Q: What programs are available to help me keep my business open during this lock down?
A: The SBA Paycheck Protection Program is a program through the U.S. Small Business Administration passed as part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (or CARES Act) to help businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19. If you have fewer than 500 employees, you could receive a loan up to 2.5 times your average covered monthly payroll, not to exceed $10 million. The loan may be forgiven for eligible payroll, mortgage interest, rent and utilities during the covered eight-week period after you receive the loan. In addition, you may be able to receive an Economic Injury Disaster Loan. The best way to learn about these programs is to contact your banker, or, if you don't already have one, contact the commercial lending department of any local bank. You can also find information at www.sba.gov.
The initial allocation to the PPP program ran out quickly, however, it appears the government will add more funds to the program in the near future.
Q: I have been laid off because of the Corona virus. What benefits are available?
A: According to the Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES), the CARES Act offers three unemployment benefits expansions:
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) will provide an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits for people receiving unemployment benefits beginning the week of March 29, 2020 and until the week ending on July 25, 2020. The extra FPUC $600 will be applied automatically to any qualified applicants, so you do not need to take any additional steps when applying for unemployment benefits. The $600 weekly FPUC benefits are also available to recipients of PEUC and PUA, discussed below.
Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC) will give an extra 13 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits for people who have exhausted their regular unemployment benefits.
Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) is designed to give a total of 39 weeks of federally-funded unemployment benefits to people who aren’t ordinarily eligible to receive unemployment under normal circumstances – including independent contractors and the self employed – but who have nonetheless become unemployed as a direct result of COVID-19.
If either you or someone you know would benefit from the CARES Act's unemployment extensions, applications for benefits should be made through the IDES website (www2.illinois.gov/ides) or by calling IDES at 800-244-5631.
Q: Can my ex deny my visitation with my child because of the Corona virus?
A: Generally, your child's other parent cannot deny you your parenting time because of the current Corona virus rules. Governor Pritzker's Executive Order of March 20, 2020, specifically deemed "travel required by law enforcement or court order, including to transport children pursuant to a custody agreement” as essential travel.
Although most court matters are currently suspended, if you are denied parenting time, you may be able to schedule a hearing, depending on the circumstances. Pursuant to an Administrative Order issued on March 16, 2020, emergency hearings in family cases are still being scheduled by the Court. If the parties and their attorneys are unable to come to an agreement, an Emergency Motion must be prepared, accompanied by an affidavit of the client, filed with the Circuit Clerk, and provided to the Court. The Judge will initially make the decision as to the matter being an emergency. If no emergency exists, no hearing will occur. If an emergency does exist, a telephone hearing will be set by the Court.
As to whether or not the Court will determine if a Corona Virus issue is an emergency it is being handled on a case by case basis, with the most likely outcome being that you will be able to exercise your parenting time unless there is information that puts your child at a greater risk of contracting the Corona Virus while with you, such as if someone is already quarantined at your residence.
Q: What consequences are there for violating the social distancing rule?
A: Current social distancing rules prohibit gatherings of more than 10 people and call for at least six feet of social distancing between people when out in public. The worst consequence of violating these rules would be contracting the Corona virus and then infecting other people. Legally, Mayor Langfelder has signed an executive order allowing police officers to issue tickets of up to $500. In addition, you could be arrested under Governor Pritzker's order.
This article is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice.