financing for Small Businesses
(program brought to you with funding from State Farm®)

LISC provides loans from $75,000 to $500,000 to small businesses through the LISC Rapid Relief and Resiliency Fund. The program allows LISC to make loans similar to banks, but with more flexible credit standards to reach businesses that might not qualify for conventional bank financing.

What are the rates and terms?

  • Size: $75,000 – $250,000 (real estate up to $500,000)
  • Uses: working capital, equipment, inventory, tenant improvements, real estate purchases, debt refinancing, etc.
  • Interest rate: 2% for initial 12 months (up to 6.75%)
  • Equity: 10% equity at closing (non-working capital)
  • Terms:
    • Up to 48 months
    • Up to 20 years amortization for real estate loans
    • Loans have no pre-payment penalties


  • Real estate and equipment, if subject of the loan
  • First lien UCC on all business assets
  • Personal guarantee from all owners


  • Existing businesses with 3 years minimum experience
  • 3 years tax returns required (business and personal)
  • Minimum sales of $150,000 annually

To apply, please complete this questionnaire, a critical step in determining eligibility for the program:

Questions? Contact

Learn more:

Unemployment Benefits – Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19.

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 7:30 AM – 6 PM.
  • Those with last names beginning with letters N-Z will be asked to call on Mondays and Wednesdays between 7:30 AM – 6 PM.
  • Fridays (7:30 AM – 6 PM) 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.

The new federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program provides benefits for many individuals who have been determined ineligible for state unemployment benefits, including self-employed workers and independent contractors.

Learn more + contact IDES:

COVID-19 Resources for Businesses and Employers – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

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

Small Business Administration Guide for Impacted Businesses

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:

Events + Bars & Restaurants

Visit Champaign County has created a website tracking community event cancellations, postponements and modifications, as well as what restaurants and bars are doing. As you have updates on your business hours, delivery options, closings, etc., please send them to Terri Reifsteck at so she can add them to Visit Champaign County’s website and promote through their channels. View the Champaign County Chamber’s list here.

Sales Tax Deferral for Bars and Restaurants – Governor Pritzker has directed the Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) to defer sales tax payments for small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants. Under the directive, eating and drinking establishments that incurred less than $75,000 in sales tax liabilities last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. The Department of Revenue estimates this will give relief to nearly 80% of bars and restaurants in Illinois. Penalties and interest will be automatically waived; however, qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return even if they are unable to make a payment. Any taxpayers taking advantage of this relief will be required to pay their sales tax liabilities due in March, April and May in four installments starting on May 20 and extending through August 20. For more information, click here.

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

Manufacturing Companies & Exporters

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

EXIM is committed to fully supporting the U.S. exporting community during this crisis. This page will be updated with any information about EXIM’s response activities.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is working closely with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and other federal, state, and local agencies to support the whole-of-government effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 and keep everyone safe. Learn more here.

Good to Know: Utilities, Taxes, HR, Marketing

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 deadlines to FILE and PAY federal income taxes are extended to July 15, 2020. Governor Pritzker announced that the state of Illinois is extending the income tax filing and payment deadline by three months, from April 15 to July 15. The Department of Revenue (IDOR) will continue to process tax refunds for those filing ahead of the new deadline.

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.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act was signed into law to aid families and businesses across the U.S. View FAQs from the U.S. Department of Labor.

View FAQs for the CARES Act – Employee Retention Credit here.

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.

There’s no doubt that effective communication matters now more than ever. Clanin Marketing has provided free copies of their Email Marketing for Businesses workshop & Digital Marketing Essentials workshop slides.

Webinar + Video Conferencing + Remote Work Software

Commonly used & suggested by local employers:
New to working at home? Here are some tips on how to be successful via Zoom. Other articles:

Community Information & Resources

For the most up-to-date information about COVID-19 in Champaign County and preparedness resources, please visit the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District website. The CUPHD hotline is 217-239-7877. You can also email questions to CUPHD at Find the Champaign-Urbana Public Health District on Facebook here, where they post helpful tips, videos, and information on a regular basis + daily briefings.

  • Find information from the Illinois Department of Public Health here, including FAQs & daily press releases + videos.
  • Find information from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign here.
  • Find information from the University of Illinois Research Park here.
  • Find information from Parkland College here.
  • Find information from Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District here.
  • The New American Welcome Center at University YMCA has created a COVID-19 Resource Guide for Immigrants in Champaign-Urbana.
  • The Community Foundation of East Central Illinois and the United Way of Champaign County Boards of Directors have authorized the establishment of the Champaign County COVID-19 Relief Fund. The Boards have each seeded the fund with up to $50,000, creating up to $100,000 to respond to the needs in our area. The fund will distribute resources to the partners supported by the Community Foundation and to United Way’s existing network of partners. The Fund will grant resources to established community-based organizations that are directly supporting local residents and families who are most affected by emerging health, economic, and social impacts. While the Fund is not able to provide grants to individuals, community-based organizations that have experience and history of providing people and families with services and support will be eligible. You can donate to the fund here.

Champaign County Safe

A coalition of local organizations and municipalities have launched a new online resource to help Champaign County businesses as they progress through the next stages of the state’s Restore Illinois plan. The new website – – was developed to maintain the safety and well-being of our communities and to share information and resources with businesses in Champaign County. The site will serve as a hub for Champaign County businesses to access resources, including re-opening guidelines, sample signage, PPE suppliers, local cleaning companies, local printers and more.

The re-opening guidelines, following the state of Illinois’ Restore Illinois plan, highlight communication strategies for various types of businesses and provide details on how to prepare workspaces, cleaning and disinfecting procedures, PPE tutorials, and general information on COVID-19. This information will assist industries ranging from agriculture to childcare to manufacturing and hospitality – all with specific guidelines on employee and customer protection, sanitation standards, social distancing, and much more.

As guidelines continue to evolve, the site and all the resources will be updated, so businesses should check back frequently for the latest information. The documents will be updated on a regular basis as more information is shared by the state of Illinois, Centers for Disease Control, Illinois Department of Public Health, and Champaign-Urbana Public Health District.

Wear It. Don’t Share It.

You have the power to keep our community safe and healthy! Wear a mask or face covering when you are out in public.

Download campaign assets here.

For more information on masks, please visit the Champaign County website ( for resources, FAQs, and how to properly wear and make a face covering.

Champaign County Rallies Around Restaurants, Retailers, Small Businesses

Check out the Champaign County Rallies Around Restaurants, Retailers, Small Businesses Facebook group. Goals of the group: support local restaurants, retailers and small businesses in Champaign County; provide a central location for local restaurants, retailers and small businesses to share information about how they are still serving customers and ways we can engage with them; and to provide a central location for individuals to share ideas on how to support the industries.

Past live videos:


Job Seekers

Looking for a job? Check out the You’re Welcome CU Job Board.

Parkland College stands ready to support our community members and students during this time of uncertainty. Whether you’re a student choosing a college major or you’ve recently become unemployed, their new Remote Career Support initiative offers you a wealth of Career Services resources and services designed to get you back on track, including free career assessments, job postings, career tips, and more. Use Remote Career Support for:

  • Exploring interests, skills, and values to select your college majors and career goals
  • Resume writing, interviewing skills, and other job search strategies

Email for direct support help. Learn more here.

Upcoming Webinars

Past Webinar Recordings

Zoom Backgrounds

Need a cool background image for your Zoom meeting?

  • View/download backgrounds from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign here.
  • View/download backgrounds from Fighting Illini Athletics here.
  • View/download backgrounds from Visit Champaign County here.


Sign up for our newsletter here.

Contact Us

We understand that each individual and business is different – and we’re here 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:

  • Carly McCrory-McKay, Executive Director – Champaign County EDC: / 217-649-2586
  • Jordan Landeck, Marketing & Events Director – Champaign County EDC: / 217-359-6261
  • Don Elmore, Director – Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC: / 217-378-8535
  • Mariel Huasanga, International Trade Center Director – Illinois Small Business Development Center at Champaign County EDC: / 217-378-8535

As a reminder, all services are confidential & free of charge. To schedule an appointment (phone or Zoom) with the SBDC, register online (click the red ‘Become a Client’ button) or email