The Federal CARES Act: What It Means for Illinois

Dear Neighbor,

Over the last week, Democrats and Republicans in Congress came together to pass the CARES Act, a $2 trillion stimulus package to help our country through this devastating coronavirus pandemic. President Trump signed that bill yesterday, and, although it’s not perfect, it will bring desperately needed relief to people across the country who have been impacted by COVID-19. The CARES Act includes program improvements and significant investments in healthcare and social services including:

$100 billion in direct funding to frontline hospitals to help assist with their response to the coronavirus pandemic. Illinois is projected to be eligible for billions of dollars in funding for health care providers.

$4.3 billion for CDC prevention and response activities, $16 million of which is projected to go to the Illinois Department of Public Health and $9 million of which is projected to go to the Chicago Department of Public Health.

$1.3 billion for community health centers across the county.

$16 billion to replenish the Strategic National Stockpile with personal protective equipment that health care professionals need to safely treat patients.

$150 billion in funding to state and local governments to assist with the COVID-19 response, including an estimated $5 billion for the state of Illinois.

$45 billion for the Disaster Relief Fund, which assists states with critical services.

A federally funded Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program to expand unemployment insurance to individuals who are not currently covered.

These are just a few highlights of the legislation, which will be critical in protecting Illinoisans from the health and economic impacts of this pandemic.

There are also programs available on the state and local levels to assist small businesses with the economic impacts of the COVID-19 outbreak.

This week, Governor Pritzker announced the creation of the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.
Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here. A Spanish-language application is available here.

Additionally, small business owners in Chicago will be able to take advantage of the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund, a $100 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses in Chicago.

Businesses with fewer than 50 employees, have gross revenues of less than $3 million in 2019 and have suffered more than a 25% revenue decrease due to COVID-19 will be eligible to apply.

Applications for the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund will begin to be accepted on March 31, 2020. Businesses interested in applying for a loan should complete this interest form and they will hear from a representative as soon as possible.

This is a difficult time for everyone, but please be assured that I’m doing everything in my power as your state senator to fight this pandemic. I encourage you to continue monitoring Illinois’ coronavirus response page as well as my Facebook and Twitter pages for the most up to date information on the coronavirus and our state’s response. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact my office by phone at 773-296-4141 or by email at

Very truly yours,

Sara Feigenholtz
State Senator | 6th District

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