City of Chicago Business Affairs & Consumer Protection
In just the first few months of 2022, we have seen impactful changes take place in our great city. We awarded grants to over 2,000 small businesses and nonprofits through the Chi Biz Strong and Outdoor Dining Grant Programs, enhanced regulation of secondhand dealers and pawnbrokers to further protect against the purchase and sale of stolen cellphones and created the Food Equity Council to align efforts across the City as we work to foster an equitable food system through innovative urban agriculture programs. Initiatives such as these ensure that we are working towards a recovery that is neighborhood-based, equitable, and long-lasting.
We are now in the middle of National Consumer Protection Week, which is observed March 6-12 and designed to inform consumers of how to safely navigate the marketplace. Part of BACP’s consumer protection outreach is the comprehensive Be Informed. Be Protected. consumer protection campaign which provides Chicagoans with vital tips and resources on a wide array of topics most relevant to consumers.
I’m excited to announce that for the first time in Chicago, sidewalk signs are now allowed by obtaining a City permit. Street-front businesses can use sidewalk signs to advertise their business from the sidewalk, helping to draw in foot traffic and providing an important boost to revenue.
Additionally, nominations are now being accepted for the Taxicab Driver Excellence Award. The award highlights a taxicab driver who serves Chicago’s community of people with disabilities by driving a wheelchair accessible vehicle (WAV) taxicab and providing exemplary customer service to passengers. Use the nomination form to nominate before April 29. The winners will receive a free Chicago taxicab medallion.
Finally, as of February 28, the Chicago mask mandate and proof of vaccination requirement were lifted, signaling a new phase of the pandemic during which we will be using key COVID-19 metrics to make mitigation decisions. Additional public health information can be found in this newsletter. I want to thank Chicago’s business community for being committed to protecting the health of workers and residents.
The several exciting developments I’ve outlined above along with our many other ongoing efforts are realizing significant positive impact for the small business community. Information on current grant funding opportunities can be found in this newsletter, and I encourage business owners to review the eligibility criteria and apply. I look forward to continuing to see the positive work that you, our partners, engage in every day, and to see vibrancy and opportunity thrive in each one of our many neighborhoods.