COVID-19 Resources

Resources for Businesses Impacted by COVID-19

Below are links to programs and resources being made available to small businesses affected by the response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

We will continue to send updates as new information becomes available.

Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) – CARES Act

Status: The SBA is currently accepting applications for the Paycheck Protection Program based on available appropriations funding.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act allocated $350 billion to help small businesses keep workers employed amid the pandemic and economic downturn. Known as the Paycheck Protection Program, the initiative provides 100% federally guaranteed loans to small businesses.

A portion of these loans will be forgiven if borrowers maintain and/or restore their payrolls during the crisis.  No personal guarantees or collateral are required.

Banks have begun accepting applications:

  • Contact your bank to ask if it is processing PPP loans. If it is, express your interest in applying.  If not, check the SBA lender locator to find a participating bank.
  • PPP loan amounts will be based on 2.5x a business’s average monthly payroll expenses.  By calculating that amount, and organizing the supporting documentation, you can expedite the application process.

Here is a guide to calculate your loan amount and a sample application form to start filling out.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce – Paycheck Protection Program Guide and Checklist

PPP Application

Small businesses can now apply though non-bank lenders, such as Accion Chicago.

Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) – SBA

Status: Only accepting new applications for agricultural businesses.

Businesses and most private nonprofit organizations that have suffered a substantial economic injury due to the COVID-19 may now apply for up to $2 million to meet financial obligations and operating expenses that could have been met had the disaster not occurred.  Funds can be used for working capital and loan amounts will be based on actual economic injury and the company’s expenses.

This program provides an emergency advance of up to $10,000 to small businesses and private non-profits harmed by COVID-19.  Note: If an applicant also applies for a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), the EIDL advance amount will be subtracted from the total forgivable under the PPP.

The advance does not have to be repaid under any circumstances – even if the loan is denied – and may be used to keep employees on payroll, to pay for sick leave, meet increased production costs due to supply chain disruptions, or pay business obligations, including debts, rent and mortgage payments.

Access the advance by applying for an EIDL Loan:

Apply for an EIDL Loan Advance
EIDL Loan Application Checklist (READ FIRST)
EIDL Step-by-step Guide

Employee Retention Credit (ERC) – IRS

Status: Active

The Employee Retention Credit (ERC) under the CARES Act encourages businesses to keep employees on their payroll. The refundable tax credit is 50% of up to $10,000 in wages paid by an eligible employer whose business has been financially impacted by COVID-19.

Note: Businesses that have received a PPP loan are not eligible for the ERC program.


US Chamber of Commerce Guide

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund – State of Illinois DCEO

Status: Not accepting new applications.

DCEO and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation (IDFPR) have established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer small businesses low-interest loans of up to $50,000.

  • Small businesses located outside of the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 workers and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 are eligible.
  • Businesses can receive a low-interest loan of up to $50,000 with a 5 year repayment period with no payments due for the first six months.
  • Loan funds must be used for working capital, and at least 50% of loan proceeds must be applied toward payroll or other eligible compensation, with a commitment to hire or retain at least 50% of a business workforce for six months.

Eligibility criteria and application information can be found here.  Once submitted, the State will strive to make a loan decision within 10 days, and make funds available within two days of receiving bank information from a business.

 Cook County Community Recovery Fund

Status: Not yet accepting applications.

Rapid relief loans for small businesses, gig workers and independent contractors.

Cook County’s Bureau of Economic Development has launched The Community Recovery Fund as part of the Community Recovery Initiative. This loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County. Loans will be administered by the Chicago Community Loan Fund and provided by a network of community lenders. Applications open in mid-April on a first-come, first-serve basis.

To apply, businesses and independent contractors in suburban Cook County must meet these requirements:

  • Small Businesses
  • Fewer than 25 employees
  • Less than $3 million in revenue
  • Gig Workers
  • At least half of income from 1099 contract work
  • Less than $100,000 in gross annual income

To learn more about the initiative and sign up for updates for when the application period opens, please complete this form. Updates will be sent on a regular basis.

Expedited Lending Program for Small Businesses (Accion Chicago)

Status: Accepting Applications

Accion has announced an expedited lending program up to $25,000 for any businesses with a clean credit report in 2019.  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.  Click here to apply.


Access a recent webinar on Crisis Management and Cash Flow Management. (Accion Chicago)

Village of Oak Park

Village of Oak Park Cornonavirus Resource Page – For the latest information from the Village of Oak Park and to sign up for EMERGENCY ALERTS.

Chamber of Commerce

Business Resources related to COVID-19, both national and local, are available on the Chamber’s website.  This site is being updated on a daily basis.

Small Business Administration (SBA)

Guidance for Businesses and Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)

Tips for Approaching a Lender

OPEDC published a blog post with tips on approaching a lender about loan modification and preparing to open a new commercial loan.  You can find it here.

To sign up for the OPEDC newsletter, click here.

To contact OPEDC staff, email or