Coronavirus

  • Sen. Patrick JoyceSPRINGFIELD – State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is encouraging restaurants, hotels and other small businesses across the state to take advantage of two new emergency assistance programs.

    “We need our small businesses to persevere, because they are so important to our local economies,” Joyce said. “These loan programs should help them weather this storm.”

  • closed signAurora, Ill. – Restaurants, hotels and other small businesses across the state are invited to take advantage of two new emergency assistance programs, Senate Assistant Majority Leader Linda Holmes (D-Aurora) announced today.

    “Small businesses are the backbone of our local economies, but the COVID-19 outbreak has hit many of them hard and even forced some to close,” Holmes said. “We must invest in stores, restaurants and hotels that make our communities unique.”

    To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for small businesses outside of Chicago. (Small businesses in Chicago can apply for a similar loan program here.)

    Businesses with fewer than 50 employees and less than $3 million in revenue in 2019 will be eligible to apply. Loan recipients will owe nothing for six months and will then begin making fixed payments at 3% interest for the remainder of a five-year loan term.

    Pritzker also announced the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program. The program offers $14 million in grants to restaurants, bars, hotels and other hospitality businesses to help them make ends meet during the COVID-19 crisis. It will provide up to $25,000 to eligible bars and restaurants and up to $50,000 for eligible hotels.

    Grant funds can be used to compensate employees and pay rent, or to support new practices like expanded pick-up, delivery and sanitation.

    “Our beautiful main streets and their shops and restaurants are vital for most of us every day. It’s heartbreaking to see them struggling during this outbreak,” said Holmes. “These programs may offer some help to small business owners and get them through this challenging time.”

    Applications to the Small Business Emergency Loan Fund will be available on the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website by Friday, March 27.

    The application period for the Hospitality Emergency Grant Program is open now and closes April 1 at 5 p.m. Businesses can find more information on the program here or apply here. A Spanish-language application is available here.

  • Sen. Bill CunninghamCHICAGO – State Senator Bill Cunningham is urging residents to file complaints with the Office of the Attorney General if they experience price-gouging, scams or other unfair practices related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

    “We all have a part to play in preventing bad actors from using this pandemic to exploit others,” said Cunningham, a Democrat who represents portions of Chicago and the southwest suburbs. “I encourage anyone who has information on price gouging or scams to report it to the Attorney General’s Office.”

  • Sen. Terry LinkINDIAN CREEK – Assistance for restaurants, hotels and other small businesses impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak is available through two new state programs, State Senator Terry Link (D-Indian Creek) announced Friday.

    “This pandemic is having major repercussions on our local businesses, many of which have had to close temporarily,” Link said. “It’s critical that our state finds ways to help them through this difficult time.”

    To provide assistance to struggling small business owners, Gov. JB Pritzker unveiled the Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund, a $60 million program that will support low-interest loans of up to $50,000 for sm​all businesses outside of Chicago.

  • Sen. Patrick JoycePARK FOREST -To assist local businesses impacted by the outbreak of COVID-19,  State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) is reminding residents of state and federal programs that may help business owners facing hardship.

    “Small local businesses are the heart and soul of our communities. We must support them during these trying times,” Joyce said. “There are a variety of disaster assistance programs available to help give our local businesses the support they desperately need.”

  • Senate President Don HarmonSPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon has canceled the Illinois Senate’s scheduled session days for next week. The 59-member Senate was scheduled to be at the Capitol on March 31 and April 1 and 2.

    Harmon informed Senate Democrats on a caucus conference call Wednesday, part of an ongoing effort to keep members and staff informed during the COVID-19 public health emergency. He said senators and staff continue to examine legislative and procedural priorities so that when the legislative session resumes, the Senate is prepared to act efficiently and effectively.

    “We are going to have to figure out what is critical and what is time-sensitive,” Harmon said.

  • Sen. Suzy Glowiak HiltonWESTERN SPRINGS – With local restaurants and other small businesses closing for COVID-19 State Senator Suzy Glowiak Hilton (D-Western Springs) is sharing resources that will provide economic relief.

    “I’m grateful to the many small business owners who closed to help protect public health,” Glowiak Hilton said. “They are sacrificing a lot right now, so we need to make sure that they have all the resources they need to stay afloat during these unprecedented and difficult times.”

  • Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD - Due to limitations on current in-person coursework, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is spreading awareness of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulations' deadline extension.

    "During this trying time, people should not be forced to worry about whether they will be able to renew their professional licenses on time," Bertino-Tarrant said. "I applaud the department for recognizing the struggles many Illinoisans will face due to the restrictions on in-person classes."

  • gogglesBUNKER HILL - To contend with a potentially dire shortage of personal protective equipment, State Senator Andy Manar (D-Bunker Hill) is asking Central Illinois residents to donate unused gear to their local health departments, hospitals, and first responders, or consider making hand-sewn masks for non-clinicians.

    "In times of crisis, unity creates community resilience," Manar said. "Now is the time to unite behind our medical personnel and first responders who are on the front line in the fight against COVID-19. Their PPE supply is dwindling, and without adequate gear, they cannot fully protect themselves or their patients."

  • Sen. Laura MurphySPRINGFIELD – To provide assistance to the many local restaurants and businesses who have closed their doors due to the outbreak of COVID-19, or the new coronavirus, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) is sharing information that might help these establishments survive this difficult period.

    “It’s heartbreaking to see so many businesses shuttered and so many working Illinoisans struggling. It’s important that we stop the spread of coronavirus, but the resulting loss of business has been devastating to our communities,” said Murphy. “It’s vital that we offer them resources to provide some help during this uncertain and challenging time.”

  • Sen. Scott BennettSPRINGFIELD - Reports of scams and price gouging have hit Illinois as COVID-19 continues its spread. In response, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is urging residents to file a complaint with the Office of the Attorney General to report unfair pricing and other unfair practices connected to the coronavirus outbreak.

    On Monday, Governor JB Pritzker issued an executive order prohibiting price gouging and giving Attorney General Kwame Raoul enforcement authority. The Office of the Attorney General is directing businesses to maintain fair pricing, particularly on items public health agencies are recommending people use to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

  • Sen. Patricia Van PeltCHICAGO – The outbreak of COVID-19 has led to school closures in Illinois, potentially leaving parents responsible for home-schooling their children through April. While families are making arrangements, State Senator Patricia Van Pelt is launching a career-focused art contest for students.

    Earlier this month, Governor J.B. Pritzker ordered all K-12 schools — both public and private — be closed from March 17 to April 7 (April 21 for Chicago Public Schools) to further safeguard communities from the spread of the virus.

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    It’s no longer “business as usual”—the coronavirus has disrupted many of our jobs, social lives and daily routines. For the sake of the health and safety of everyone in our communities, we must continue to follow the advice of our public health experts and do our part to help contain the virus.

    Stay at homeGov. Pritzker issued a ‘stay at home’ order for the State of Illinois beginning, March 21 at 5 p.m. until April 7.

    The executive order requires Illinoisans to practice a more rigorous form of social distancing, staying home as much as possible aside from meeting their basic needs. The order permits a range of essential activities, including but not limited to:

    • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional

    • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences

    • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds

    • Economic AssistanceFor certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations

    • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household

    While certainly an inconvenience, and a detriment to our economy, this measure could spare the lives of thousands of Illinoisans and is absolutely critical to the survival and stability of our hospitals.

    More information on Governor Pritzkter’s shelter in place order can be foundhere. For a list of frequently asked questions, click here.

    Please know despite rumors circulating online, Gov. Pritzker has emphasized that essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will never close.

    State agencies and local organizations are working tirelessly to make sure those affected by business and school closures are provided with help, support and relief. For more information on what assistance is offered, keep reading.

    Economic Assistance

    The Illinois Department of Employment Security is allowing workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.

    Sheriffs in Cook, Will and Lake Counties have suspended enforcing evictions for at least 30 days. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has issued a moratorium on evictions of single-family homes with federally insured mortgages for the next 60 days. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are also offering mortgage assistance.

    The Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.

    Resources for Students

    The Illinois State Board of Education is working to provide meals every day to all students, no questions asked. Grab-and-go meals are available statewide for students who need them, and some schools are even offering delivery. Contact your child’s school district for more information. For more updates and resouces, click here.

    Updates for Restaurants & Businesses

    RoadsDespite school and restaurant closures, Gov. Pritzker assures that essential services—including pharmacies, grocery stores and gas stations—will remain open. It’s a good idea to be prepared, but only buy what you really need. Hoarding supplies prevents others from accessing the basics. Experts recommend keeping on hand about what you need for two weeks at a time.

    All bars and restaurants are closed through April 7. Restaurants will have take-out, drive-thru and delivery options still available.

    Many grocery stores are offering special shopping hours for seniors.Residents can contact local stores for their specific hours.

    To provide some relief to local eateries during the coming weeks, Grubhub is suspending commissions and Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants. Some larger restaurants are offering free delivery. Many delivery services have introduced no- or low-contact delivery options.

    Utilities Support

    Ameren and ComEd are suspending any disconnections and waiving late payment fees. Other major utility companies, like People’s Gas and Nicor, are suspending disconnections as well.

    The Illinois Commerce Commission has banned utility service disconnections during the outbreak and has pledged to assess late fees through at least May 1. AT&T, Comcast, Spectrum, Viasat and others are offering accommodations to those in need of telecom services during the crisis.

    State Services

    The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation hasextended license expiration dates and continuing education deadlines.Licensees may complete continuing education requirements and other coursework online.

    The Office of the Illinois Attorney General encourages residents to file a complaint if they notice price gouging on essential items related to the coronavirus outbreak, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and protective gear.

    All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are closed to the public through March 31. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, vehicle registration and other transactions will be extended by 30 days. More information and some services are available online.

    All emergency food relief (SNAP), cash assistance (TANF) and medical (Medicaid eligibility) applications will continue to be availableonlineor by phone at 800-843-6154. Home Services & Vocational Rehab resources will remain available through DRS’ statewide network of counselors who will continue working remotely.

    For the most up-to-date information, please continue to check the governor's coronavirus response website found here.

    We will continue to send periodic updates. Rest assured that together, we will get through this trying time.

     


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  • Sen. Jennifer Bertino-TarrantSPRINGFIELD — If you begin to feel ill with symptoms that could be COVID-19, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is urging you to call your doctor’s office before going in.

    “If you go into the office without notice, you aren’t just potentially exposing yourself to COVID-19, you could be exposing others,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “In order to not spread the virus further, please call, so they can provide you with directions.”

  • Blood donationGRAYSLAKE – Blood banks are facing a sharp decrease in donation appointments around Lake County and the state. Outright cancellations of blood drives have also been occurring with more frequency due to COVID-19. In light of the increasing shortages, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is encouraging people to donate blood assuming they are willing and able.

    “If you are healthy and eligible to donate, your participation is critical to helping our healthcare system continue to operate,” Bush said. “We need blood donations to continue to treat illnesses like anemia, cancer, kidney and liver disease, or for surgeries that require a blood transfusion. The more we can produce positive health outcomes for patients, the more literal room we’ll create to address the coronavirus pandemic.”

  • food pantryGRAYSLAKE – In light of the current situation, State Senator Melinda Bush (D-Grayslake) is asking people to donate food to local food pantries to help address increased need.

    “With schools and businesses across the state closed, people have lost jobs or seen their incomes reduced. Some are now struggling to put food on the table,” Bush said. “Food pantries are struggling to keep up with higher demand and have no idea how long this will last, so it’s important that we help each other out during this troubling time.”

    Bush is urging people who are able to donate to local food pantries in northern Lake County.

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    SPRINGFIELD — Illinois Senate President Don Harmon canceled next week’s Senate session days as part of a public health effort to limit exposure and hopefully slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The Senate was scheduled to be at the Capitol next Tuesday through Friday, March 24-27.

    Senate President Don Harmon’s statement:

    “The Senate will not be in session next week. We remain in contact with members regarding legislative and scheduling priorities so that when we return to the Capitol we can act quickly and efficiently.

    For now, we are taking it day by day and urging everyone to heed the advice of health care professionals by practicing social distancing, regularly washing hands and avoiding unneeded travel.”

  • Vote-by-mail applicationSPRINGFIELD — As Illinois’ date to choose the nominees for a new U.S. president at the ballot box was on the horizon, the worry of low voter turnout due to the coronavirus pandemic loomed in the background.

    “Illinoisans had to choose between keeping themselves healthy or casting their vote,” State Senator Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest) said.

    That worry turned into a reality Tuesday, after some counties throughout the state saw turnouts 20% lower than during previous presidential primaries. In Sangamon County, the turnout was 22.2% — before counting mail-in ballots — compared to the 43.4% turnout in 2016.

  • Sen. Patrick JoycePARK FOREST - Due to the cancellation of blood drives around the state because of COVID-19, blood centers are facing a decrease in blood donations.

    “If you’re able to donate blood, please do so,” State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) said. “Our state and nation can’t afford a blood shortage during the coronavirus pandemic.”

    The American Red Cross Donor Center is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and taking every precaution to protect donors from contracting COVID-19 while donating blood. There is also no known risk of the safety of the nation’s blood supply, only the sufficiency of the supply at this time.

  • Sen. Scott BennettCHAMPAIGN – Blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives due to COVID-19. Under the circumstances, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging those willing and able to donate blood.

    “While our national attention is on the coronavirus, other health issues – like anemia, serious injuries, surgeries, and cancer patients that require blood – continue at pre-pandemic rates,” Bennett said. “If you are healthy and eligible, it is critical to donate now.”

    The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center is closely monitoring the outbreak of COVID-19 and has emphasized that individuals are not at risk of contracting COVID-19 from donating blood. There is also no known risk of the safety of the nation’s blood supply, only the adequacy of the supply at this time.