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Information for Local Businesses

The City is committed to supporting local businesses during this time, understanding that our small business owners are making great sacrifices to support city- and statewide measures to protect public health. This page consolidates information about resources available to businesses and compiles in one place the information the City is sharing regularly with our business community. To receive these updates in your inbox, please sign up for our Business Development eNews.  

Financial Aid for Retailers and Restaurants Grant Program

The City of Highland Park has announced a new matching grant program to assist small businesses in weathering the economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic in light of challenges posed by winter weather and a resurgence of COVID-19. The Financial Assistance for Retailers and Restaurants (FARR) Grant Program designates $255,000 in funding to support COVID-19-related operational costs incurred by restaurants and retail establishments to provide for a safe environment for customers and staff in compliance with state and federal public health guidelines. The new program will accept applications beginning today, Tuesday, October 27, from qualifying small businesses located and operating within a commercial building in Highland Park with a net worth of less than $2 million and generating less than an average of $200,000 in profit per year for two years after taxes. More information is available here

FARR Grant Program Application

City Hosts Restaurant Meeting
On Wednesday, September 16, the City of Highland Park hosted a virtual meeting for restaurants. City officials included Mayor Nancy Rotering, City Councilman Alyssa Knobel, City Manager Ghida Neukirch, Assistant City Manager Rob Sabo, and Community Development Director Joel Fontane, Business Development Manager Carolyn Hersch, Business Development Assistant Melissa Rosen, and Deputy City Clerk Ashley Palbitska. Jim Lederer, the owner of Bluegrass restaurant, co-chaired the meeting, focusing on the business operations segment of the meeting. Click here to learn more.

Phase 4 Reopening Update:

On Tuesday, August 25, Governor JB Pritzker announced a new, statewide face-covering requirement for patrons of restaurants and bars, including carryout or drive-thru customers. The new guidelines require patrons to wear face coverings when interacting with all restaurant or bar employees. These measures are effective Wednesday, August 26, 2020, and are aimed at protecting workers and slowing the spread of COVID-19. The new guidelines were developed in consultation with the Illinois Restaurant Association and other hospitality industry partners.
All restaurant and bar patrons must wear face coverings over their noses and mouths when interacting with restaurant employees, including:
  • placing orders; 
  • picking-up carryout orders, and;
  • when food and beverages are brought to the table or removed.
The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has released an updated toolkit to assist business owners in implementing these new guidelines. Signage announcing this requirement is available for download.
Governor Pritzker and Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, strongly urged all Illinoisans to be diligent in wearing face coverings, reiterating that data has shown that the use of face coverings helps to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

June 26, 2020: The State of Illinois has entered Phase 4. The State issued Phase 4 Guidelines for Reopening on June 22, 2020. An overview of changes from Phase 3 has also been released. More information is available on the City's Phase 4 Implementation page.

City of Highland Park Applications for Temporary Outdoor Expansion Permits

Winter Outdoor Dining Guidelines & Requirements

Temporary Outdoor Expansion for Restaurants, Retailers, and Service Businesses 
Temporary Outdoor Expansion for Fitness Classes 

Phase IV Temporary Sign Regulations

Outdoor Dining Areas

Tent & Generator Application

Business Town Hall Resources:
The City of Highland Park hosted a virtual Town Hall for businesses on Friday, May 22, at 8:00 AM. Access details are available on the agenda.  The recording and Q&A are now available. Please download the following materials referenced during the meeting: 

The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) launched its first round of Business Interruption Grants (BIG), which provided $60 million to businesses experiencing losses or business interruption as a result of COVID-19 related closures. The first round BIG Program was available to up to 3,500 Illinois businesses. DCEO accepted applications from June 26th to July 7th. Funds were distributed to qualifying businesses in early July. Learn more about BIG here.


Resources for Reopening

Business Development eNews: Special COVID-19 Editions

Upcoming Webinars & Archived Presentations

State of Illinois Relief for Small Businesses

Federal Relief for Small Businesses

Other Opportunities for Small Business Relief

Resources & Toolkits

Information for Employers