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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 Tier 2 mitigations.

January 18, 2021: On January 18, 2021, the Illinois Department of Public Health announced that Region 9 (Lake and McHenry Counties) met the requirements necessary to move to Tier 2 of resurgence mitigations. The chart below from the Governor's office highlights the primary differences between the three tiers. Most notably, in Tier 2 recreational activities are now allowed the lesser of 25 guests or 25% of overall capacity both indoors and outdoors, including sports. In order to move to Tier 1 mitigations, a region must meet test positivity and hospital capacity metrics. We are headed in the right direction! Let's keep moving forward by practicing the 3 Ws: wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands. 
Tier Comparison Chart
Use this summary of mitigation restrictions currently in effect to help make decisions for the safety of your family, first responders, healthcare workers, and frontline workers.


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