How local businesses, governments will survive if the ‘Stay-at-Home’ order is extended

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) — The ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order in Illinois impacts all sorts of revenues in our local counties.

Businesses and municipalities are learning how to navigate through this COVID-19 Pandemic. Layoffs, furloughs, and loss of revenues have many wondering how long they can stay afloat through this ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order.

“A lot of businesses have had to scale back, or close altogether,” said Chris Setti, CEO of the Greater Peoria Economic Development Council.

During this Pandemic, businesses around the State have had to adjust to new business models.

Setti says an extension of the Order will affect everyone in a different way.

“The impact of an extension will really be business to business. Whether they’re able to go back to work or hang on. I do know many businesses are taking advantage of the Paycheck Protection Program,” Setti said.

One of those businesses being the Blue Duck Barbecue Tavern.

Kavan Shay, Owner of the Blue Duck, says having to shut down his dining area, which usually makes 80 percent of his business, has caused employees to have to be laid off.

But he says because of the Paycheck Protection Program, he now has the opportunity to hire them all back.

“We actually just got that today so we’re thrilled about that and we’re going to be able to hire the entire staff back and get them on the payroll,” Shay said.

Very recently, Shay’s business was robbed of alcohol, cash, and an IPad, adding unwanted stress and financial strain.

“It just felt like, ‘oh man, one more thing to deal with on top of what’s already been a tough time,” Shay said.

Shay says the Blue Duck is open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Friday, the restaurant is open from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and again from 5:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Saturdays the restaurant does curb-side and delivery from 11:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. The Blue Duck is now on GrubHub for delivery. They are also offering daily specials and meat by the pound.

Scott Sorrel, Peoria County Administrator, says local governments will be dealing will tax revenue losses of all kinds in future months.

“We’re going to see decreased income tax revenue based on the increase in unemployment ranks. We’re going to see decreased sales tax revenues,” Sorrel said.

Sorrel says currently, Peoria County is just getting back January’s sales tax numbers, so it will be months until we really see the impact the ‘Stay-at-Home’ Order is having.

Sorrel adds property taxes paid and corporate taxes will be down as well.

While the Paycheck Protection Program, is helping businesses during this time, Setti says it is not a replacement of revenue.

“It will have a negative impact on the economy if we can’t go back to the way things were,” Setti said. “But we also need to be mindful that this is a public health issue as well, this is not just an economic crisis. Those two things have to be dealt with in balance,” Setti said.

Setti says hopefully this next round of funding by the Federal government will help businesses even more, and help businesses who did not apply for the PPP the first time.

“There are other programs, the ‘Economic Injury Disaster Program has been good, the State of Illinois has put out their ‘Downstate Stabilization Program.’ We’ve been working with about 120 businesses on applications for that, it’s a $25,000 grant if they get it. I know the City of Pekin has a current grant program that is open through April 29. The City of Peoria is looking to develop its program through federal funding it is receiving,” Setti said.

But some businesses have not received the funds from the PPP yet.

Daniell Laroche, owner of Lost Art Design & Print says she is still waiting for the assistance.

“I know a lot of small businesses have been impacted by the Paycheck Protection Program, I know a lot of the businesses have not gotten those funds. I’ll be honest, I was one of them,” Laroche said.

That’s why Laroche started ‘It Stays in Peoria,’ a small business relief fund helping businesses get through this time. She sells shirts that makes her business $10, and the business she partners with $10. Currently, she has over 32 businesses she’s partnering with.

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