Virtual meetings became an essential part of business and personal life since the start of the pandemic. Whether you are attending a large networking event, interviewing for a job, or working with others within your company, it’s worth investing a little time to improve the appearance and efficiency of your Zoom use.
While almost every business sector has faced disruption during the pandemic, the event industry is certainly among the hardest hit. Conferences, weddings, and mitzvah celebrations were not only put on hold during the early phases of the pandemic; the very nature of social events makes it impossible to know when regular business will be able to resume.
The next phase of Illinois’s process of reopening relaxes some standards for business operations, while maintaining policies for social distancing and other prevention strategies. Industry-specific guidelines are detailed in the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s online resources.
As the state enters Phase 4, the Chamber will offer limited office hours beginning Monday, July 6. At least one staff member will be onsite Monday-Thursday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to help with Certificates of Origin, Community Guide distribution, or other in-person needs.
Letter from the Board Chair Bob Caldwell
The month of June has been filled with an array of emotions. The senseless killing of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, and Rayshard Brooks set off waves of shock, anger, and frustration that transcended the Black community and awakened widespread awareness of the depth of systemic racism in our nation.
Pursuant to legislation passed in 2019, the next scheduled increase in the Illinois minimum wage will go into effect on July 1. Statewide, the new rate for non-tipped employees will be $10/hour and $6/hour for tipped employees.
The Illinois Department of Human Rights (IDHR) recently released a model training program to help workers understand their rights and responsibilities regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. Under a law passed in late 2019, all employers are required to provide training on sexual harassment no later than the end of this year, and on an annual basis afterward. Employers may implement the IDHR model program or develop their own program that meets or exceeds its standards.
The shutdown hit many local nonprofit organizations on multiple levels: not only preventing them from delivering their usual programs and services, but also causing the cancellation of vital fundraising events. Charitable service agencies have had to be nimble and innovative to overcome those obstacles, using technology to keep members and supporters engaged.
Northbrook’s Board of Trustees has approved a $250,000 program to help small restaurants, retailers, and personal service businesses offset the costs of reopening. The Making Northbrook Stronger initiative allows eligible businesses to be reimbursed up to $2000 for purchases of PPE, signage, plexiglass shields, and other expenses directly related to COVID-19 prevention. Applications for grants are expected to be available soon; the Chamber will share links to the forms as soon as they are posted.
As we move into June, there is a sense of cautious optimism in the air. Many of our member businesses have been busy over the last two weeks preparing to reopen after a long shutdown, or to expand the ways they serve customers.