The following is intended to provide resources for tourism industry partners and businesses. Our small business community is essential to the quality of place and experience for our residents and visitors. The situation with COVID-19 continues to change rapidly and the RACVB remains fluid in our response. During this incredibly difficult time, we are focused on providing information and sharing resources to help tourism and hospitality businesses navigate the challenges brought about by this worldwide crisis.
This should not be viewed as a comprehensive list. We will continue to pass along guidance and information from trusted sources as we discover it. Please be sure to check this webpage for updated information and join us on our special Facebook group.
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Financial Resources and Support
Essential Business and Operations
Governor Pritzker Executive Orders and Press Conferences
Economic and Community Benefits of Tourism
Join the RACVB and Become an Advocate for Tourism
State & Federal Representatives & Senators
The Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau is working with state and national organizations to advocate for funding and support for the tourism industry. Below are some of the most recent updates on funding and relief provided by our city, state, and federal government to assist with businesses impacted by tourism.
- Sales Tax Grace Period until May 20th: Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced announced tens of thousands of businesses will get a two-month delay in when they have to pass on sales taxes to the state. The sales tax deferral specifically applies to small- and mid-sized bars and restaurants that paid less than $75,000 in sales taxes last year. Such establishments still will have to file returns for March, April and May, but will be allowed to withhold payment without interest or penalty, providing they make the payments in four chunks spread from May 20 to Aug. 20. For more details and additional resources, click here.
- Small Business Loans: SBA small business loans: On March 19, 2020, Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced that the U.S. Small Business Administration has approved the state’s eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible Businesses can apply here for up to $2 million in low-interest loans. More information or questions about the SBA Disaster Loan can be directed here: John Phelps (John@rldc.us or 815-987-8675) or Andrew Jury (Andrew@rldc.us or 815-987-8675).
- Restaurant and Hotels Deferral of Tax Payments: The City of Rockford Rockford understands that this is tough time for many industries, especially restaurants and hotels. In an effort to alleviate the impact the Stay at Home order has had on restaurants, bars and the hotel and tourism industry, the City is deferring collection of the Food and Beverage Tax and the Hotel-Motel Tax. While businesses still need to submit the forms on time, the taxes will be collected in installments over subsequent months and will not be subject to late fees or penalties.
- Sale of Packaged Liquor for Off-Premises Consumption: Effective March 20, 2020, Mayor Tom McNamara, in his role as City of Rockford Liquor Commissioner, is temporarily allowing all bars and restaurants to sell packaged alcohol in sealed original containers curbside or “in person” on a “to go” basis or by home delivery, including by third-party delivery services.
- License holders are not authorized to sell or deliver pre-mixed cocktails normally intended for on-premises consumption (e.g. pre-mix margaritas, sangrias).
- License holders shall not conduct any sales or deliver any type of alcohol they are not normally authorized to sell (i.e. beer/wine only license holders cannot sell hard liquor).
- License holders must ensure that no sales are made to individuals under the age of 21.
- The temporary authorization will terminate once the current COVID-19 health emergency has been lifted.
- For more information, click here.
- Notice Regarding Extension of Liquor License Renewal Deadline: Due to the COVID-19 health emergency, effective immediately, all City of Rockford liquor license renewal applications and payments are extended 90 days to July 31, 2020.
- Late fees will not be assessed so long as the renewal application and payment are submitted on or before July 31, 2020.
- License holders must comply with all renewal regulations of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission.
- ILCC information can be found here.
- All City of Rockford renewal forms can be found on the City website here.
- For more information, click here.
- Collection of City of Rockford Hotel Motel Tax: The City of Rockford is deferring collection of the City's hotel-motel tax. Taxes due to be remitted in March, April and May for sales activity in February, March and April will be due in four installments over subsequent months, and will not be subject to late fees or penalties. Click HERE for more information.
Stay up to date with information and fine tune your skill set. The RACVB, alongside partners, is developing and providing access to a series of webinars. Visit our LunchChat page for a list of all upcoming webinars.
- Supervisor Guide: The Illinois Department of Public Health has developed a supervisor guide that assists with guidance for risk assessment. To view, please click here.
- Essential Businesses & Operations FAQs: The IL DCEO has developed a list of FAQs important to essential businesses. Click here to view.
- Local and Small Business Resources: View the small business resources provided by Winnebago Buy Local. Click here to view.
- Unemployment Benefits: As a resource for your employees, unemployment benefits may be available to individuals in Illinois whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. Click here for information.
Click on the following attachments for information about unemployment due to the COVID-19 virus.
If you are looking for detailed information on the Governor's executive orders including those that impact restaurants and other small businesses, click here.
The impact of tourism on our local economy and the quality of place for individuals is essential to the identity of our region. To view the most recent downloadable economic impact data for our region and the state, click here.
Due to the positive economic impact on our region, we are asking that you complete the following form and send a note to your elected officials. Please enter something like the probable loss of jobs in your organization and the total numbers of jobs that the industry supports in your area that are at stake. Then, and this is very important, underscore how important it is that the coronavirus stimulus package covers non-profit travel organizations and well as for-profit businesses. This ensures that destination organizations will be covered by the bill's provisions.
Click here for contact information for our State & Federal Representatives and Senators.