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Coronavirus

Pritzker: Illinois delays tax deadline until July 15, announces assistance to small businesses

330 new COVID-19 cases reported

Fog lifts over Chicago and the usually busy Columbus Drive, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, on the second work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter in place order last week due to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Fog lifts over Chicago and the usually busy Columbus Drive, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, on the second work day since Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker gave a shelter in place order last week due to the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

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Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced the state is delaying the tax filing deadline from April 15 to July 15, aligning with changes the federal government has already made. The governor also announced $90 million in state emergency assistance offerings for small businesses.

Pritzker said no vital services will be delayed due to the tax deadline changes.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced an additional 330 positive cases of COVID-19 throughout the state, and three more deaths. Illinois now has seen 1,865 confirmed cases, 19 deaths and has tested 14,209 people.

Douglas, Marshall and Morgan counties all reported their first cases. The new deaths include a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s and a Will County woman in her 50s.

Lake County has 139 confirmed positive cases. DuPage has 131, Will has 40, Kane has 38, McHenry has 25, Kendall has 6, DeKalb and La Salle each have 3, and Grundy and Whiteside each have 1.

Two correctional officers and one man incarcerated at Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive as well, according to the IDPH.

At his daily COVID-19 news conference Wednesday, Pritzker announced three programs totaling $90 million in relief for small businesses:

• Hospitality Emergency Grant Program: Provides $14 million in grants to bars, restaurants and hotels. Bars and restaurants that generated up to $500,000 in revenue in 2019 are eligible for up to $10,000, while those that generated between $500,000 and $1 million in 2019 are eligible for up to $25,000. Hotels that generated less than $8 million are eligible for up to $50,000.

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund: Businesses outside the City of Chicago with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in 2019 revenue are eligible for loans of up to $50,000. Loan payments would not be due for the first six months.

Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program: Provides $20 million in grants for downstate businesses. Businesses with up to 50 employees can obtain as much as $25,000; local governments must apply on behalf of businesses. HUD Entitlement communities are not eligible, including Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Madison, McHenry, St. Clair and Will counties.

Complete details on all three programs are available on the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity’s website.

Additionally, Illinois State Treasurer Mike Frerichs said the state has made $250 million in low-interest bridge loans available to businesses through local banks and credit unions. Those loans will help small businesses and nonprofits pay rent, purchase supplies and make payroll.

“We understand business has slowed,” Frerichs said. “We do not was businesses to close forever. We want them to be able to make payroll and pay their own bills. It is easier to ramp up a business that is struggling, than a business that has shuttered.”

The hotel industry has been among the hardest-hit economically during the COVID-19 crisis.

Michael Jacobson, president of the Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association, said Illinois hotels that were projecting 70% occupancy this time of year have seen occupancy drop, in some cases, below 10%. Jacobson said the impact on hotels is worse than 9/11 and the 2008 recession combined.

“Unfortunately, with that level of decline, there’s a human impact when it comes to the tens of thousands of layoffs that we’ve seen in our industry in just the past several days,” Jacobson said. “We expect that number to hit more than 120,000 total layoffs in the coming weeks.”

The Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is intended to deliver some assistance to an industry that Jacobson called “one of the most significant economic engines, employers and tax generators for the state of Illinois.”

Jacobson said Illinois has identified approximately 20,000 hotel rooms it can use for housing health care workers, first responders or for serving as hospital overflow.

“I am truly honored to represent an industry that is all about people helping people,” Jacobson said.

On Capitol Hill, Congress was reportedly close to an agreement on a $2 trillion stimulus deal that would include $1,200 in the pocket of every taxpayer, unemployment benefits, small business loans, assistance for hospitals and more.

Pritzker said that as soon as that bill is signed into law, the state “will move as quickly as possible" to move eligible money to Illinois.

“In the meantime, we at the state level are continuing to do everything that we can to deliver our own emergency aid promptly and fairly,” Pritzker said.

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