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

Last Updated: April 2, 2020 

Business Information & Resources

State of Illinois

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

Text of Illinois “Stay-at-Home” Order – Governor Pritzker 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 order, including definitions of essential activities and businesses, can be found here (March 20) and here (April 1).

DCEO – Essential Businesses & Operations Checklist + FAQ
DCEO – Essential Business Flowchart
DCEO – Emergency Resources for Businesses
DCEO – Emergency Resources for Workers
DCEO – Emergency Resources for Residents

Have questions? Email

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan Program & Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance 

Loan Program

The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering designated states and territories – Illinois included – low-interest federal disaster loans for working capital to small businesses suffering substantial economic injury as a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19). SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loans offer up to $2 million in assistance and can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing. These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses; 2.75% for non-profits.

Important information to know in advance about the SBA’s EIDL program:

  • Businesses located in Illinois, who have suffered substantial economic injury due to the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak may now apply for these funds.
  • To process this loan, you must have a credit history acceptable to SBA *and* be able to determine that you have the ability to repay the loan.
  • SBA offers loans with long-term repayments in order to keep payments affordable, up to a maximum of 30 years. Terms are determined on a case-by-case basis, based upon each borrower’s ability to repay.
  • Businesses do not go through a lender to apply. All applications must be submitted through the SBA website at
  • There is no cost to apply. There is no obligation to take the loan if offered.
  • Here are the documents you’ll need to provide to complete the application:


  • My business just started recently. Am I eligible?
    • There is no minimum time that a business must have been open, but you must demonstrate that the disaster caused economic injury.
  • Where do I ask for how much money I want?
    • There is a blank narrative section on the loan application where you can indicate how much you would like, but SBA will make a determination based on your past sales and future projections. If you’re approved, there will be an opportunity to request more funds later if needed.
  • What if I own more than one business? What if my business has locations in more than one state?
    • Apply in the state where your headquarters or primary location is. Additionally, if you have two similar businesses, apply together. If you have two different businesses – say, a restaurant and a staffing company – apply separately.
  • What collateral/personal guarantee is required?
    • Personal guarantees are required. If collateral is available, it must be offered for loans over $25,000, but a lack of collateral isn’t a reason for a loan to be denied. Real estate is the preferred form of collateral, but machinery, equipment, and inventory will also be accepted.

Loan Advance

Small business owners and non-profits can now receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advance worth up to $10,000. This Advance may be available even if your Economic Injury Disaster Loan application was declined or is still pending. Funds will be made available within three days of a successful application, and this loan advance will not have to be repaid.

This advance will provide economic relief to businesses that are currently experiencing a temporary loss of revenue. Apply for the Loan Advance here. Applying for the Advance will not impact the status or slow your existing application. New applicants will automatically be considered for both EIDL and EIDL Advance.

Note: SBA has a customer service number and email address where you can check the status of your EIDL application.  Call 800-659-2955 or email Expect a wait of an hour or more if you call.

Need assistance with your SBA Economic Industry Disaster Loan application? We’re here to help. It’s free & confidential.

We’re here to answer any questions you have, help you understand and prepare the necessary documents to apply, and assist you in the application process. Contact us to schedule an appointment: Assistance is also available in Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.

Grants & Financial Assistance

With information rapidly changing, we are committed to providing accurate training, information sharing, and guidance on the different financial assistance options available to small businesses and non-profits in Illinois.

DCEO announced a new package of emergency assistance programs for small businesses in need of additional capital, totaling more than $90 million.

  • Hospitality Emergency Grant Program – PROGRAM DEADLINE ENDED APRIL 1
    • Who is eligible? Bars and restaurants with a valid license to serve food or liquor and who generated revenues of less than $1 million in 2019. Hotels with a valid license (hotels, motels other lodging establishments) and who generated revenues of less than $8 million in 2019.
    • For bars and restaurants, based on the needs identified in the grant application, funds can be used to support working capital (rent, payroll, and other accounts payable), job training (such as new practices related to take out, delivery and sanitation) and technology enabling new operations as well as other costs to implement that technology. For hotels, funds can be used as working capital to support the retention of employees.
    • Applications for awards will be accepted until 5:00 PM on April 1st, and winners will be chosen via a lottery, therefore, there is no benefit to submitting an application first as long as a valid, complete application is received by the deadline.
    • Learn more here.
  • Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund
    • DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) are establishing the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low interest loans of up to $50,000.
    • Businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Successful applicants will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at a below market interest rate for the remainder of a five-year loan term.
    • Loan funds must be used for working capital, and at least 50% of loans proceeds must be applied toward payroll or other eligible compensation including salaries, wages, tips, paid leave, and group healthcare benefits.
    • After taking into consideration the preliminary terms outlined here, if you are interested in applying for the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, please complete the expression of interest form.
    • Beginning April 1, their lending partners will begin accepting official applications and will contact eligible businesses that have expressed interest.
  • Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program
    • DCEO is repurposing $20 million in CDBG funds to stand up the Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program. This Fund will offer small businesses of up to 50 employees the opportunity to partner with their local governments to obtain grants of up to $25,000 in working capital. These grants will be offered on a rolling basis.
    • 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:
    • Learn more here.
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.
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 with less paperwork. These loans can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing and can be a term loan or used to bridge the gap while applying for a direct SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan. If a small business has an urgent need for cash while waiting for decision and disbursement on Economic Injury Disaster Loan, they may qualify for an SBA Express Disaster Bridge Loan.
SBA – 7(a) Borrower Relief: SBA will pay the principal and interest of current 7(a) loans for a period of six months, beginning with the first payment due on or after March 27, 2020. The SBA will also pay the principal and interest of new 7(a) loans issued prior to September 27, 2020. Your lenders will be receiving more guidance on this program soon.
CARES Act – Paycheck Protection Program: The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) established a new $349 billion Paycheck Protection Program, which will provide much-needed relief to millions of small businesses so they can sustain their businesses and keep their workers employed. Read the full press release here. View the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act.
  • Program Overview
    • 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.
    • The Paycheck Protection Program will be available through June 30, 2020.
    • All loan terms will be the same for everyone.
  • Who Can Apply
    • This program is for any small business with less than 500 employees (including sole proprietorships, independent contractors and self-employed persons), private non-profit organization or 501(c)(19) veterans organizations affected by coronavirus/COVID-19.
    • Businesses in certain industries may have more than 500 employees if they meet the SBA’s size standards for those industries.
    • Small businesses in the hospitality and food industry with more than one location could also be eligible at the store and location level if the store employs less than 500 workers. This means each store location could be eligible.
  • How to Apply
    • You can apply through any existing SBA 7(a) lender or through any federally insured depository institution, federally insured credit union, and Farm Credit System institution that is participating. Other regulated lenders will be available to make these loans once they are approved and enrolled in the program.
    • You should consult with your local lender as to whether it is participating in the program.
    • Lenders may begin processing loan applications as soon as April 3, 2020.
      • Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply. Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply.
      • SBA encourages you to apply quickly because there is a funding cap.
  • Loan Details and Forgiveness
    • The loan will be fully forgiven if the funds are used for payroll costs, interest on mortgages, rent, and utilities (due to likely high subscription, at least 75% of the forgiven amount must have been used for payroll). Loan payments will also be deferred for six months.
    • No collateral or personal guarantees are required.
    • Neither the government nor lenders will charge small businesses any fees.
    • Forgiveness is based on the employer maintaining or quickly rehiring employees and maintaining salary levels. Forgiveness will be reduced if full-time headcount declines, or if salaries and wages decrease.
    • If you wish to begin preparing your application, you can download a sample form to see the information that will be requested from you.
      • You will need to provide your lender with payroll documentation.
  • Helpful Documents

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.

Accion – For all existing Accion Illinois & Indiana clients, Accion is offering a 90% reduction in your monthly loan payment for the next three months. They will extend the term of your loan for three months after the original maturity date to help you to catch up after the crisis has passed. Click here to request this option and to learn more.

Accion – For existing Accion clients and for any entrepreneur who needs access to capital right now, they are launching an expedited Accion line of credit application for up to $25,000. Any entrepreneur who has a clean credit report in 2019 is eligible for this expedited process. Rather than conduct a full underwrite of your business, they will set the maximum loan amount based on your monthly revenues in January and February. If you didn’t make on-time payments in 2019 or you need more capital than your recent revenues suggest, they are still here to help: an Accion Community Lender will work with you to evaluate your application in more detail. Click here to apply.
Arts for Illinois is a collaboration between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois, private philanthropy and YOU to support the arts community during the COVID-19 crisis. Enjoy art and culture, donate to the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund to support creative professionals, or apply for immediate assistance if you’ve been affected.
Have questions about any of these programs? Need help with your application? We’re here to help – and it’s free & confidential. Contact us to schedule an appointment via phone or Zoom by emailing

Unemployment Benefits – Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES)

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.

Governor Pritzker and the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) announced they are taking additional steps to address the unprecedented volume of unemployment benefit claims the department has fielded as a result of COVID-19. IDES is now asking individuals to adhere to an alphabetized schedule when filing an unemployment benefit claim online and over the phone.

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.

Learn more + contact IDES:

The Illinois Manufacturers’ Association hosted a conference call with IDES on March 24 about the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on workers. The call discussed benefits for workers who may face a temporary layoff, plant closure, separation from the company, or be quarantined and unable to work due to a diagnosis or being in close proximity to a person testing positive for the virus. Who is eligible for unemployment insurance? How can individuals apply for benefits and how long will they last? Tips for employers and more. Listen to the audio here.

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.

The Illinois Restaurant Association continues to engage with local, state, and federal officials to help employers and employees address concerns about coronavirus (COVID-19). IRA member Laner Muchin has provided best practices for employers to navigate coronavirus.

More clarification for bars & restaurants:

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.”

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.

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.

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:

There’s no doubt that effective communication matters now more than ever. Clanin Marketing has provided a free copy of their Email Marketing for Businesses workshop with tips on platforms to use and best practices to effectively get your message to your customers. Download it here.

Has your business been impacted by COVID-19? Business Impact Survey Responses Needed.

The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is working to secure access to helpful resources for small businesses throughout the State of Illinois. 

They are asking that impacted businesses please take a moment to complete this form:

Please estimate your impact to the best of your ability – DCEO understands the economic injury is ongoing & you likely have a lot of unknowns at this time.

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.

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 Parkland College here.

Find information from Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District here. In light of the rapidly developing public health situation with COVID-19, the Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District (MTD) will be temporarily offering free rides to all passengers for MTD’s fixed-route bus service, ADA Paratransit, and C-CARTS.

The New American Welcome Center at University YMCA has created a COVID-19 Resource Guide for Immigrants in Champaign-Urbana.

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.

Find a list of area restaurants offering free kids meals during school closures here via Chambanamoms. They have an entire section of their website dedicated to the latest COVID-19 news.

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.

Information from municipalities:

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 Webinars + Recordings


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