Pritzker: 3 deaths, 330 more COVID-19 cases in Illinois; tax filing deadline extended
Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced 330 more cases of COVID-19 in Illinois and three deaths at a Wednesday briefing where he also extended the state's April 15 tax filing date by three months.
The state now has logged 1,865 cases in 35 counties, the Illinois Department of Public Health confirmed, and 19 deaths.
The fatalities include a Kane County man in his 90s, a Cook County man in his 60s and a Will County woman in her 50s.
The U.S. Internal Revenue Service extended the federal tax deadline to July 15 on Saturday. Pritzker said the action "will give millions of taxpayers three additional months to file their individual tax returns."
For small businesses struggling to stay afloat, the state is offering low-interest loans, officials said Wednesday.
A $60 million fund will provide up to $50,000 to businesses with fewer than 50 workers that received less than $3 million in revenue in 2019. Qualifying businesses get a six-month, zero-interest window on a five-year loan and will pay back the remainder at 3% interest.
Applications will go live Friday on the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity's website.
More financial aid in the form of $14 million in grants is available for qualifying restaurants, bars and hotels. Bars and restaurants could receive grants of up to $25,000 and hotels up to $450,000. Applications can be made starting Wednesday at the same website.
The hotel occupancy rate in the area had been projected to be in the 70% range, but now it's "in the teens or single digits," Illinois Hotel & Lodging Association President Michael Jacobson said.
The loans are meant to offset potential anticipated layoffs of more than 120,000, he said. "Our employees are hurting and just hoping they can keep their jobs."
Overall by county, there are 1,418 COVID-19 cases in Cook County including Chicago, 139 in Lake, 131 in DuPage, 40 in Will, 38 in Kane and 19 in McHenry.
The outbreak of the coronavirus in Illinois prompted Pritzker to issue a stay-at-home order Friday to reduce spread. He had previously closed restaurants and bars except for takeout.
The order allows people to leave their homes for essential errands like buying groceries, getting gas, or picking up a prescription.
"I know there are people all across the state that are making real sacrifices by adhering to our stay-at-home order, which is in its fourth day," Pritzker said.
"I know for those of you who are able to remain at home, it feels like it's been forever. I want to express my sincere gratitude. ... The sacrifices you are making are saving lives ... truly."
Two correctional officers and an inmate at Stateville Correctional Center have tested positive for the disease. The center is on lockdown for 14 days and those exposed to the coronavirus are quarantined.