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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.  

Region 9 is currently operating under Phase 4 Guidelines.

The Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Region 9 (Lake and McHenry Counties) advanced to Phase 4 effective immediately on February 3, 2021. In Region 9, the seven-day rolling average remained below 6.5% for three consecutive days, and metrics regarding hospitalizations and ICU capacity were met.
The Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity issued Phase 4 guidelines. DCEO also provides information for each sector.

 Click here to view the latest metrics for Region 9. Click here to view the full Tier 2 FAQ from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

Updated Guidance: The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has released updated guidance regarding Phase 4 and Mitigation Tiers:

Regions that effectively manage the spread of COVID-19 may return back to Phase 4. Click here to view an overview of Phase 4.
Click here for detailed information about the tiered mitigations

April 1: The City of Highland Park and the Village of Deerfield are collaborating to offer a COVID-19 vaccination point of dispensing (POD) for food service workers who work in Highland Park or Deerfield, including employees of full-service, counter-service, and carryout dining establishments. Beginning April 1, 2021, the City will work with Highland Park restaurant and property owners to facilitate vaccination scheduling for interested workers. Learn more.

Business Town Hall Meeting (February 24, 2021)
On February 24, 2021, Mayor Rotering, Councilman Knobel, City Manager Neukirch,  and City staff met with small business owners to discuss the impact of the pandemic, present the findings of a recent survey of business owners, and review the City's business assistance initiatives. As business owners begin to plan for the post-pandemic climate, the City appreciated the chance to hear feedback and identify opportunities to further collaborate with business owners to promote Highland Park's shops, restaurants, fitness and service businesses.

Meeting Notes
Business Survey Results

At the Monday, March 15 City Council Meeting, Assistant City Manager Rob Sabo presented a comprehensive summary of the City's business development activities during 2020, including an overview of financial assistance, expanded permits, and marketing support, as well as the results of a survey of business owners.

The City will continue to communicate updates with business owners through the weekly Business Development eNewsletter. Feedback from residents and business owners is always welcome, and may be directed to Business Development Manager Carolyn Hersch at

New: Second Round of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) (Dec. 30, 2020)
  • $2,000,000 Max Loan Amount
How to determine Loan Amount:
  • 2.5x’s average monthly Payroll costs for Business
  • 3.5x’s average monthly Payroll costs for Food Service & Hotels
Eligible Entities:
  • Employ not more than 300 employees
  • Have used or will use the full amount of their first PPP Loan
  • Demonstrate at least a 25 percent reduction in gross receipts in the first, second, or third quarter of 2020 relative to the same 2019 quarter. Provides applicable timelines for businesses that were not in operation in Q1, Q2, Q3, and Q4 of 2019. Applications submitted on or after January 1, 2021 are eligible to utilize the gross receipts from the fourth quarter of 2020.
  • Accommodation and food services operations with a NAICS codes starting with 72 and fewer than 300 employees per physical location
  • Must be businesses, certain non-profit organizations, housing cooperatives, veterans’ organizations, tribal businesses, self-employed individuals, sole proprietors, independent contractors, and small agricultural co-operatives
Ineligible Entities:
  • Public Traded Companies
  • Entities that receive a grant under the Shuttered Venue Operator Grants

New: City Waives and Defers 2021 Business Registration & Certain License Fees (Nov. 23 , 2020)

The City of Highland Park (City) will eliminate and defer certain business fees in an effort to provide relief to small businesses that have sustained significant economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic. To provide direct financial assistance to businesses, the following measures will be implemented:

  • Waiver of 2021 business registration fees for qualifying businesses occupying 7,000 square feet or less, valued at approximately $30,000
  • Waiver of 2021 restaurant licenses, valued at approximately $11,000
  • Waiver of 50% of 2021 liquor license fees for Highland Park restaurants and hotels, and deferred payment of the balance until June 30, 2021 valued at approximately $69,000
City staff will contact business owners who have already submitted payment for the above fees to coordinate reimbursement. Click here to learn more

New: 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 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


Resources for Reopening

Tier 3 Mitigations & State of IL Restrictions

City of Highland Park Meetings for Business Owners

Business Development eNews: Special COVID-19 Editions

Meetings, 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