In response to the COVID-19 crisis, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) is authorized to provide small business assistance, including low-income loans of up to $2 million, through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. Below is a letter sent yesterday by Robert Steiner, District Director of the SBA Illinois District, Office of Field Operations, explaining what is available.

With many businesses facing potential distress during this crisis, and the foodservice industry in Chicago and many other locations facing immediate and direct impact, you are urged to read the following and follow instructions if you or someone you know might be eligible (there is a link to a form that can help trigger the local disaster declaration process). And please visit the SBA’s Coronavirus page for news and updates.

Naturally Chicago stands with you and will provide any information we learn that can help.


I am contacting you to share proactive measures the US Small Business Administration is taking to address the challenges small businesses face due to the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19). While the situation is rapidly evolving, I’d like to share what resources are available now and those that are in the pipeline.

What’s happened so far

The SBA has received authorization to provide small business assistance through the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program. This program can provide low interest loans of up to $2M to businesses and private non-profits. The attached document  discusses the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) program and provides high level information related to the loan caps, use of proceeds, and interest rates. It’s important to recognize that the state has not yet received a declaration, so the EIDL program is not yet available to Illinois businesses and non-profits.

What’s next

SBA is working with the State of Illinois to support their efforts to submit the Governor’s request for a declaration. To accomplish this, the state is identifying businesses who have experienced substantial economic injury. This step is important as a county can only qualify if they either, have an identified business that has suffered economic injury, or the county is contiguous to a declared county. Once the state has pulled together its request, it goes to SBA for review. Once a disaster is declared, the EIDL becomes available for businesses located in declared counties.

How you can help

  • Help the state identify affected businesses – You can directly help the disaster declaration process through your assistance in identifying affected business. The state of Illinois has created a portal to assist with this at: Please forward to local economic development or small businesses to help aggregate this critical information.
  • Stay informed – The Illinois District will send out updates as the situation evolves. We plan to share information via webinars, through our twitter (@SBA_Illinois), and via email ( In addition, you can find continually updated information on this situation at
  • Direct impacted small businesses to SBA – Even in the absence of a declaration, SBA has a broad range of programs that can help small businesses through these challenging times including business advisory and lending services. Call or email the Illinois District Office or go to for more information. Local staff stand ready to assist.

To reach the District or Branch Office, please use the following contact information:

Chicago Office: 312-353-4528
Springfield Branch: 217-747-8249

Thanks in advance for your support of small businesses and entrepreneurs.


Robert Steiner
District Director, Illinois District
Office of Field Operations
U.S. Small Business Administration