Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update

As the United States continues to address the coronavirus pandemic, I’m focused on ensuring the federal government is doing everything it can to support the health and safety of Illinoisans.  Addressing the spread of the virus will take a whole-of-government approach and coordination with the State of Illinois as preventive measures are implemented.  We also must support working families during this difficult time and provide health care professionals and scientists with every resource they need for treatments and research into COVID-19.

- U.S. Senator Dick Durbin

 

SUMMARY OF FEDERAL FUNDING BILLS

The first bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided $7.8 billion to respond to the COVID-19 crisis, including funding for patient monitoring, lab testing, acquisition of test kits and protective equipment, and research into vaccines and therapeutics. A fact sheet on the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act is available here.

The second bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided $100 billion to help protect families’ economic security, food security, and health security. A fact sheet on the Families First Coronavirus Response Act is available here.

The third bipartisan coronavirus emergency response supplemental funding bill provided nearly $2.2 trillion to help working families, small businesses, and communities during the coronavirus outbreak. A fact sheet on the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act is available here.

 

CORONAVIRUS AID RELIEF & ECONOMIC SECURITY ACT

On March 25, 2020, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed the third coronavirus stimulus package – the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  Senate Democrats made significant improvements to the bill Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) originally introduced.  Some of the improvements include:

  • Increases unemployment benefits for four months and expands unemployment insurance to self-employed and gig economy workers.
  • $55 billion increase in the Marshall Plan for our hospitals and health care system.
  • $45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund to provide financial assistance to state, local, tribal, and territorial governments, as well as private nonprofits providing critical and essential services.
  • $150 billion for a state, tribal, and local COVID-19 relief fund.
  • $10 billion for Small Business Administration (SBA) emergency grants of up to $10,000 to provide immediate relief for small business operating costs.
  • $17 billion for SBA to cover six months of payments for small businesses with existing SBA loans.
  • $30 billion in emergency education funding and $25 billion in emergency transit funding.
  • Make rent, mortgage, and utility costs eligible for SBA loan forgiveness.
  • Ban stock buybacks for the term of the government assistance plus one year on any company receiving a government loan from the bill.
  • Establish robust worker protections attached to all federal loans for businesses.
  • Create real-time public reporting of Treasury transactions under the Act, including terms of loans, investments, or other assistance to corporations.
  • Provide income tax exclusion for individuals who are receiving student loan repayment assistance from their employer.

 

A summary of the stimulus package is available here.

A section-by-section of the stimulus package is available here.

A question and answer document on the stimulus package is available here.

 

Small Business

The stimulus includes:

  • Nearly $350 billion to create a Paycheck Protection Program that will provide loans of up to $10 million.  Up to 8 weeks of average payroll and other costs will be forgiven if the business retains its employees.  Principal and interest will be deferred for up to a year and all borrower fees are waived.  More information on whether or not your business qualifies for the Paycheck Protection Program and how to apply is available here.

  • $10 billion to provide grants of up to $10,000 to small businesses that apply for a SBA economic injury disaster loan (EIDL) within three days of applying for the loan. The grant does not need to be repaid, even if the grantee is subsequently denied an EIDL.  More information on whether or not your business qualifies for a SBA EIDL and how to apply is available here.

  • $17 billion to provide immediate relief to small businesses with existing SBA loans.  SBA will cover all loan payments for existing SBA borrowers, including principal, interest, and fees, for six months.

 

Additional information on how to apply for the grants and loans will be available at SBA.gov as soon as it is available.

A Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act is available here.

A summary of the small business provisions included in the CARES Act is available here

A section-by-section summary of the small business provisions in the CARES Act is available here.

Additional information on the Employee Retention Tax Credit is available here.

State and Local Grant Funding (Coronavirus Relief Fund)

The stimulus includes $150 billion in direct federal grant funding to states, local governments, and tribes to help fund expenditures incurred in responding to the coronavirus outbreak as well as to offset the cost of other essential government services not budgeted for in the wake of the economic downturn.  The funds apply to expenditures incurred between March 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020.

 

The U.S. Treasury must allocate these funds to states within 30 days with funding distributed among the states based on population and 45 percent of each state’s funds set aside for units of local government that serve populations of at least 500,000. 

  • That means that the City of Chicago, Cook County, DuPage County, Kane County, Lake County, and Will County will be able to apply for this federal funding directly from the Treasury. 
  • All other municipalities will be able to access this funding through the state.

 

Additional information on how to apply for the grants will be available at home.treasury.gov as soon as it is available.

 

FEDERAL RESOURCES

CDC Resources - https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html

 

ILLINOIS RESOURCES

Coronavirus.illinois.gov 

Illinois COVID-19 Hotline: 1-800-889-3931

*Beginning at the close of business Monday, March 16, 2020, through Monday, March 30, 2020, all bars and restaurants in the state of Illinois will be closed to minimize the spread of COVID-19.

 

CHICAGO PUBLIC SCHOOLS

Starting Tuesday, March 17, 2020, all Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will be closed. During that time, all CPS schools will be open at 9:00 am and 1:00 pm to offer free meals for CPS students.

Families can pick up meals outside of the CPS school nearest to them – they DO NOT need to pick up meals at their school of attendance. Families can find their nearest CPS school here. Select charter school locations will also offer meals; a link to those locations can be found here.

 

TRAVEL

As of March 19, 2020, the Department of State has advised all U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.  

Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips.  If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe.

If you have a COVID-19 virus related emergency overseas, please contact the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, or call our assistance call center:

 

SmartTraveler Enrollment Program (STEP)

Any U.S. citizens who do travel overseas should enroll in the Department of State’s SmartTraveler Enrollment Program (STEP).  Enrollment in STEP enables the American Citizen Services unit in the U.S. Embassy in each country to reach out directly to a U.S. citizen in need of assistance.  STEP also allows U.S. citizens to receive Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc.

Additional information for travelers:

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