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Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Governor’s Guidelines for Easing Restrictions on Businesses under Phase 3

On Tuesday, May 5th, Governor Pritzker released Restore Illinois, a five-phased plan that will reopen our state, guided by health metrics and with marked by distinct business, education, and recreation activities characterizing each phase. The Restore Illinois plan recognizes that the economy will start growing again when consumers feel that it is safe to return to work, shop and dine out, and engage in social and recreational activities. Under the Restore Illinois framework, certain businesses and activities are allowed to resume in Phase 3 with IDPH-approved safety guidance in place.

Read the Plan

To prepare businesses and employers to implement the new safety guidelines and to bring many residents back to work, the State of Illinois has developed this business toolkit complete with signage, training checklists, and other resources to ensure business and activities are conducted in accordance with the latest and greatest public health recommendations.

Phase 3 guidelines span 10 different industry categories. Each set of guidelines includes a common set of guidelines that are expected and encouraged among all employers and activity types, as well as workplace and program-specific guidelines.

Common Guidelines for all Phase 3 Businesses and Operations to follow can be found in the Phase 3 Business Toolkit.

For Industry definitions and guidelines, please see below:

Manufactuing image

Manufacturing
Manufacturing facilities such as plants, factories and mills

Heath Fitness image

Health and Fitness Centers
Gyms, fitness centers, yoga, dance, cycling, pilates, barre studios, and other customer-facing fitness centers

Office worker image

Offices
Non-customer-facing offices such as: legal; accounting services; architectural/engineering design; and other professional services

Personal care image

Personal Care Services
Hair salons, barber shops, nail salons, spas, waxing centers, tattoo parlors

Retail store image

Retail
Retailers and merchandisers such as: grocery stores; hardware stores; clothing stores; pharmacies; department stores; shopping malls

Outdoor recreation image

Outdoor Recreation
Customer facing services such as driving ranges, outdoor shooting ranges, paintball courses, outdoor adventure parks

Service counter image

Service Counters
Stores providing assorted services for dropped off goods, such as: dry cleaners; electronics repair shops; shoe repair shops; car washes

Summer programs image

Day Camps
Recreational youth programs such as sports camps, recreational camps, educational camps

Youth sports image

Youth Sports
Youth sports games or matches, group sports lessons, team or group sports practices (no competitive sports permitted in Phase 3)

Outdoor dining image

Restaurants and Bars (outdoor dining and drinking)
Full-service restaurants, limited-service restaurants, snacks bars, taverns, and other food and beverage businesses

  • Toolkit

 

Additionally, the State of Illinois is providing new guidelines for indoor/outdoor tennis, as well as revised guidelines for boating and fishing and for golf.

For more on latest guidelines for places of worship and religious services, please view safety guidelines on IDPH’s website.

We also encourage businesses to go above and beyond this guidance in prioritizing the safety and health of their workers and customers.

If you have read the industry safety guidelines above and have other specific questions or comments about how Phase 3 affects your business or employees, please feel free to get in touch with DCEO. For direct support, contact our Business Hotline Monday through Friday at 1-800-252-2923, or email at: ceo.support@illinois.gov.

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Experts discuss ways for businesses to survive Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

Video: Experts discuss ways for businesses to survive Coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic

The Town of Cicero, the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and Morton College on May 19, 2020 hosted an online workshop to help businesses survive the coronavirus COVID-19 Pandemic using Zoom online technology.

Speakers discussed ways to businesses to survive and explore strategies to adapt their businesses to the new environment of social distancing and personal contact restrictions.

Morton College business leader Ashley Swint discusses strategies for businesses to survive in the COVID-19 Pandemic during a Zoom Video Conference held on May 19, 2020 sponsored by Morton College, the Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

A special Online, live Video Seminar with speakers who will help businesses navigate through the impact of the coronavirus.

Ashley Swint holds a BA in Fashion Marketing & Management and an MBA in Marketing. She is an Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education for 10 years. Along with my classroom experience I have spent 15 years working in marketing both in Healthcare and Apparel sectors. Along with teaching, I run a marketing consulting firm for small businesses.

Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education
Ashley Swint, Adjunct Business instructor at Morton College and have been teaching Business and Marketing courses in Higher Education

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

As a graduate of Health Systems Management from Loyola University, Parrish has worked in healthcare the majority of my career, with the additional experience in business management.

Currently, Parrish is the Director of Corporate Education at Morton College.

Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College
Vanessa Parrish, Director of Corporate Education at Morton College

Ismael Vargas is the Business License Department Director for the Town of Cicero. Vargas has been a community activist for years and is also the chairman of the Cicero Clergy Committee and a member of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Ray Hanania is a former award winning Chicago City Hall reporter and now spokesman for the Town of Cicero. He is the coordinator for the New Cicero Chamber of Commerce and a veteran strategic communications consultant.

Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses
Ismael Vargas, Cicero Director of Business Licenses

For information on the Live Webinar, Email Ray Hanania at RHanania@ThetownofCicero.com

Morton College, The Town of Cicero and the Cicero Chamber of Commerce will host more free online workshops to help local businesses. Check back here for more information regularly or subscribe to our free Chamber Newsletter.

Click here to view the video online or use the widget below to watch and listen to the seminar panelists.

Click here to view the PowerPoint Presentation: 05-19-20 Ashley Swint PowerPoint Presentation


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Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

Coronavirus COVID-19: State of Illinois Recommendations for Businesses

Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered a ban on in-dining/drinking seating service at all restaurants and bars until March 30. The order allows restaurants and bars with licenses to sell packaged alcohol to take orders and to deliver or allow pick-up from the establishments. But what about other businesses. Here is some information that might be helpful.

The following interim guidance may help prevent workplace exposures to acute respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, in non-healthcare settings. The guidance also provides planning considerations if there are more widespread, community outbreaks of COVID-19.

To prevent stigma and discrimination in the workplace, use only the guidance described below to determine risk of COVID-19. Do not make determinations of risk based on race or country of origin, and be sure to maintain confidentiality of people with confirmed COVID-19. There is much more to learn about the transmissibility, severity, and other features of COVID-19 and investigations are ongoing.

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.


Recommended strategies for employers to use now:

  • Actively encourage sick employees to stay home:
    • Employees who have symptoms of acute respiratory illness are recommended to stay home and not come to work until they are free of fever (100.4° F [38.0° C] or greater using an oral thermometer), signs of a fever, and any other symptoms for at least 24 hours, without the use of fever-reducing or other symptom-altering medicines (e.g. cough suppressants). Employees should notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure that your sick leave policies are flexible and consistent with public health guidance and that employees are aware of these policies.
    • Talk with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees about the importance of sick employees staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
    • Do not require a healthcare provider’s note for employees who are sick with acute respiratory illness to validate their illness or to return to work, as healthcare provider offices and medical facilities may be extremely busy and not able to provide such documentation in a timely way.
    • Employers should maintain flexible policies that permit employees to stay home to care for a sick family member. Employers should be aware that more employees may need to stay at home to care for sick children or other sick family members than is usual.
  • Separate sick employees:
    • IDPH recommends that employees who appear to have acute respiratory illness symptoms (i.e. cough, shortness of breath) upon arrival to work or become sick during the day should be separated from other employees and be sent home immediately. Sick employees should cover their noses and mouths with a tissue when coughing or sneezing (or an elbow or shoulder if no tissue is available).
  • Emphasize staying home when sick, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene by all employees:
    • Place posters that encourage staying home when sickcough and sneeze etiquette, and hand hygiene at the entrance to your workplace and in other workplace areas where they are likely to be seen.
    • Provide tissues and no-touch disposal receptacles for use by employees.
    • Instruct employees to clean their hands often with an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60-95% alcohol, or wash their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Soap and water should be used preferentially if hands are visibly dirty.
    • Provide soap and water and alcohol-based hand rubs in the workplace. Ensure that adequate supplies are maintained. Place hand rubs in multiple locations or in conference rooms to encourage hand hygiene.
    • Visit the coughing and sneezing etiquette and clean hands webpage for more information.
  • Perform routine environmental cleaning:
    • Routinely clean all frequently touched surfaces in the workplace, such as workstations, countertops, and doorknobs. Use the cleaning agents that are usually used in these areas and follow the directions on the label.
    • No additional disinfection beyond routine cleaning is recommended at this time.
    • Provide disposable wipes so that commonly used surfaces (for example, doorknobs, keyboards, remote controls, desks) can be wiped down by employees before each use.
  • Advise employees before traveling to take certain steps:
    • Check the CDC’s Traveler’s Health Notices for the latest guidance and recommendations for each country to which you will travel. Specific travel information for travelers going to and returning from China, and information for aircrew, can be found at on the CDC website.
    • Advise employees to check themselves for symptoms of acute respiratory illness before starting travel and notify their supervisor and stay home if they are sick.
    • Ensure employees who become sick while traveling or on temporary assignment understand that they should notify their supervisor and should promptly call a healthcare provider for advice if needed.
    • If outside the United States, sick employees should follow your company’s policy for obtaining medical care or contact a healthcare provider or overseas medical assistance company to assist them with finding an appropriate healthcare provider in that country. A U.S. consular officer can help locate healthcare services. However, U.S. embassies, consulates, and military facilities do not have the legal authority, capability, and resources to evacuate or give medicines, vaccines, or medical care to private U.S. citizens overseas.
  • Additional Measures in Response to Currently Occurring Sporadic Importations of the COVID-19:
    • Employees who are well but who have a sick family member at home with COVID-19 should notify their supervisor and refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.
    • If an employee is confirmed to have COVID-19, employers should inform fellow employees of their possible exposure to COVID-19 in the workplace but maintain confidentiality as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Employees exposed to a co-worker with confirmed COVID-19 should refer to CDC guidance for how to conduct a risk assessment of their potential exposure.

Planning for a Possible COVID-19 Outbreak in the US

The severity of illness or how many people will fall ill from COVID-19 is unknown at this time. If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the U.S., employers should plan to be able to respond in a flexible way to varying levels of severity and be prepared to refine their business response plans as needed. For the general American public, such as workers in non-healthcare settings and where it is unlikely that work tasks create an increased risk of exposures to COVID-19, the immediate health risk from COVID-19 is considered low. The CDC and its partners will continue to monitor national and international data on the severity of illness caused by COVID-19, will disseminate the results of these ongoing surveillance assessments, and will make additional recommendations as needed.

Planning Considerations

All employers need to consider how best to decrease the spread of acute respiratory illness and lower the impact of COVID-19 in their workplace in the event of an outbreak in the US. They should identify and communicate their objectives, which may include one or more of the following: (a) reducing transmission among staff, (b) protecting people who are at higher risk for adverse health complications, (c) maintaining business operations, and (d) minimizing adverse effects on other entities in their supply chains. Some of the key considerations when making decisions on appropriate responses are:

  • Disease severity (i.e., number of people who are sick, hospitalization and death rates) in the community where the business is located;
  • Impact of disease on employees that are vulnerable and may be at higher risk for COVID-19 adverse health complications. Inform employees that some people may be at higher risk for severe illness, such as older adults and those with chronic medical conditions.
  • Prepare for possible increased numbers of employee absences due to illness in employees and their family members, dismissals of early childhood programs and K-12 schools due to high levels of absenteeism or illness:
  • Employers should plan to monitor and respond to absenteeism at the workplace. Implement plans to continue your essential business functions in case you experience higher than usual absenteeism.
  • Cross-train personnel to perform essential functions so that the workplace is able to operate even if key staff members are absent.
  • Assess your essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on your services or products. Be prepared to change your business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
  • Employers with more than one business location are encouraged to provide local managers with the authority to take appropriate actions outlined in their business infectious disease outbreak response plan based on the condition in each locality.
  • Coordination with state and local health officials is strongly encouraged for all businesses so that timely and accurate information can guide appropriate responses in each location where their operations reside. Since the intensity of an outbreak may differ according to geographic location, local health officials will be issuing guidance specific to their communities.

Important Considerations for Creating an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan

All employers should be ready to implement strategies to protect their workforce from COVID-19 while ensuring continuity of operations. During a COVID-19 outbreak, all sick employees should stay home and away from the workplace, respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene should be encouraged, and routine cleaning of commonly touched surfaces should be performed regularly.

Employers should:

  • Ensure the plan is flexible and involve your employees in developing and reviewing your plan.
  • Conduct a focused discussion or exercise using your plan, to find out ahead of time whether the plan has gaps or problems that need to be corrected.
  • Share your plan with employees and explain what human resources policies, workplace and leave flexibilities, and pay and benefits will be available to them.
  • Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

Recommendations for an Infectious Disease Outbreak Response Plan:

  • Identify possible work-related exposure and health risks to your employees. OSHA has more information on how to protect workers from potential exposures to COVID-19.
  • Review human resources policies to make sure that policies and practices are consistent with public health recommendations and are consistent with existing state and federal workplace laws (for more information on employer responsibilities, visit the Department of Labor’s and the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s websites).
  • Explore whether you can establish policies and practices, such as flexible worksites (e.g., telecommuting) and flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts), to increase the physical distance among employees and between employees and others if state and local health authorities recommend the use of social distancing strategies. For employees who are able to telework, supervisors should encourage employees to telework instead of coming into the workplace until symptoms are completely resolved. Ensure that you have the information technology and infrastructure needed to support multiple employees who may be able to work from home.
  • Identify essential business functions, essential jobs or roles, and critical elements within your supply chains (e.g., raw materials, suppliers, subcontractor services/products, and logistics) required to maintain business operations. Plan for how your business will operate if there is increasing absenteeism or these supply chains are interrupted.
  • Set up authorities, triggers, and procedures for activating and terminating the company’s infectious disease outbreak response plan, altering business operations (e.g., possibly changing or closing operations in affected areas), and transferring business knowledge to key employees. Work closely with your local health officials to identify these triggers.
  • Plan to minimize exposure between employees and also between employees and the public, if public health officials call for social distancing.
  • Establish a process to communicate information to employees and business partners on your infectious disease outbreak response plans and latest COVID-19 information. Anticipate employee fear, anxiety, rumors, and misinformation, and plan communications accordingly.
  • In some communities, early childhood programs and K-12 schools may be dismissed, particularly if COVID-19 worsens. Determine how you will operate if absenteeism spikes from increases in sick employees, those who stay home to care for sick family members, and those who must stay home to watch their children if dismissed from school. Businesses and other employers should prepare to institute flexible workplace and leave policies for these employees.
  • Local conditions will influence the decisions that public health officials make regarding community-level strategies; employers should take the time now to learn about plans in place in each community where they have a business.
  • If there is evidence of a COVID-19 outbreak in the US, consider canceling non-essential business travel to additional countries per travel guidance on the CDC website.
    • Travel restrictions may be enacted by other countries which may limit the ability of employees to return home if they become sick while on travel status.
    • Consider cancelling large work-related meetings or events.
  • Engage state and  local health departments to confirm channels of communication and methods for dissemination of local outbreak information. When working with your local health department check their available hours.
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Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

Community media discusses strategies to help businesses

Editors of local community newspapers meet with members of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to discuss ways to strengthen their business and their public identity through advertising and public relations strategies. View a video of the event below.

Leaders of The Town of Cicero’s vibrant Spanish/English language news media participated in a panel seminar during a meeting on Feb. 26, 2020 of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Participants on the panel included La Prensa Publisher Martha Gonzales and editor Gabriella Cadrano, El Dia Newspaper Editor Christopher Montes de Oca and co-founder Anna Maria Montes de Oca Rojas, La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo, Lawndale News Managing Editor Ashmar Mandou, and Entretenimiento Magazine Publisher Claudia Montanez.

Each of the editors discussed the many methods that businesses can use to promote their services and attract new customers, or to reinforce public awareness of the business services.

From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Monte de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Monte de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.
From left Maru Ayala, Ana Maria Montes de Oca, Leticia Alonzo, Martha Gonzales, Gabriela Cadrano, Claudia Montanez and Christopher Montes de Oca pose after the chamber meeting.

 

You can view a video of the meeting posted on NewCiceroTV.com by using the widget below or by clicking this link to view the video of the Cicero Chamber conference meeting seminar.


 

All of the newspapers provide Spanish and English news and feature reporting and provide support for advertising needs to the local businesses.

Ashmar Mandou, managing editor of the Lawndale News newspaper, praised the Cicero Chamber for organizing the meeting, and she described the services that the Lawndale News newspaper provides.

“We are a hybrid-local publication with boots-on-the-ground reporting,” Mandou said. “We report on everything from education, entrepreneurship, cultural events and our aim is to change the narrative of the Hispanic community in Cook County and across the region.”

Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Ashmar Mandou Managing Editor of the Lawndale News newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

La Nueva Semana Newspaper publisher Leticia Alonzo addressed the audience in Spanish and in English, and discussed how her newspaper works with businesses to provide both traditional news coverage and advertising support along with online social media support.

“Our newspaper is a bi-lingual, weekly newspaper covering Cook County, Kane County and including in the Milwaukee region,” Alonzo said.

Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Leticia Alonzo of the La Nueva Semana Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

“We believe in traditional marketing but we also have our whole edition bi-lingual online.”

Christopher Montes de Oca, marketing manager of El Dia newspaper, noted the family-run, free bi-lingual, weekly newspaper was established in 1995 by his parents and publishes about 10,000 issues each week distributed on Fridays.

“Studies show that 39 percent of people recall the ads they see in local newspapers. If you don’t advertise your business in a newspaper is like placing a business without a sign,” Christopher Montes de Oca said.

“Your advertisements in the newspaper will be posted online and on our website free of charge.”

Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Christopher Monte de Oca of El Dia Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Monte de Oca pointed out that supporting local newspapers like El Dia helps to keep revenues and the economic benefits remain in the community for the benefit of the community. He noted that chamber members will get a special discount for advertising in their newspaper.

Gabriella Cadrano and Martha Gonzales addressed the Chamber members next and discussed in Spanish and English the benefits that their newspaper, La Prensa, offers. A bi-weekly newspaper, it covers Cicero, Berwyn and Melrose Park.

“We provide coverage not only in our newspaper but also online, which appeals to growing audience of consumers who are young,” Candrano explained. “We have more than one million visitors online each month. We offer cost and design in providing our advertising. We bring it to life and we want to help your business grow.”

Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Gabriela Cardano editor of La Prensa Newspaper addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

In other business, Maru Ayala discussed a new service of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce to assist businesses that want to organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or a re-grand opening.

“Every business can organize a ribbon cutting, grand opening or even a re-grand opening to promote their business and both the Cicero Chamber of Commerce and the Town of Cicero want to help,” Ayalay explained to attendees.

Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Chamber Grand Opening and Business Support Liaison Maru Ayala addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Ayala said the chamber charges $175 to help organize two ribbon cuttings/grand opening events each month that receive wide ranging coverage. The events are covered by Cicero Channel 6 TV which is broadcasts 24/7 on Channel 6 Comcast TV, and by the Town of Cicero Newsletter which is distributed to every home. Additionally, local news media, including many of the publications attending the panel discussion, will run press releases to help promote the event. And, businesses will receive an impressive plaque with scissors and data embossed into the plaque memorializing the event that is then presented as a gift to the business to showcase on their wall for their customer.

“It’s a very effective way to announce the grand opening of a new business, or to remind the public that your business is here and about the services that you offer.”

Ayala urged residents to reach out to her through the contact page on the Cicero Chamber of Commerce website.

Ray Hanania, who is serving as the interim organizer for the Chamber, also announced that the chamber will host a Job Fair on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 from 10 am through 3 pm in which businesses can host a table for free — at no cost — and meet residents and members of the public who are seeking employment.

“This is a good way for businesses to meet individuals who could be future employees or who could fill employment vacancies,” Hanania said.

Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.
Cicero spokesman Ray Hanania addresses the Cicero Chamber of Commerce at a panel discussion on Wednesday Feb. 26, 2020 featuring editors of the local community news media.

 

Click here to view the video of the Community Media event or use the widget below:


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Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish

Press Release: Chamber offers program to help businesses with State Programs

Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming. Spanish
Chamber meeting Jan. 29, 2020 on State Programming.

 

ENGLISH VERSION

State Programs to Assist businesses

Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity.

The Town of Cicero, and State Rep. Lisa Hernandez will join the Cicero Chamber of Commerce in hosting a meeting on Wednesday, January 29, 2020 at the Cicero Community Center, 2250 S. 49th Avenue, beginning at 5 pm to discuss programs that the State of Illinois offers to the business community.

Our Guest Speaker will be Manuel (Manny) Lopez, the Regional Economic Development Manager of the Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity. He will discuss programs and services from the State of Illinois that are available to local businesses.

Lopez will also be joined by Joe McKeown from team RED, and Pedro Pineda from the CMS (Central Management Office) will also be accompanying addressing the meeting. Pineda speaks about the BEP (Business Enterprise Program) and the certification process and how it could be a benefit to small business owners.

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

“I’ve been with the state for 12 years. I started with Department of Human Services as a caseworker for 5 years then got promoted to CMS Department of Examining and Counseling where I worked for 4 and a half years and then moved to CMS Business Enterprise Program since 2018 where I’ve worked as the Outreach Coordinator. I graduated from Loyola University with a BA and attended Lewis University where I obtained my MBA. Long time South Side resident,” Pineda said.

Business License Director and Cicero Chaplain Ismael Vargas will also be present to answer questions about Cicero business requirements and needs at both meetings.

We will have guest speakers from the state of Illinois and the Illinois Legislature who will discuss how businesses can tap resources at the state level to achieve their business goals.

Watch for more details on this program which is free to our business members. Make sure to fill out the online membership form (free) so that you will be kept up to date about all of the Cicero Chamber of Commerce’s events.

Members must send an email and RSVP in order to attend the meetings. There is limited seating but we will try to accommodate all of the Chamber members. Please let us know if you will be attending by sending an email noting the meeting date and topic.

For more information visit the Chamber’s website at www.CiceroChamberOfCommerce.com

SPANISH VERSION

Cícero anuncia programas de ayuda financiera para negocios

Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de Desarrollo Económico Regional del Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois, será el orador invitado en una presentación especial

El municipio de Cícero y la Representante estatal Lisa Hernández (D-24) se unieron a la ‘Cámara de Comercio de Cícero’ para realizar una reunión en que serán presentados y discutidos los diversos programas de ayuda financiera estatal que Illinois ofrece a los comerciantes y dueños de negocios. El seminario será el Miércoles 29 de enero de 2020, a las 5 de la tarde, en la Casa Comunal de Cícero (Cícero Community Center), 2250 S. 49th Avenue.

El orador invitado será Manuel (Manny) López, Administrador de la oficina de Desarrollo Económico Regional del ‘Departamento de Comercio y Oportunidades Financieras de Illinois’ quien hablará sobre los diversos programas y servicios financieros que Illinois ofrece a todos los negocios locales.

Entre tanto, el Director de Licencias Comerciales y Capellán de Cícero, Ismael Vargas, también estará listo en la reunión, para responder cualquier pregunta o inquietud sobre los requisitos de negocios en el municipio.

Así mismo, habrá panelistas invitados del estado de Illinois y de la Legislatura estatal que explicarán a los comerciantes la mejor manera de solicitar y aprovechar los recursos estatales disponibles que les ayudarán a lograr sus metas financieras comerciales.

Pedimos que estén pendientes de otros detalles sobre este útil programa, ofrecido totalmente GRATIS a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Si desea convertirse en miembro y participar en los seminarios para aprovechar estos programas, asegúrese de llenar los formularios de membresía ofrecidos también GRATUITAMENTE en nuestro portal electrónico, en donde además le mantendremos al tanto de los futuros, informativos e interesantes eventos que estará organizando periódicamente la Cámara de Comercio de Cícero / Cicero Chamber of Commerce.

Los comerciantes miembros que planean asistir al evento, deben enviar un correo electrónico y responder a una reservación (RSVP). El cupo es limitado pero trataremos de acomodar a todos los miembros de la Cámara de Comercio que deseen participar. Por favor, si planea ser parte del seminario, envíe un correo electrónico dejando su nombre, el nombre de su negocio, además de la fecha y el tema del evento que le interesa.

Para más información visite  nuestro portal de Internet:

www.CiceroChamberofCommerce.com.

SPEAKER BIO

Manny Lopez is the Regional Economic Development Manager for Cook County. As the newest member to join Team RED (Regional Economic Development) at DCEO, Manny helps businesses, communities, and workers learn about different State resources that are available to assist them.

Prior to joining team RED, Manny has worked in many different fields that included customer service and sales & operations. These roles have been spread over a career in companies that included Comcast, Colorado Technical University, and Enova Financial.  A proud United States Navy veteran, Manny has served in Hawaii, the Persian Gulf and even lived in South Korea for two years.

Manny earned his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration with a concentration on marketing from DeVry University. He is a family man who loves spending time with his children and is dedicated to helping people thrive in their everyday life.

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New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting”

More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

New Cicero Chamber of Commerce hosts “Launch Meeting” & Video

The Cicero Chamber of Commerce held its “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant and it was a tremendous success.

More than 44 businesses attended the meeting, enjoyed the buffet dinner and participated in a discussion with representatives from the Town of Cicero, the Cicero Police Department and the Director of the Cicero Business License Department, Ismael Vargas.

The program included presentations by several officials that included: Mathew Ramirez, Cicero’s Captain of Police, who discussed new innovative ways to contact the police; Cicero Detective Edgar Alba who spoke about safety issues for businesses, cautioning them to watch out for a new crime that is occurring more and more in suburban communities throughout the Chicagoland area, the theft of ATM Machines; Business License Department Director Ismael Vargas spoke about what his department can do to help Cicero businesses and discussed some of the procedures and typical questions that businesses, new and old, have; Town President Larry Dominick also addressed the Chamber meeting, telling the business leaders that the Town of Cicero is there to help them be successful; and, State Representative Lisa Hernandez discussed programs the state can offer to help new businesses.

Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce "Launch Meeting" on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
Town President Larry Dominick greeted each of the businesses that attended the Cicero Chamber of Commerce “Launch Meeting” on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

“I want to thank all of the businesses that are here. It’s important to me that you showed up and are concerned. Make sure you stay active. Don’t make this a one time thing,” President Dominick said in welcoming the attendees.

“Our town is only as good as the businesses. We always extend a hand to the businesses. We ask that you follow the rules and if you follow the rules we treat you all the same. I believe in treating everyone fairly.”

Dominick also noted how safe Cicero has become in the past 14 years since his election as Town President in 2005, pointing out that the number of street gang killings have dropped significantly from when he took office, graffiti vandalism has decreased significantly, too, and more businesses have relocated to Cicero.

Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.
Cicero Captain of Police Mathew Ramirez discussed new ways for business owners to stay in contact with police and to provide information about potential crimes anonymously and online.

 

Officer Ramirez spoke about the new innovations that the Police are using to support businesses. Ramirez, who is the assistant Watch Commander working.

“We have new systems to help you as a business. One of them is online reporting. Essentially the Cicero Police Department has come up with a way to file reports online to make things easier for you,” Ramirez said. “It is there for you, 24/7. It will expedite your reporting as well.”

Ramirez said the Cicero Police also maintain a new tip line called Tip411, another way to communicate with thePolice. “You can remain anonymous. You can send us a text and we will send a police car to check out the area and the problem. Send a text to 847411,” Ramirez said.

Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.
Cicero Police Detectir Edgar Alba discusses a growing crime trend in the Chicagoland suburbs involving the theft of ATM machines from businesses.

 

Detective Edgar discussed a new problem involving criminals who are breaking into businesses and stealing the ATM machines which dispense money.

“They are very light and they are often not bolted down,” Alba said.

Alba explained the ATM thefts are being targeted by a ring of individuals who are using stolen vehicles.

“We believe that 30 to 40people are involved in there rings. It’s not just in Cicero, we are partnering with Police agencies in all of the Western suburbs,” Alba said. He said that the criminals will check the ATM during store hours, often pushing or shaking the machines to see if they are loose.

“They then come back after the store closes,” Alba said. “If you have any suspicions about this, please feel free to give us a call.”

Business License Director Ismael Vargas

 

Vargas said his priority is to help the businesses and assist them in meeting the Town’s business requirements.

“I think the main goal as President Dominick has explained is to bring the businesses together so we can work together to make changes that benefits all of us,” Vargas said.

“You are one of the most important pieces in our community to help the youth, to help our schools. You bring jobs. You are a part of the community. This chamber is an opportunity for you as a business owner. My Department wants to be here to care for and work with you. We are there to serve you.”

Vargas also credited President Dominick and the Cicero Police who have helped to make Cicero one of the safest communities in the state. He said that as a result of the increased safety in Cicero, 2,400 new small businesses have opened in the Town of Cicero since 2015.

Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.
Business attendees enjoy the food buffet served by Langostinos Restaurant, 3036 S. Laramie Avenue.

 

Langostinos served a fish buffet to the attendees and the groups spent several hours afterwards networking and meeting each other.

Town Spokesman Ray Hanania ended the meeting explaining that the new Chamber will receive strong support from the Town to organize new programs including organizing job fairs each year and helping to promote and publicize the businesses through the monthly Town Newsletter, a new Chamber eNewsletter, the Chamber website, and through activities such as organizing “Grand Openings” and “Ribbon Cuttings.”

“If you have business, even if you have been here 20 years or more, there is nothing wrong with having a re-Grand Opening, we will cover it, we will take pictures, video and help you publicize your presence in this Town,” Hanania said.

More than 43 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.
More than 44 businesses attended the launch meeting of the new Cicero Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019.

 

Hanania introduced Maru Ayala who supervises the Grand Openings and Ribbon Cuttings.

“We want people to know that you are here and we want to help you grow your business,” Ayala said.

Also attending the evening event were Senior Center Director Diana Dominick, Cicero Clerk Maria Punzo-Arias, and several members of the Cicero Business License Department.

State Rep. Lisa Hernandez told the attendees she is working with the Town to ensure that any state services available to businesses will be made available to Cicero businesses.

Future meetings will address many topics including parking issues, the benefits of TIF districts, speakers who can help the businesses do better customer outreach, and more.

Watch the video of the meeting using the widget below or click this link to see it online.


More photos:

Attendees at Cicero Chamber of Commerce Launch Meeting Wednesday Nov. 20, 2019 at Langostinos Restaurant