Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Resources for Businesses, Consumers and Employees

During COVID 19, we find our business community facing unprecedented situations. In these times, it’s even more important that we lean in to support each other, shop local, and support our local community organizations. With so many changing conditions around us, we want to be sure that you are informed about our operations and events, and that you have access to the latest resources and tips to continue supporting your business. Most importantly, we’re hoping that you will share feedback on the impact COVID 19 is having on your business.

Please respond to our survey here

Chamber Business Operations: LGBT Chamber of Commerce (LGBTCC) staff are working remotely and will continue to respond to your needs throughout the day. 

Just as we know that many minorities, women, and LGBTQ+ folks can’t afford to miss a day of work, we know that many also can’t afford to shut down business for a day. We also know that you might be looking to fill your time, so we have shared some suggestions below

We look forward to working with you in the coming weeks to keep you informed and engaged. We must continue to remain strong, continue to do business with each other, and continue to be good neighbors. These coming months won’t be easy, but will will get through it together. 

Support LGBTQ+ Owned Businesses: 

  • Visit our Directory and Hot Deals page to identify local LGBTQ+ owned businesses to support. 
  • Encourage LGBTQ+ owned businesses to seek LGBT Business Enterprise Certification. More than ever, once our corporate partners are back to business, they will be looking to spend time with Minority, Women, LGBTQ+, and other diversely owned businesses. As a plus, $400 certification fees are waived for chamber members. Begin the application here. 
  • Complete the 2020 U.S. Census which ensure that resources and dollars support local small businesses and nonprofits. 
  • Follow the LGBTCC on Facebook. We will begin to post daily activities and videos to engage and educate our community. 

Business Resources: 

  • Arts for Illinois Relief Fund providing financial assistance to artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The fund is a partnership between the City of Chicago, the State of Illinois and the broader philanthropic community. Arts for Illinois Relief Fund is administered by Arts Alliance Illinois in partnership with 3Arts and Arts Work Fund.  Grant applications for artists, artisans and cultural organizations open today. Individual artists and artisans – including stage and production members and part-time cultural workers – experiencing an urgent need will be able to apply for one-time grants of $1,500 distributed by 3Arts. Grants will be awarded through a lottery system and will be disseminated quickly. Additionally, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations of any size will be able to apply for relief through the Arts Work Fund. Based on their demonstrated financial need, organizations will be awarded grants from $6,000 – $30,000. Artists, artisans and cultural organizations impacted by COVID-19 are urged to apply for grants through
  • Cook County is conducting a survey to figure out what your needs are to keep your business afloat. More Information here. 
  • MaxSafe
    •  Wintrust’s MaxSafe program allows participants to increase the maximum amount of FDIC insurance coverage from $250,000 to $3.75 million. With 15 separate community bank charters in Illinois and Wisconsin, we are able to combine FDIC insurance coverage to offer 15 times the usual amount of protection.
    •  All banks in the MaxSafe program are deemed “well-capitalized” by the FDIC and other government regulatory agencies. Customers receive an annual statement detailing account activity and one document at the end of the year for tax reporting. A minimum deposit is required in differing amounts depending on the type of MaxSafe account opened and there may be a minimum deposit balance required.
    • From a single MaxSafe account, you can obtain up to $3.75 million in FDIC protection per titled account on a certificate of deposit or money market account. We offer the MaxSafe program through any Wintrust Community Bank, Wintrust Commercial Banking, and a number of our niche lending groups including those serving government municipalities and condo and townhouse associations.
  •  Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund: This Fund will start with more than $100 million in targeted, low- interest loans to severely impacted small businesses. These loans are designed to provide much needed cash- flow relief for neighborhood entrepreneurs. 
    • Funding is first come first serve, and applications will be accepted starting March 31st. Interested business owners are encouraged to fill out an interest form for more information. 
    • There will be a cap of $50,000 per business and the business will need to show at least a 25% revenue decrease due to COVID-19, have no more than 50 employees, and no more than $3 mil in annual gross revenue.
    • You will need to provide a bank statement dating back to October 2019, your most recent tax return and a Photo ID.
    • One-Page Overview of Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund
  • Two days after submitting documentation demonstrating the impact of COVID-19 on more than 3,000 businesses across the state, Gov. Pritzker announced today that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans at:
  • Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot has announced a new $100 million economic relief package to support Chicago’s small businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss of revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. The new fund will provide more than $100 million in low-interest loans to severely impacted small businesses over the coming months, targeting historically under-resourced communities with an emphasis on minimizing hardship for those businesses and their employees. The fund received $1million in support from Fifth Third Bank. See more details and apply here
  • Employers should be reminded of the Paid Sick Leave Ordinance that mandates all Chicago businesses provide paid sick leave. 
  • Stay current with the latest updates from the Business Affairs and Consumer ProtectionCenters for Disease ControlChicago Department of Public HealthU.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Chase: Working with all current business borrowers to provide a 90 day payment deferral on all loans/lines. P&I on loans, Interest on lines. Nothing reported to credit – no adverse impact;  We’re working with our clients that need additional capital on an ad hoc basis; We’ve announced a $50MM program through our Global Philanthropy team to assist communities impacted by C19 – more to come on local impact; We’ve created a turnkey merchant services platform called “Big Commerce” to help business owners create a website themselves in one day. The funding from sales on this platform is instantaneous.; We’re waiving all fees associated with deposit accounts; We’re waiving fees associated with CD breakage;  We’re providing payment deferrals for business credit cards; We’re providing advice for SBs on how to improve cash flow
  • U.S. Bank: Beginning Friday, March 13, 2020 we have temporarily reduced pricing on our Quick Loan and Cash Flow Manager. The following offers are available via online banking, mobile app, call centers and branches
    • Quick Loan (general business purpose): $5,000 to $250,000 with terms from 12 to 84 months at an interest rate 2% lower than the standard rate for which the business would qualify
    • Cash Flow Manager (secured & unsecured): An on-demand line of credit of $10,000 to $250,000 at an interest rate 1% lower than the standard rate for which the business would qualify. 
    • U.S. Bank Visa Business Platinum Card has a 0% introductory APR6  on purchases and balance transfers for 20 billing cycles, and thereafter a variable rate, currently 9.99% to 17.99%. 

Families & Individuals: 

  • Cook County Community Community Recovery Initiative: Cook County has launched a comprehensive initiative to provide economic relief to small businesses, non-profits, community service organizations and independent contractors (1099 workers) in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more about it here.
  • Are you living with HIV, taking PrEP or need HIV testing? The AIDS Foundation of Chicago and Center on Halsted can help with emergency financial assistance (rent, utility payments, COVID-19-related support) for people who are living with HIV and who are HIV-negative and taking PrEP. We can also link people living with HIV to medications, case management, medical care, food, mental health, substance abuse treatment and more. We can connect people vulnerable to HIV to PrEP, HIV testing, medical care and more. Call the HIV Resource Hub at 1-844-HUB-4040 today! Services are available in Chicago, Cook County and the Collar Counties. Learn more about the Hub and services available here.
  • Emergency Rental Assistance is available for people suffering financial hardship due to a crisis such as a loss of job, home fire, or illness. The program is intended to allow families to maintain housing during the time it takes to regain stability. For more information about Emergency Rental Assistance, visit your local Community Service Center or call 3-1-1.
  • Apply for Unemployment Insurance if you’re without access to paid sick leave or unable to work because of COVID-19. Call IDES at 1-800-244-5631 or visit
  • Northern Trust: Additional assistance to support the health and well-being of Chicago residents most impacted by COVID-19,” said Michael O’Grady, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Northern Trust Corporation. “We are proud to join Mayor Lightfoot and the other businesses, foundations and civic leaders to ensure Chicago’s nonprofit organizations can quickly address the growing and complex need for critical services.” 
  • U.S. BankBeginning Friday, March 13, 2020 are temporarily reduced pricing on their loans.
    • Simple Loan to $6 per $100 borrowed, down from $12 (auto pay) / $15 (manual pay) per $100 borrowed. Customers can borrow between $100 and $1,000 with no hidden fees and repay the loan in three equal monthly payments
    • Personal Loan: You may borrow from $1,000 to $4,999 for terms up to 48 months with a reduced APR of 2.99%. This product is available in online banking, our call centers and our branches  


  • Advocate Aurora: As COVID-19 continues to impact a growing number of people in our communities, the health and safety of our patients and team members continues to be our highest priority. We are grateful to our more than 70,000 physicians, nurses and team members for their tireless efforts during this pandemic. To address the growing concerns around COVID-19 and provide our patients with the compassionate, safe and quality care they deserve, Advocate Aurora has provided the following resources we are introducing a Relief Fund for Urgent Care which will be used exclusively to provide additional resources to our patients, families and communities, and to further support the physicians, nurses and team members who are working tirelessly. As always, 100% of your gift will be used for this purpose. Thank you for your kindness and for supporting those who dedicate their lives to serving the sick and vulnerable. They are heroes, and your generosity is truly appreciated.
  • Carnivale Restaurant: The government mandate to temporarily close dine-in service at all restaurants has created a harsh reality for our staff, as well as workers across the hospitality industry, whose livelihoods depend on people gathering together and enjoying a night out. You could help to get them through this incredibly difficult time by donating, if you are able. Even the smallest amount will help to alleviate the stress of unemployment and lack of work opportunities until we can open again. All proceeds from our GoFundMe fundraiser will go directly to the Carnivale staff. We have 130 people who need your support.
  • PrideFilms&Plays: This unexpected turn of events has left us vulnerable. This building – with rent, utilities, and other expenses – costs nearly $10,000 per month just to keep open, even if no shows are running. So, we are beginning a campaign to raise $20,000 by May 1 to replace what we would have made in the box office during that period. We have every intention of our productions that are In rehearsal will open later this spring or summer. Thank for being a friend of Pride Arts, especially in these challenging times. If you can donate at this time to help us make it through it would be greatly appreciated.

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