Munoz050420CHICAGO – To help prepare local residents for the new face covering requirement, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) partnered with Joann Fabrics in donating 5,000 masks to local businesses and organizations on Friday.

“My volunteers and I are more than grateful to be able to provide masks to local residents,” Munoz said. “I thank Joann Fabrics for their partnership and work during these trying times.”

Gov. JB Pritzker’s modified stay-at-home order requiring face coverings for anyone over the age of 2 in public spaces where social distancing is difficult went into effect May 1.

“I strongly encourage people to follow the governor’s order to the best of their ability,” Munoz said. “Staying at home and wearing face coverings in public spaces helps protect our frontline healthcare workers, essential workers and vulnerable residents.”

Munoz distributed masks to nursing homes, assisted living centers, local small businesses and nonprofit organizations across the 1st Senate District. Those entities include: Symphony of Midway, Aperion Care International, Barton Senior Residences, Senior Suites of Bridgeport, National Latino Education Institute, Amor De Dios Methodist Church, WINGS, Pilsen Alliance,
Pilsen Neighborhood Council, Chinese American Service League, Consolidated Benevolent Association Long Life Senior Housing and L'Cafecito Jumping Bean.

Future distributions will be made based on availability of supplies.

Munoz043020CHICAGO – To help family businesses struggling to stay open during the coronavirus pandemic, Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) encourages eligible local business owners to apply for the new Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program.

“A number of our neighborhood businesses are ran by families and have few employees,” Munoz said. “I hope those businesses take advantage of this opportunity to avoid more business closures in our area.”

The Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program will award 1,000 businesses with four or fewer employees a one-time grant of $5,000. The grant money, funded entirely by private donations, must be used as working capital for expenses such as payroll, rent, insurance or taxes. Undocumented business owners with a valid form of identification are also eligible for this program.

Applications are available in English and Spanish on the City of Chicago’s website and are due by 5 p.m. on Monday, May 4.

Eligibility requirements for the program include:
• Four or fewer employees,
• Less than $250,000 annual revenue,
• Located in the city of Chicago,
• In business for at least one year,
• 25% decrease in revenue due to COVID-19, and
• Located in a low- or moderate-income Community Area.

Applicants must provide a valid ID and completed W9 form. CityKey is an accepted form of ID. Recipients will be chosen by a lottery on May 11 and issued their grant within two business days.

Help for struggling nonprofit organizations and businesses

  • Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): The program is replenished. It is a loan to provide incentive for small businesses to keep 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. Apply here: https://bit.ly/PPPLoans.
  • Nicor Gas offering help to nonprofit organizations:
    • Submit a contribution request through their website: https://www.nicorgas.com/company/about-us/philanthropy/charitable-giving.html.
      • A brief background of the organization (two pages or less) and its Board membership list.
      • The organization's mission statement.
      • A legible and most recent copy of the organization's 501(c)(3) tax-exempt letter.
      • A clear statement of the project for which funds are needed.
      • The amount the organization requests for the project.
      • Sources of other support for the project and current financial statement of the organization.
  • Illinois Small Business Emergency Loans (https://bit.ly/bizloanfund) – The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation established the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund to offer low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to struggling small businesses. Chicago is offering a similar program (bit.ly/chibizresiliencyfund) for businesses located in the city.
  • Small business loans (bit.ly/ussmallbizloan) – The U.S. Small Business Administration is extending assistance loans to struggling businesses.
  • Small business disaster assistance loans (bit.ly/bizdisasterassistance) – The U.S. Small Business Administration is offering disaster assistance loans for up to $2 million.
  • Low-interest loans (bit.ly/lowinterestloan) – Backed by the Illinois treasury, banks and credit unions throughout Illinois are offering low-interest loans to businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Sales tax deferment (bit.ly/salestaxdeferment)– Small- and mid-sized restaurants and bars will be able to defer sales tax payments for February, March, and April.
  • Cannabis business license applications (bit.ly/cannabislicenseapps) – IDFPR is accepting applications through certified mail, rather than in person.
  • Automatic license extensions (bit.ly/IDFPRlicenses) – IDFPR is automatically renewing all licenses that would normally expire between March 1 and July 31 until September 30. Continuing education that would normally be required to be completed in person can also be done online. The governor has issued executive orders that provide similar opportunities to cannabis businesses, private security and fingerprint vendors.
  • Online massage therapy and cosmetology school courses (bit.ly/ilmassagecosmetology) – IDFPR is allowing these schools to offer more than 10% of their courses online until July 31.
  • Expedited Critical Access Pharmacy Payments (bit.ly/ilpharmacypayments) – Comptroller Susana Mendoza expedited payments to pharmacies in underserved rural communities.
  • Online notary services (bit.ly/ilnotary) – Notaries are allowed to work online using two-way videos while the governor’s disaster declaration is in effect.

Munoz042220SPRINGFIELD – Assistant Majority Leader Tony Munoz (D-Chicago) joins the Illinois Department of Transportation, Illinois Tollway, Illinois State Police, industry partners and frontline construction workers for National Work Zone Awareness Week to ensure “Safe Work Zones for All.”

“As we approach construction season, drivers who need to travel during the stay-at-home order should be attentive while passing work zones,” Munoz said. “Slowing down when you see orange will help protect our construction workers.”

Throughout Illinois, improving and maintaining infrastructure continues as an essential public service, with special care being taken to protect workers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

This year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Safe Work Zones for All: Protect workers. Protect road users.” The message highlights the need for special attention for workers and anyone traveling through work zones, including drivers, bicyclists, pedestrians and transit users.”

Each year, more than 5,100 crashes on average occur in Illinois work zones, resulting in almost 1,400 injuries. In 2019, 30 people died in work zones in Illinois, including one worker.

Safety measures have also been put in place to stop the spread of Coronavirus and protect workers, including limiting the number of people on a job site, keeping a 6-foot distance between workers, avoiding sharing tools and performing meetings online or via conference call.
Because of decreased traffic volumes and improving weather, increased speeding and severe crashes are becoming growing concerns.

Guidelines for traveling through work zones:

  • Drop it and drive. Phones and electronic devices down at all times – it’s the law.
  • Obey the signs. They will help you safely navigate work zones – and sometimes avoid delays.
  • Give it a brake. The posted speed limits are there for the safety of workers and you.
  • Consider the limitations of heavy equipment, trucks and commercial vehicles. Provide them extra distance to come to a complete stop if they are behind you.
  • Expect the unexpected. Lane shifts and closures, slowed and stopped traffic are common.
  • Look for the dynamic or “zipper” merge at select projects. To improve traffic flow, digital message signs will advise motorists when and when not to merge and enter the work zone.

For additional facts, printable materials and information on highway projects this year in Illinois, click here or visit idot.illinois.gov. Tollway projects are at www.illinoistollway.com/projects.

For more information on work zone safety visit www.lifeordeathillinois.com.

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