CHICAGO –Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno today announced for third-party food delivery companies to increase transparency and fair competition. Effective Friday, May 22nd, all third-party delivery companies will be required to disclose to the customer an itemized cost breakdown of each transaction, including the menu price of the food, any sales or other tax, delivery charge and tip, and any commission or service fee paid by the restaurant to the third-party delivery company. As more restaurants are relying on third-party delivery apps during the Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, these first-in-the-nation rules will provide customers with the details they need to make fully-informed purchasing decisions.
“Amid the COVID-19 crisis, our restaurants are relying on third-party delivery services more than ever so that they can keep their doors open and stay afloat,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By providing customers with more transparency when they use these delivery services, we can further ensure not only fair business practices for our restaurants but also maintain the innovation that is essential to this industry.”
The vast majority of third-party delivery companies charge a commission fee to the restaurant from which food is being delivered. This fee, which is often built into the disclosed menu price of the food, has been reported to be up to 30 percent of the menu price of the food and is in addition to any fee charged explicitly for the delivery. Since this fee is not currently transparent when an individual is purchasing food, customers may believe that the restaurant is receiving the full menu price of the food. As such, revenue to the restaurant can be significantly lower when ordering through a third-party delivery service as opposed to an order placed directly through the restaurant. This information can be valuable to consumers wishing to support local restaurants, particularly during this time of crisis.
“During these unprecedented times, it’s never been more critical to ensure Chicago’s consumers have as much information as possible when making purchasing decisions,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “Transparency is essential to a functioning marketplace and this step will ensure proper supports are in place for consumers and all types of businesses across the industry.”
To increase transparency and reduce customer confusion, the new rules require that third-party delivery companies disclose itemized cost information, including any commission or service fee, prior to the purchase of food as well as following the purchase via receipt. These new rules will be in place permanently and apply to all websites, mobile applications or other internet services that offer or arrange the sale of food or beverages by a restaurant, bar or other food-serving establishments. Violating the rules can result in a daily fine of $500 to $10,000.
“It is more important now than ever to support local businesses, and these new rules gives customers a crystal-clear picture of where their money is going when they use a delivery app,” said Tom Tunney, 44th Ward Alderman. “This much-needed transparency will help customers understand where their money is going while supporting innovation within the restaurant and delivery industry.”
These rules are the latest effort by BACP to increase transparency and clarity for consumers while maintaining the fair competition and innovation that is essential to the third-party delivery industry that many restaurants, customers and workers rely on during the COVID-19 outbreak and throughout the year. To ensure the health of the community under Illinois’ Stay at Home Order, restaurants and bars can remain open for delivery, pick-up and drive-thru. Accordingly, many restaurants are relying on delivery companies to complete orders and maintain operations during the outbreak.
“Food delivery has become essential as restaurants and Chicagoans navigate the COVID-19 crisis," said Sam Toia, President and CEO of the Illinois Restaurant Association. “Diners deserve to know exactly how much of their money is going to a third-party delivery service when they use those platforms to order from their favorite local restaurants. These rules are a step in the right direction to bring much-needed transparency to the food delivery space, and help customers make educated decisions to further support restaurants throughout Chicago's 77 communities.
The City of Chicago understands the impact that the COVID-19 outbreak is having on all Chicagoans, which is why Mayor Lightfoot and BACP have taken unprecedented steps to support small and local businesses as well as its consumers. Last month, Mayor Lightfoot and BACP announced the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund and Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program, which will dedicate an unparalleled $105 million combined for emergency financial relief to businesses throughout the city. Furthermore, the City has activated 13 Small Business Resource Navigators to provide one-on-one individualized support to small businesses as they navigate the COVID-19 outbreak.
"As the Chairman of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection, I know how important it is for businesses and consumers to ensure transparency in all transactions," said Emma Mitts, Alderman of the 37th Ward. "Customers should know where their money is headed and these new rules will go a long way to bring fairness and openness to the marketplace."
Over the past several months, BACP has conducted extensive outreach with the restaurant community to gauge interest and provide educational materials and resources. To continue ensuring these establishments have the latest public health guidance and information they need, the Department has held several webinars to connect local businesses with City resources.
“Today is another step forward on a path toward more transparency for Chicago’s consumers and local businesses,” said Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward Alderman. “Through these rules, we are providing a clear-cut picture to residents of where their money is going, which is more important than ever before during this public health crisis.
These latest measures build on the City’s ongoing efforts to support businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. On April 16, Mayor Lightfoot announced an extension of business tax payments to June 1. This includes restaurant, hotel accommodations, bottled water, checkout bag, ground transportation, parking and amusement taxes. BACP has also created a direct subsidy for wheelchair accessible taxicab drivers by increasing the annual subsidy for vehicle maintenance by $1,000, increasing the driver leasing subsidy from $15 to $25/hour. Finally, the City has extended the deferral of the deadline for debt checks for taxicab and TNP drivers to June 1.
"This is a significant step forward in protecting our local restaurants and our standing as a culinary capital,” said Andre Vasquez, 40th Ward Alderman. “By requiring transparency on exactly how much Third-Party Delivery Services charge each restaurant, consumers can be better informed as to who their dollars really go to.
To further ensure a speedy recovery, the City of Chicago has directed an unprecedented $105 million into two emergency financing programs, the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund and Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. To date, the Loan Fund has approved over 300 low-interest loans for over $10 million to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the City has received over 4,500 applications for $5,000 grants through the Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. The application closed on Monday, May 4 and recipients will be notified this week.
CHICAGO ---- Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Chicago Department of Public Health Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady, M.D., aldermen, and community and site partners to announce plans for the citywide expansion of COVID-19 testing, focusing on communities most impacted by the pandemic. Through strategic partnerships with Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and Curative-Korva, the city is working toward its goal to increase testing per day from roughly 3,000 tests to 10,000 tests – a critical benchmark to better understand the COVID-19 pandemic and an instrument to help guide the City’s reopening strategy.
“Since the beginning of this public health crisis we have taken a data focused approach to combat COVID-19, and while this has led the City to make many difficult decisions, it has also meant saving thousands of lives and protecting our healthcare system,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “As we look toward Chicago’s gradual re-opening, a crucial piece will be increased testing so that we can better understand COVID-19 and know when to safely move to the next phase. I am pleased to be announcing several key partnerships today that will help the City work toward its critical testing goal with a key focus on the communities that need it most.”
In partnership with the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), Emergency Operations Center (EOC), and the Racial Equity Rapid Response (RERR) team, the City has identified six new testing sites throughout Chicago that will bring testing to communities disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 global pandemic. One of the six new testing sites, located in the parking lot at Guaranteed Rate Field, will specifically serve asymptomatic first responders, healthcare and other essential workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic in Chicago. The other five sites will be embedded within Chicago’s Latinx and African American communities, where testing is most needed, to serve symptomatic residents – those site locations are Maria Saucedo Scholastic and Dr. Jorge Prieto Math and Science academies, Kennedy-King College, and Senka and Gately parks.
“Testing remains one of the most powerful mechanisms for us to understand the complexities of COVID-19 and its spread in the community,” said Dr. Arwady. “This creative solution will allow the City to increase testing capacity without putting additional stress on resources that are in limited demand, while allowing Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to also increase efforts so we can reach a critical mass of tests.”
Sites have been selected not only based on community testing needs, but also on accessibility as the City has worked to identify locations near public transportation that are also easily accessible by vehicles, and ones that utilize large, pre-existing spaces to allow for proper social distancing. The site for first responders, healthcare and other essential workers will be a drive thru site, accessible by vehicle, while the five community sites have all been evaluated on the level of accessibility and will offer access to visitors via drive thru and walk up testing.
“Our collaborative model between local government and community organizations has proven to be expeditious to set up and efficient to execute,” said CORE Co-founders Sean Penn and Ann Lee. “We applaud Mayor Lightfoot for leading the effort to bring these testing sites to Chicago’s underserved communities while also providing critical testing to front line workers and first responders.”
The City will leverage two key partnerships with the Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE) and Curative-Korva to assist in the creation and operation of these six testing sites. With each of the six identified sites, CORE will help the City in identifying and procuring the necessary supplies as well as overseeing site operations including but not limited to recruiting and hiring staff and overseeing the safety and security on site. CORE will draw from best practices identified at their California and Atlanta testing sites and a pre-existing partnership with Curative. Curative will offer support in procuring the testing materials and managing the lab testing and data reporting. Curative will also be working alongside the City to create a registration site where symptomatic residents and asymptomatic first responders, healthcare and essential workers can register for a test – while pre-registration will not be required, it will be strongly recommended.
“We’re proud to work with the U.S. Air Force and cities and states across the country including Chicago, Los Angeles and Delaware to dramatically increase the public’s access to COVID-19 testing,” said Fred Turner, CEO, Curative. “It is critical that we understand the spread of COVID-19 throughout our communities, and systemic testing is our greatest tool in this effort. We developed our oral swab test to not only be easy-to-use, but also highly scalable with no requirement for excess PPE use so cities like Chicago can quickly scale testing to all residents.”
Additionally, the City will identify key partnerships with organizations in each community that will assist in communicating with residents to ensure all members of the community are able to be reached and to break down potential barriers to entry. Community partners will help promote employment opportunities at the sites and the hiring of staff members from within the local communities. Groups will also help with reporting test results, which will be available in English and Spanish on the online registration site and community partners will work alongside Curative to reach residents without access to a computer.
“We are pleased to join Mayor Lightfoot in this effort to bring increased testing capacity to neighborhoods that are being disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 virus,” said Yusef Jackson, Board Secretary of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition. “We look forward to a collaborative partnership as this effort moves forward to find meaningful solutions for residents while reducing the further spread of the COVID-19 virus, particularly in our communities that have been disproportionately impacted.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Mayor Lightfoot’s recently revealed “Protecting Chicago” five-phase reopening framework. The framework, which is meant to gradually reopen the City’s economy while preventing a new surge in COVID-19 cases, relies heavily upon increased testing to move between the phases – specifically two and three. Through these partnerships and bringing additional testing sites online, the City will be able to reach its benchmark of 4,500 tests per day, one of the metrics to move between the second and third phase. Ultimately, the City continues to build toward the goal of 10,000 tests per day to more effectively understand the universe of the COVID-19 pandemic and more efficiently move through re-opening phases.
As part of the City’s larger efforts to be prepared for a potential reopening of the city, on April 23, Mayor Lightfoot announced the creation of the COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce to advise city government as economic recovery planning efforts get underway in the wake of COVID-19.
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced four diverse local businesses have been selected to produce, source and provide one million reusable cloth masks that will be distributed across Chicago to further protect city residents, especially our most vulnerable populations, from the spread of the Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Building upon Mayor Lightfoot’s robust public health response to this pandemic while also supporting local businesses during this difficult time, the City has entered into agreements with Barbara Bates Designs, G.A.I.A.U. Product Design & Development Ltd., Silk Screen Express and The Will Group to create a total of 250,000 reusable cloth masks that will be distributed to Aldermanic offices and another 750,000 reusable cloth masks to be provided through the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.
“While the COVID-19 crisis has been hard on every resident in this city, it has also shown the impact we all have on each other—strangers and friends alike. Whether it’s fashion designers that have altered their production to create cloth masks or manufacturing companies that have shifted their operations to source and distribute face coverings, these companies are a testament to what it looks like when our communities and cities respond to a crisis in unison,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Each of these one million cloth masks coupled with the thousands that individuals have donated themselves represents the generosity, compassion and true spirit resiliency of Chicago.”
Over the past week, the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) thoroughly reviewed each of the local businesses’ proposed masks to ensure they meet national safety standards. Based on their proposed product samples, production schedules and pricing, the following four vendors were selected to produce masks:
"We are proud to be able to support our strategic partners by providing cloth masks during this pandemic. On top of this effort, we have been able to provide bonuses of over $50,000 for our essential workers while also donating additional masks, sanitizer, disinfectant, gloves, and more to those in need," said Joshua Davis of The Will Group. "Our organization is passionate about creating opportunities in the communities in which we operate and are grateful for Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to the City of Chicago and its citizens."
“I’m thrilled to be able to have been recognized as a contributor to making masks for the citizens of Chicago – a world-class city,” said Barbara Bates, founder of Bates Designs.
The City’s emergency contracts with the four vendors provide one million masks for up $2.2 million. Beginning today, the four local businesses will start production to create or source the cloth masks for Chicago residents, which will build on the City’s existing stockpile of masks and additional protective equipment.
“We are all facing an uncommon threat from an uncommon enemy; an enemy none of us can see and but is everywhere, all around us. To meet and defeat it will take an uncommon effort during an uncommon time,” said Jermikko Shoshanna of G.A.I.A.U. Product Design & Development Ltd. “But the greater common cause is for the safety and wellbeing of our citizens, our city and our way of life. Mayor Lightfoot and Governor Pritzker are both asking the common people of this city and this state – the everyday person in every community – to meet this challenge together. I feel both pride and duty, for having been chosen to help us do what we know we must do, all of us — together. Thank God and thank you.”
“Silk Screen Express, Inc. is proud to partner with Mayor Lori Lightfoot to protect the citizens of Chicago,” said Dawn Coleman, President of Silk Screen Express Inc. “We are honored to be providing cloth masks to be distributed to the City’s most high risk and vulnerable residents.”
In addition to the distribution of masks to each of the City’s 50 Aldermanic offices, next week Mayor Lightfoot’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team will begin giving out 750,000 cloth masks to Chicago’s most disproportionately impacted neighborhoods, as part of an effort to build greater equity in health outcomes in Chicago’s black and brown communities. By leveraging the Racial Equity Rapid Response Team to minimize gaps in accessibility to cloth masks and face coverings while also educating targeted and vulnerable populations in Chicago, this latest measure builds on Mayor Lightfoot’s commitment to addressing the health inequities highlighted by the COVID-19 crisis.
“Our efforts are lasered focused on addressing the unacceptable, disproportionate impact COVID-19 has had on our city’s African American and Latinx community,” said Candace Moore, the City’s first Chief Equity Officer and leader of the City’s Racial Equity Rapid Response Team. “With these new cloth masks, we will focus on working with our community partners to ensure that our most vulnerable residents have access to resources they need to stay safe.”
Building on the one million cloth masks being provided by Chicagoland businesses, individual residents and organizations have stepped up to donate more than 5,000 homemade cloth masks to the City's citywide cloth mask drive. Launched last month, the donated cloth masks are being provided to homeless shelters, community health clinics, treatment providers, social service providers, group homes and long-term care facilities to prevent outbreaks among the City’s most high-risk and vulnerable residents.
“We are in awe of the ingenuity of Chicagoans. These vendors stepped up and changed their production and operations to make or source cloth masks because that was the need,” said CDPH Commissioner Allison Arwady, M.D. “I want to thank them for their quick action. Studies show that masks and face coverings can help prevent those who are COVID-19 positive from spreading the virus.”
Last week, Governor Pritzker’s modified Stay at Home order took effect, which requires all Chicago residents and visitors over the age of two and for whom wearing a face covering is medically feasible to wear a face covering or a cloth mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance. The use of the cloth masks and face coverings is meant to help prevent people who have the virus and may not know it from transmitting it to others.
CDPH encourages all residents to use cloth masks and save medical masks, including N95 respirators and surgical masks, for healthcare workers and first responders on the frontline of the COVID-19 crisis. For the latest information and public health guidance to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, alongside the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), today announced the “Protecting Chicago” framework that the City will be using to guide Chicago’s reopening process amid COVID-19. The organized into five phases in alignment with the State of Illinois’ “Restore Illinois” plan – will advise Chicagoans on how to safely exit from shelter-in-place while continuing to prioritize the health of our most vulnerable residents.
“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have been committed to basing our decisions on the science and data related to this disease and communicating our actions to the public in an open and transparent way,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Though we still have a way to go before we can begin reopening our city, when the time comes, that reopening will follow our thoughtful, data-driven process aimed at ensuring all our residents and businesses are informed and supported every step of the way.”
The framework lays out how the City is thinking about reopening, and the details for each phase are being informed by economic and health data, and a combination of input from industry working groups, health experts and the public. As part of the reopening strategy, the City is soliciting public input to gauge sentiment on shelter-in-place and ensure the reopening is phased in a way that eases concerns that residents may have.
The “Protecting Chicago” framework comprises five phases, and Chicago has already transitioned from phase one (Strict Stay-at-Home) to phase two (Stay-at-Home):
PHASE ONE: STRICT STAY-AT-HOME – Limit the amount of contact with others; goal is to limit interactions to rapidly slow the spread of COVID-19
PHASE TWO: STAY-AT-HOME – Guard against unsafe interactions with others; goal is to continue flattening the curve while safely being outside
PHASE THREE: CAUTIOUSLY REOPEN – Strict physical distancing with some businesses opening; goal is to thoughtfully begin to reopen Chicago safely
PHASE FOUR: GRADUALLY RESUME – Continued staggered reopening into a new normal; goal is to further reopen Chicago while ensuring the safety of residents
PHASE FIVE: PROTECT – Continue to protect vulnerable populations; goal is to continue to maintain safety until COVID-19 is contained
The epidemiological criteria for transitioning between phases are rooted in public health guidance and will be reviewed and revisited on an ongoing basis. Health-based metrics are one of the many considerations that the City is weighing to determine the details of the City’s reopening approach and sequencing. Foremost, Chicago is monitoring answers to these four questions in order to help determine when and how the transition between phases takes place:
“While our goal is to get as many people back to work as quickly and safely as possible, we will keep data and science as the north stars of this work, as we have throughout the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Allison Arwady, M.D. “We also recognize that some populations and families are suffering more than others in this crisis, and we are taking that into consideration as we prepare for reopening as well.”
A set of epidemiological factors has been established to guide the next transition from phase two (Stay-at-Home) to phase three (Cautiously Reopen), including:
The specific health criteria for transition between the latter phases will be established and released over the coming weeks to ensure the City is open and responsive to new data and information as it arises. In addition to determining the health-based metrics to move from one phase to the next, the City is actively determining the appropriate sequencing of reopening businesses and public services – taking into consideration both economic enablers such as transportation and childcare concerns, as well as keeping an eye towards economically disadvantaged populations.
The City is working with industry-led working groups, with input from community-based organizations, to determine guidance for businesses when they do begin to reopen. This guidance will be developed around three key areas including healthy interactions for workers and customers, safe spaces and working conditions, and operations and monitoring. While the City will be working to move forward in this approach towards the final phase (Protect), Mayor Lightfoot and Dr. Arwady are assessing the City’s preparedness every day in hopes there will be no need to move backwards along this path.
“As we set our sights on safely reopening Chicago’s economy, we applaud Mayor Lightfoot for assembling a task force representing multiple industries to provide recommendations and best practices,” said Sam Toia, President and CEO, Illinois Restaurant Association. "I am honored to lead the working team for the food and beverage sector, as restaurants and bars are the cornerstones of our 77 communities. Under Mayor Lightfoot’s leadership and with this joint effort between civic, business and community stakeholders, we look forward to getting everyone back to work safely.”
As part of the City’s larger efforts to be prepared for the reopening of the city, on April 23, Mayor Lightfoot announced the creation of the COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce to advise city government as economic recovery planning efforts get underway in the wake of COVID-19. The Taskforce is co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner and led by a group of industry experts, regional government leaders, community-based partners, and policymakers. Together, these leaders are providing critical insights to help Mayor Lightfoot as her administration works to balance a robust health response with a strategic economic response that addresses the unique challenges presented by COVID-19.
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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) today introduced an ordinance to provide additional regulatory and financial relief measures to Chicago’s businesses impacted by the Coronavirus-2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The proposed ordinance would extend the expiration date for licenses that otherwise would expire during the pandemic and defer the collection of Accessibility Fee payments from taxicabs and Transportation Network Providers (TNPs) while the ordinance is in effect.
The relief legislation was passed by the Committee on License and Consumer Protection today and will be considered by the full City Council on Wednesday, May 20.
“Throughout the entire COVID-19 crisis, we have been focused on providing our local entrepreneurs and neighborhood businesses with critical lifelines that will help them survive this time of unprecedented hardship,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “With this new ordinance, we are taking steps to ease the financial burdens our businesses are facing and provide the relief needed to lay the foundation for a strong and speedy recovery.”
The proposed ordinance would be in effect until it is automatically repealed on June 30, 2020 or until the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) makes a written determination that the threat to public health of COVID-19 has diminished, whichever is earlier. Under the ordinance, any license issued by BACP with an expiration date on or after March 15, 2020 will be considered active and no late fees will be assessed until 30 days following the repeal of the ordinance on June 30 or until CDPH makes a written determination. This applies to all businesses licensed by the City, such as retail stores, child day cares, hotels, restaurant and bars, along with public vehicle licenses, such as those required for public chauffeurs, taxicab medallions, pedicabs, private ambulances and medicars.
“Businesses are facing unprecedented financial challenges due to the COVID-19 outbreak and it critical for the City not to place extra burdens on our businesses,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “Our local businesses are the heart of our community, and these emergency measures will bring much needed and immediate financial relief to thousands of businesses.”
The proposed ordinance would also give BACP the authority to defer the collection of the Accessibility Fee paid by Chicago taxicabs and Transportation Network Providers (TNPs). Currently, taxicab medallion licensees pay $22 per month and TNPs pay $0.10 per ride into the Accessibility Fund, which is used to support accessible transportation options, including those for individuals that use a wheelchair. Under the proposal, this fee will be deferred until June 30 and will apply retroactively to March 18 since these businesses are not able to generate revenue. This delay will not impact accessible transportation needs provided by the Fund.
“COVID-19 has caused incredible disruption across the Chicago business community, from restaurants and bars to hotel to public vehicles,” said Emma Mitts, 37th Ward Alderman and Chairman of the Committee on License and Consumer Protection. “We need to be doing everything we can to provide immediate relief to businesses, and the steps introduced today will have a significant and immediate impact.”
These latest proposed measures build on the City’s ongoing efforts to provide regulatory and financial relief to businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak. On April 16, Mayor Lightfoot announced an extension of business tax payments to June 1. This includes restaurant, hotel accommodations, bottled water, checkout bag, ground transportation, parking and amusement taxes. BACP has also created a direct subsidy for wheelchair accessible taxicab drivers by increasing the annual subsidy for vehicle maintenance by $1,000, increasing the driver leasing subsidy from $15 to $25/hour. Finally, the City has extended the deferral of the deadline for debt checks for taxicab and TNP drivers to June 1.
“Businesses in Chicago and across the country are feeling the significant impact of COVID-19,” said Jack Lavin, President and CEO of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce. “We need immediate and impactful relief, and I applaud the Mayor, BACP and City Council for taking this step today.”
To aid in Chicago’s recovery from the COVID-19 outbreak, Mayor Lightfoot has established the COVID-19 Recovery Task Force comprised of industry experts, community leaders and regional partners. Co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Samuel K. Skinner, the new Task Force will advise the City’s recovery efforts to rebuild and come back stronger post-COVID-19.
To further ensure a speedy recovery, the City of Chicago has directed an unprecedented $105 million into two emergency financing programs, the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund and Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. To date, the Loan Fund has approved nearly 300 low-interest loans for a total of $10 million to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Additionally, the City has received over 4,500 applications for $5,000 grants through the Chicago Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program. The application closed on Monday, May 4 and recipients will be notified next week.
CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced the creation of the COVID-19 Recovery Taskforce to advise city government as economic recovery planning efforts get underway in the wake of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The Taskforce will be co-chaired by Mayor Lightfoot and former White House Chief of Staff Sam Skinner and led by a group of industry experts, regional government leaders, community-based partners and policymakers. Together these leaders will provide critical insights to help Mayor Lightfoot as her administration works to balance a robust health response with a strategic economic response that addresses the unique challenges presented by COVID-19.
“COVID-19 is more than just a health crisis; its impact on our local economy has cost the livelihoods of thousands of Chicagoans and has imposed tremendous hardships across the social and economic fabric of all our communities,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “While the City continues to prioritize its public health response in order to keep our residents safe and healthy from this disease, we are also looking ahead to the next phase of this challenge to develop ways Chicago can emerge from the unprecedented event stronger than before. I commend the members of this new Taskforce for stepping up and serving their city as we lay the groundwork for Chicago’s rebirth over the coming weeks and months ahead.”
Samuel K. Skinner, former White House Chief of Staff and U.S. Transportation Secretary, has served as the point person for numerous emergencies and crises, including natural disasters such as Hurricane Hugo and the 1989 San Francisco earthquake, as well as the 1988 terrorist bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland. A native Chicagoan, Skinner has extensive experience working with corporations and businesses in the Chicago area, including roles as President of Commonwealth Edison, Chair of the Regional Transportation Authority, and as U.S. Attorney in the Northern District of Illinois. Skinner is currently Of Counsel at the law firm of Greenberg Traurig, LLP.
“I am honored to be co-chairing this Taskforce alongside Mayor Lightfoot,” said Skinner. “In crises, it is essential for different levels of government, different industries, and different communities to work together as we embark on the most ambitious recovery project Chicago has ever seen, one rooted in equity and inclusion.”
The Taskforce is comprised of Chicago-based policymakers and leaders with experience in key issue areas which have already started to see demonstrable effects from COVID-19. Five working groups will offer policy recommendations and plans to the Lightfoot administration. In recognition of the fact that Chicago’s economy is interconnected with that of the region as well as the state, these subgroups will also include participants representing the Chicagoland regional economy. The working group co-chairs include:
Policy & Economic Stimulus
Mental & Emotional Health
Marketing and Business Development
Economic Change Study
“I am proud to work with Mayor Lightfoot and my fellow leaders to address the issues confronting us – including prioritizing the devastating impact this virus has had on our most vulnerable populations, especially in black and brown communities, as well as businesses throughout our region,” Preckwinkle said. “Cook County has had a long track record of working closely with the City and collar county officials to lay the foundation for a regional economic approach in how government leads and the formation of the Recovery Taskforce is yet another example of local government collaboration to deliver comprehensive solutions during this turbulent time.”
Under the leadership of the co-chairs, each Taskforce working group will include members from across industry, community-based organizations, organized labor, academia, and government. In addition to including regional elected officials, the Taskforce will also include several members of the Chicago City Council. Engagement of regional officials will be led by 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas, City Council Floor Leader and Chair of the Committee on Economic, Capital, and Technology Development.
“Every corner of Chicago has been adversely impacted by COVID-19 in one way or another, which is why we must bring all of our residents along on this recovery mission,” said 36th Ward Alderman Gilbert Villegas. “The more prepared we can be to recover from COVID-19, the better for the health and wellbeing of every Chicagoan.”
The Taskforce will address the following priority recovery areas over the next several weeks. First, before the City can emerge from sheltering in place, it will need a plan to allow its residents to cope with grief, fear and loss. The COVID-19 crisis has cut across every industry, every community and is pervasive throughout our everyday life, with a disproportionate impact on African American residents, who account for more than half of COVID-19 deaths. One of the highest priorities is helping unite Chicagoans during this unprecedented time and building opportunities to grieve as well as cope with the loss of first responders, front line workers and loved ones from COVID-19.
Second, the Taskforce will address COVID-created unemployment. Since the crisis began, a staggering 17 million Americans have filed for unemployment, with more than 247,000 unemployment insurance claims filed in the Chicagoland region during the month of March alone.
Chicago’s economic recovery must also reaffirm Chicago as a destination for businesses, workers, tourism and events. Helping Chicago tell its story of what happened, where we have been, and what we will be in a post-COVID-19 world as we recover will be the work of the Marketing and Business Development working group.
Additionally, the health of the Chicago economy is directly tied to the broader Chicagoland area and State of Illinois. By engaging regional partners and policymakers, the Taskforce will ensure recovery efforts are aligned across multiple jurisdictions.
Finally, for the City to fully understand the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on workers, industry as well as the broader economy, the Taskforce will conduct a “change study” to gauge the full extent of economic hardship and provide a baseline for the city as well as the business community. This study will be crucial as the City works to develop a refined COVID-19 economic response plan, and to help prioritize growth in key industry sectors that have either seen significant losses, or which hold potential for workforce growth in a post COVID-19 economy.
The City’s COVID-19 recovery efforts will be grounded in the crucial work the Lightfoot administration is already doing with initiatives like its $750M INVEST South/West program and the Solutions Toward Ending Poverty (STEP) agenda to address the structural economic forces that put millions of Chicago residents in economic hardship prior to the pandemic. Even as the task force conducts its work, the Lightfoot administration will continue to ensure economic relief is available for individuals and businesses hit hardest by COVID-19. This includes initiatives like the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Fund where the City is working to deploy $100 million in immediate assistance for small business owners and entrepreneurs. Similarly, the Housing Assistance Grant Program has allocated 2,000 grants for low-income renters and homeowners working to make ends meet.
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