Rep. Murphy Seeking Greater Small Business and Employee Support with COVID-19 Response

State Representative Mike Murphy (R-Springfield) is calling for the Pritzker Administration to take additional action to support small businesses and their employees during the social distancing protocols put in place as part of the ongoing response to COVID-19. In a letter sent to the Governor, Murphy laid out several proposals to help small businesses and their employees weather the damaging economic impact of the current situation.

“While protecting the health and welfare of our citizens must be our top priority, the cancellation of major events, social gatherings and the closure of dine-in bars and restaurants will have a profound impact on small businesses and the men and women who work for them,” said Murphy. “As a former small business owner, I understand all too well how this will impact workers and their families, especially those who live paycheck to paycheck, and we need to take action to minimize this devastating economic impact.”

Murphy’s recommendations to the Governor include:

  1. Sign the request to allow Illinois’ small businesses to apply for the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program offered through the federal government;
  2. Institute a tax holiday for monthly sales tax deposits required by businesses that are forced to close or reduce services due to COVID-19;
  3. Waive the standard two week waiting period to allow affected employees to receive unemployment benefits immediately;
  4. Allow for partial unemployment benefits for employees who experience significant reductions in hours;
  5. Institute a tax credit for employers who continue to pay employees despite service reductions or closures;
  6. Institute a small business tax credit for food donated to charity during the closure period;
  7. Institute an abatement program for mortgage and lease payments;
  8. Allow customers to enter bars and restaurants to pick up take-out orders instead of curbside only pick up.

Some of the measures suggested by Murphy were included in Gov. Pritzker’s Executive Order 2020-07 yesterday, such as waiving the waiting period for unemployment benefits. The order also made it clear that customers will be able to obtain food from restaurants via drive-thru, curbside, delivery or take-out/carry-out by entering an establishment.

The process to allow small businesses to seek relief through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program is also now underway. The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is evaluating Illinois’ request for an economic injury disaster declaration. Small businesses and not-for-profits are encouraged to submit information to the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity to help expedite the request. The forms are available to the public on Rep. Murphy’s website, click here.

“I am committed to working with the Governor and my colleagues in the General Assembly to advance these additional measures to support our small businesses and families during this challenging time,” said Murphy. “I am confident that we can emerge from this stronger if we all work together.”

The complete letter sent by Murphy to the Governor is available to download below. Murphy has also created a “COVID-19” resources page on his website to aide constituents. The page has links to detailed information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH). This information includes symptoms, prevention and treatment information, and provides updates from the CDC and IDPH as new information becomes available. Click here to access the page.