Economic Development

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COVID-19 Resources for Bloomington Businesses

The City of Bloomington’s Economic Development Department is committed to supporting Bloomington’s vibrant business community as it responds to the impacts of COVID-19. We are monitoring guidance from federal, state and local public health authorities and the availability of resources to be provided by the State and Federal Government for area businesses.

Below are COVID-19 related resources relevant to the local business community. Additional resources will be added as they become available.

City of Bloomington

"(H) Moratorium on Interest, Fines and Penalties. No interest, fines and/or penalties shall accrue or be assessed on amounts owed to the City as of March 1, 2020, for City utility payments, food and beverage taxes (although timely tax return filings are still required), parking tickets and/or ordinance violations, so long as said obligations to the City are paid within 30 days after the conclusion Governor Pritzker’s Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation, including any and all renewals thereof, or until this provision is amended or repealed by the City Council. The City Manager is similarly authorized, by Executive Order, to extend the deadlines for payments related to any other amounts due and owing the City."

McLean County

The McLean County Board, in partnership with the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, is offering two loan programs to small businesses located in McLean County: 

Micro-Bridge Loan program ($300,000) is a 1% bridge loan up to $5,000 for nonresidential for-profit businesses under 10 employees in McLean County. 

Recovery Loan program ($300,000) is a 1% gap loan up to $20,000 (20% of total loan) for nonresidential for-profit businesses under 50 employees in McLean County. 

For more information about these programs, visit the BNEDC website.

Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council

The BNEDC has created a comprehensive COVID Business Recovery Guide to local, state, and federal programs to assist businesses that are experiencing a temporary loss in revenue, extend or alleviate deadlines, or ensure employee paychecks.



State Farm / LISC  Rescue Loan Fund:

Tuesday April 21, 2020: State Farm and the Local Initiative Support Corporation (LISC) are partnering to assist small businesses in Central Illinois.

State Farm and LISC announced a Good Neighbor Partnership to help central Illinois small businesses and nonprofits work through the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic. In the partnership, State Farm is providing a $10 million low-cost loan to LISC targeted to Central Illinois. With State Farm’s loan, LISC will establish a Small Business Rescue Fund that will enable loans to be distributed to small businesses and nonprofit social enterprises for urgent needs, including operational costs like paying employees, vendors, and rent.

“We understand the importance of small businesses and realize they are the cornerstone of the community.” Karen Davis, Executive Director of LISC Central Illinois states. “The Rescue Loan Fund will provide capital to help businesses become operational again.”

The fund will target the following entities, which represent those most in need of capital infusion:

  • Women-, minority-, and veteran-led small businesses that provide vital goods, services, and jobs in communities most in danger of permanent closure
  • Nonprofit social enterprises with revenues of less than $5 million
  • Small Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) with missions to support small businesses

“State Farm’s commitment will allow LISC to provide reduced costs to borrowers associated with underwriting, closing, and servicing loans,” said State Farm Area Vice President and LISC Chicago Board Member Amy Isuani. “This is important as the risk profile is higher for small business loans, and given the interruption in the economy, underwriting requires a higher level of due diligence within a much shorter time period.”

For more information, visit the LISC website.

State of Illinois

On June 22, 2020 the State of Illinois released Guidelines for Reopening in Phase 4 starting June 26, 2020. Industry-specific guidelines, pre-opening checklists, and safety signage can be found here.

On June 22, 2020 the State of Illinois opened applications for two new grant opportunities: The Business Interruption Grant Program (BIG) and the Distressed Capital Program are available to businesses in an effort to combat the financial impacts of COVID-19 and the recent community unrest.

On May 24, 2020 the State of Illinois released guidelines for businesses to safely reopen beginning May 29. Industry-specific guidelines, pre-opening checklists, and safety signage can be found here:

On May 5, 2020, Governor JB Pritzker announced Restore Illinois, a five-phase plan focused on saving lives, livelihood, and safely reopening Illinois. The plan is driven by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and provides a regional approach to transitioning families, workplaces, retail stores, health care services, hospitality and amusement spaces, and schools to a safer new normal as permanent solutions are implemented to reduce the risk of future spread of COVID-19. Click here to view the plan and metrics for Restore Illinois (Note: McLean County is located in the North-Central Region (EMS Regions 1 & 2)).


  • The State of Illinois has established an official state COVID-19 web portal.

  • On April 30, 2020,  Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-32, a new stay at home order allowing non-essential retail stores to fulfill online and telephonic orders through pick-up outside the store or delivery. Also issued was Executive Order Number 33 which reissues Executive Orders 2020-03 through 2020-31, extending most provisions through May 29, 2020.
  • The Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity has created an official COVID-19 web portal:

  • The Illinois State Treasurer has established the Illinois Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program, an impact investment loan program under which the State Treasurer has made up to $500 million in deposits available to banks and credit unions throughout the state, at near-zero rates, to assist Illinois small business and non-profits negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Go to the Treasurer's website for a list of participating lenders.

  •  The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) has established a COVID-19 information page.The page provides details on the program to support Eating and Drinking Establishments (Short-Term Relief from Penalties for Late Sales Tax Payments), the state's extension of filling income taxes from April 15th to July 15, 2020, and information regarding the extension of the Expiration Date of Certain Sales Tax Exemption ("E") Numbers.

  • The Illinois Department of Employment Security will soon be offering unemployment benefits for independent contractors, self-proprietors, and workers not typically eligible for unemployment benefits,  Information will be published on the IEDS website as soon as this program is active.

McLean County Small Business Development Center / US Small Business Administration

  • The U.S. Small Business Administration worked with the U. S. Department of Justice in assisting small businesses to understand and comply with the Americans With Disabilities Act. These guidelines can be found at  
  • With support from the City of Bloomington, the Small Business Development Center of McLean County at Illinois Wesleyan University is working to help small businesses address the business challenges of COVID-19 in conjunction with the US Small Business Administration.

For a comprehensive list of resources for small businesses,
please visit the McLean County SBDC COVID-19 Resources webpage.

  • All Illinois small businesses can now apply for low-interest disaster loans to help offset the economic impact of the COVID-10 pandemic through the US Small Business Administration. For more information go to

  • The Paycheck Protection Program from the SBA prioritizes millions of Americans employed by small businesses by authorizing up to $349 billion toward job retention and certain other expenses. The Paycheck Protection Program is a loan designed to provide a direct incentive for small businesses to keep their workers on the payroll. SBA will forgive loans if all employees are kept on the payroll for eight weeks and the money is used for payroll, rent, mortgage interest, or utilities. 

  • The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides Emergency Economic Injury Distaster Loan (EIDL) grants of up to $10,000 to eligible small businesses. Click here for more information on EIDL Grants on the SBA website.

  • For a guide to all federal SBA programs for COVID-19, click here.

  • When can I apply for SBA loans and grants?
    • Starting April 3, 2020, small businesses and sole proprietorships can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
    • Starting April 10, 2020, independent contractors and self-employed individuals can apply for and receive loans to cover their payroll and other certain expenses through existing SBA lenders.
    • Regulated lenders will be available to make these loans as soon as they are approved and enrolled in the program.
    • The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, exhausted its initial $349 billion in funding on April 16th. The Small Business Administration (SBA) — which received over 1.6 million applications — subsequently stopped accepting requests from eligible business owners. An additional $310 billion in new funding has been authorized. The SBA will begin processing applications the morning of Monday, April 27, 2020. Please contact your lender for details.

BN Prepared 

With support from the City of Bloomington, the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, Bloomington-Normal Convention and Visitors Bureau, and McLean County Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to create the BN Prepared web portal at


Other Resources

Johns Hopkins University: Operational Toolkit for Businesses Considering Reopening or Expanding Operations in COVID-19. This operational toolkit has been developed to help business owners who are considering reopening or expanding their operations to determine their establishments’ risk of transmission of COVID-19 and how to reduce it. The Operational Toolkit consists of 3 parts: an instruction manual; a business risk worksheet; and an assessment calculator.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has created a user-friendly Small Business Guide & Checklist for the The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.  The checklist can be accessed by visiting 

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: The Save Small Business Fund is a grant-making initiative offering short-term relief for small employers in the United States and its territories. More information on eligibility and how to apply can be found here


DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is designed to provide timely information on various services offered. Nothing herein guarantees said services will be available and all services are subject to change. This is not a comprehensive list of all services that might be offered. In addition, nothing herein shall be considered legal advice or formal guidance by the City. 


City of Bloomington Economic Development Department


In addition to a high quality of life, cultural experiences, and exceptional educational opportunities, the City of Bloomington seeks to foster a welcoming environment for all types of businesses including agricultural, healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, distribution, and retail .

The City of Bloomington’s Economic Development Department promotes economic stability and growth through sound planning and development programs including several incentive programs administered by the City, the Bloomington-Normal Economic Development Council, and the State of Illinois.

The mission of the City’s Economic Development Department is to enhance the economic viability of the city through the use of economic development practices and collaboration with other economic driven organizations. The Economic Development Department is your resource for information and assistance to help you grow your business in Bloomington. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have!

Services to the community include:

  • Promoting long-term economic growth by supporting redevelopment and development projects in the City.
  • Expanding Bloomington’s commercial tax base for the benefit of all taxing districts.
  • Maintaining a low unemployment rate through business retention and expansion efforts.
  • Sustaining a high quality of life in Bloomington through retail retention and attraction efforts.
  • Providing technical and targeted financial assistance to new and expanding businesses.
  • Leveraging strong partnerships with allied organizations that help extend and enhance the department's services, as well as to strengthen the entire region.

Use the navigation menu to the left to explore various programs and resources the Economic Development Department offers.



The City of Bloomington Economic Development department was formed in March 2019.  Below you will find a performance dashboard from the department.  The data presented is an accumulation from March 2019 to the date of it's posting (February 14, 2020).  


               Updated Downtown Indicators