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CHICAGO — With restaurants, bars and many stores closed due to the spread of COVID-19, Illinoisans risk an uncertain economic future.

While many restaurants are still accepting delivery and pickup orders, workers may find themselves with reduced hours, a decline in tips and in some cases — being told to stay home altogether.

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced several efforts to bring economic relief to those hit hardest by COVID-19. There are also additional services and resources available for people who suddenly find themselves out of work.

Unemployment insurance

Pritzker said unemployment insurance is available to those without paid sick leave or those unable to work due to COVID-19. He added that his administration has waived the seven day waiting period, so anyone who qualifies can be immediately eligible.

Information on how to file an unemployment insurance claim can be found here.

Food assistance

Pritzker said he is working with food banks throughout the state to expand services. Links to food banks across Illinois can be found here.

Schools throughout the city and suburbs are handing out meals to students who aren’t getting them during the COVID-19 shutdown. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday Free meals will be provided to CPS students beginning Tuesday. They will be offered between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., Monday through Friday at all district schools and some charter schools.

Families can pick up the meals outside their nearest school.

Loans for small businesses

Small businesses struggling to pay rent, employees and utilities may be eligible for loans. Interest rates for Illinois businesses without credit available elsewhere is 3.75% and 2.75% for nonprofit businesses. More information on loans for small businesses in Illinois can be found here.

Utility relief

Until the state disaster declaration is lifted — utilities including energy, telecommunications and water cannot be shutoff. Information on applying for utility bill assistance can be found here.

Companies that are hiring

Some companies are urgently hiring employees to keep up with the demand of goods during the COVID-19 shutdown.

Amazon announced Tuesday they will need to hire thousands of workers to handle all the deliveries for everyone staying at home.

These companies are also hiring: