COVID-19 UPDATE from Bellas & Wachowski

Articles Posted in Business

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Illinois Cannabis Business Market

Licenses for a legal cannabis business have been a hot topic lately, and now the the Illinois Supreme Court has made its first ruling related to the byzantine process of obtaining a license for a legalized cannabis business in the state, and it seems likely to be the first of many.

The legislative effort to limit the number of licenses the state issues drives up the value of said licenses to the point where it almost seems to bait those who don’t win the competitions to get one, and who sometimes end up angry and confused as to why.

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Considerations for Starting a Small Business

Recently, we ran a post What to consider when Starting a Small Business, Part One  about some of the early steps in starting a small business—deciding you’re ready, figuring out what type of business you want to start, surveying your competitors, and figuring out the optimal business model.

At that point, it’s time to get down to the proverbial brass tacks and put together a business plan, which really doesn’t need to be more than one page long unless you’re going to apply for a loan from a bank (in which case you should find out what the lending institution requires).

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Are you thinking about starting a small business?

It can be an exciting and challenging endeavor, although it’s more likely to succeed if you plan ahead, take it step by step, and surround yourself with trusted, experienced advisers.  Of course, such an important endeavor – not to mention a life alternating event – requires hard work, ingenuity and more than a little legal advice.   You can start by going to our webpage on What to Ask When Staring a Business.

Keep in mind that there might never be an absolutely perfect time to start your own business – so for starters you need to take stock of your mental state and make sure you’re as ready as you will ever feel.  

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SBA Restaurant Revitalization Fund

Eligible restaurants and other dining establishments are entitled to apply to the U.S. Small Business Administration for a $28.6 billion grant program under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, as established in section 5003 of the legislation.

The SBA recently released a Program Guide that lays out the details of the grant eligibility under the Restaurant Revitalization Fund that foodservice outlets might want to review before applying. Among the key points of consideration promulgated in that publication are:

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What Can Small Businesses Do About the Maskless?

As more states lift requirements that people wear COVID-19 masks indoors when in public, what can small businesses do to protect their employees—and other customers who still prefer to wear masks?

As of April 5, more than one-third of states (18) lacked mask requirements, some of which never had them in the first place, according to the Associated Press. But business owners are certainly legally entitled to require them if they so choose, given that their public-facing spaces are still private property that they either rent or own, as long as they don’t discriminate. Customers who refuse to wear a mask, are asked to leave and stubbornly do not are therefore trespassing, and business owners could involve police if they so choose.

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Pandemic Relief for Restaurants

Smaller restaurants and bars soon will have a new opportunity for pandemic-related relief when the U.S. Small Business Administration posts the application for the new Restaurant Revitalization Fund, a program created as part of the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 signed by President Biden on March 11.

As of this posting, the application had not been made available; however, those eligible should keep checking this page or watching out for announcements and be ready to pounce.

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New County Ordinance, Supreme Court Orders to Impact Landlords

Landlords in Illinois, especially those in non-home-rule portions of Cook County, will face a raft of changes this spring in the wake of three state Supreme Court orders issued in late February, and a new ordinance passed by the Cook County Board of Supervisors that takes effect June 1.

The Supreme Court’s orders respectively relate to Governor Pritzker’s eviction moratorium, which has been extended to April 3; how circuit courts can handle an anticipated flood of eviction cases once the moratorium ends; and the use of electronic signatures in eviction proceedings during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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           Crypto economy has arrived.

An actual physical bank will soon be providing the full slate of deposit-taking, custody and fiduciary services for cryptocurrency such as bitcoin.

The Cheyenne, Wyoming-based Kraken Financial on September 16 became the first digital asset firm in the U.S. to obtain a federal- and state-recognized bank charter and thus will be regulated very similarly to other American banks. Although the institution will have a physical office in Cheyenne, the plan is to emphasize online and mobile banking, with customer support on call 24/7/365.

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Employers Need to Mask Up Against Lawsuits

Small businesses face a dizzying swirl of regulations from different levels of government about whether patrons and employees are required to wear masks during the pandemic, as well as whether employers are required to either purchase masks for employees or reimburse them for reasonable costs.

The scenario becomes more fraught given the emergence of class-action litigation even when businesses are complying with the mandates and guidelines from the federal, state and local authorities. Going forward, small businesses need to strike a delicate balance between accommodating customers in their public spaces while doing right by their employees, whose priorities are not always the same but should be considered.

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Tenant Evictions

Updated October 19

Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued an executive order on October 16 extending the statewide moratorium on residential evictions for another 30 days. Pritzker first put a hold on residential evictions through an executive order on March 20, the same day he issued a statewide stay-at-home order in response to the COVID-19 pandemic