COVID-19 Reopening Plan

  • Bertino-Tarrant shares guidelines for in-person learning to resume

    classroom 062320PLAINFIELD — As the number of COVID-19 cases continues to steadily decrease, schools across the state have the green light to reopen this fall, but not without following a set of guidelines, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) highlighted Tuesday. 

    “Teachers, parents and students have done a great job adjusting to a situation they never expected to find themselves in,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “However, nothing compares to the positive impact of in-person learning.”

     

  • Driver services facilities to open in June for new drivers and renewals

    sosfacility3 051820DES PLAINES – To begin to address the volume of expired vehicle registrations, driver’s licenses and ID cards in Illinois, the Illinois Secretary of State will open driver services facilities with limited service beginning June 1, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) announced Tuesday.

    “Closing driver services facilities was necessary to protect workers and customers from the spread of COVID-19,” said Murphy. “Expiration dates have been extended, so you have plenty of time to renew, but I’m glad to see these offices reopening for service now that the curve is flattening.”

    All Secretary of State departments and offices will reopen for business starting June 1. Driver services facilities across the state will reopen the first week of June with expanded hours of operation. Through July 31, these facilities will only serve new drivers, customers with expired driver’s licenses and ID cards, and vehicle transactions. Find nearby locations, opening dates and hours using the Secretary of State’s Facility Finder tool.

    To ensure current documents remain valid and lessen the rush of customers when these facilities open, the Secretary of State has extended expiration dates for driver’s licenses, IDs and vehicle registrations by at least 90 days after the governor’s disaster proclamation ends. The federal deadline to obtain a REAL ID has also been extended to October 1, 2021.

    Residents are still encouraged to visit www.cyberdriveillinois.com to avoid waiting in line and take advantage of online services, including replacements and renewals of registrations, driver’s licenses and ID cards.

  • Bennett outlines plan to reopen child care in Illinois

    bennett floor 052220CHAMPAIGN - State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is confident in the state’s cautious approach to reopen child care centers when the Central Region enters phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan, likely next week.

    “As businesses begin reopening and Illinoisans prepare to return to work, child care is a top priority for many families,” Bennett said. “The availability of child care that enables them to go to work is crucial. New guidelines have been put in place for child care centers to plan and prepare for a safe reopening.”

    The Stay at Home Order issued on March 20 and amended on April 20 closed all child care programs, later establishing an emergency childcare structure to provide care for essential workers.

    Under phase 3 and 4 of the governor’s reopening plan, all child care facilities will be able to open, as long as they create their own reopening plan that keeps both children and staff safe and healthy, and adhere to the guidelines set by the Illinois Department of Public Health.

    That plan must include what to do if a child or staff member tests positive for COVID-19, daily symptom checks and a face covering requirement, among other things.

    Under the governor’s plan, no more than 10 children will be allowed in a classroom at a time for four weeks. After that, if the center has met proper health, social distancing and sanitation requirements, it will be able to expand to larger group sizes.

    Additionally, child care programs that have been open since the start of the Stay at Home Order will be allowed expand capacity as their region enters phase three.

    “Reopening child care centers will not only relieve parents when they return to work, but it will also give children access to educational resources in a safe learning environment,” Bennett said.

     

    All regions of the state are on track to move to the next phase as early as May 29.

  • Harris pleased Illinois dentists will be able to practice again

    harris 041420DOLTON – State Senator Napoleon Harris, III (D-Harvey) is pleased to learn the Illinois Department of Public Health has updated its guidance on allowing dental providers to resume routine oral and dental care beginning this week.

    “Being on a Stay At Home Order for nearly two months may have resulted in many people needing oral care,” Harris said. “IDPH allowing dentist’s office to reopen for routine care is a step forward and shows understanding that oral treatment is an essential service.”  

    IDPH says to yield good procedural outcomes, oral health providers should consider their patient's health care needs, assess the risks and benefits of any procedures, and appropriately screen patients for COVID-19. Patients will need to be symptom free and have their temperature taken. Dentists will need to address their use of masks, face guards, and suction devices.

    “Dental offices will have to follow health guidelines by providing their employees with PPE,” Harris said. “It’s important necessary precautions are taken into account for the patient and employee before dental offices reopen their doors.”  

    Dentists gave up their PPE in the early days of the pandemic for hospitals, first responders and nursing homes. Now they have difficulty getting what they need to resume dental care. 

    “Patients have been waiting to get back to their dentists and, even though now we have the green light from the IDPH, we are in need of PPE to meet their guidelines,” said Dave Marsh, Director of Governmental Affairs with the Illinois State Dental Society. “Of course, we recognize the highest priorities for PPE in health care settings, but we will be seeking a higher priority for masks and face shields for our profession.”

    More details from IDPH are here.

  • Senator Fine highlights new health and safety guidelines to help businesses reopen responsibly

    biz reopen 051520GLENVIEW – To protect employees and consumers from the spread of COVID-19 as businesses begin reopening, State Senator Laura Fine (D-Glenview) is calling attention to new guidelines to help employers ensure their workplaces and businesses are safe.

    “As businesses across the state begin to reopen, it’s important that people are able to work and shop without putting their health and safety at risk,” said Fine. “By following these guidelines, employers can be certain they’re operating responsibly.”

    At the end of April, Gov. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-32 to provide specific regulations for businesses and workplaces. All employers with workers physically reporting to a worksite must post this guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency. 

    As businesses begin to reopen, employers will be required to provide face masks for employees who are unable to adhere to social distancing requirements. Businesses must also observe other measures, like limiting occupancy and staggering shifts to ensure workers can maintain six feet of social distancing.

    Other requirements and guidelines for employers to help limit the spread of COVID-19 can be found in this FAQ, issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    If your place of work is not adhering to these new guidelines, please report violations to a certified local health department or IDPH. The Office of the Illinois Attorney General is also accepting complaints through their Workplace Rights Bureau at 844-740-5076 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Up-to-date information and resources related to the status of COVID-19 in Illinois can be found at coronavirus.illinois.gov. Fine’s office is currently closed, but her staff is working remotely and responding to calls and emails. With questions or concerns, call 847-998-1717 or visit senatorfine.com/contact.

  • Bertino-Tarrant wants to see Will County removed from Cook County’s region in reopen plan

    reopen map 051120PLAINFIELD—State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) and her colleagues from Will County have expressed uneasiness their part of the state could have a delayed reopening. Under the governor’s plan, Will County is in the same region as Cook County, which has unique challenges and should be addressed separately.

    “Families and businesses are struggling. Most people I speak with understand the need for caution, but are prepared to work under new safety precautions,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “If my district stayed in the same region as Chicago and Cook County, it would most likely be the last part of the state to open.”

    Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) is among those expressing their concerns.

    "I think there's a way to balance public health and the reopening of many businesses but it will take the cooperation of the community,” Manley said. “The last thing we want is to crush the hospital system and endanger the health and safety of our first responders"   

    As of Thursday, Will County had 4,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 230 deaths. In comparison, Cook County had over 24,000 positive cases and 1,100 deaths. Furthermore, with social distancing at the forefront of keeping the virus asunder, Will County’s population compared to Chicago’s population as well as square miles clearly shows distinct differences between the two areas.

    Bertino-Tarrant is starting a discussion with the Will County Health Department to address the needs of local communities to be prepared if the governor adjusts the reopening plan based on the county’s ability to offer alternatives.

    “Any plan needs to address safety guidelines, hospital and ventilator capacities and PPE availability. Furthermore, it needs to be led by the Will County Health Department, who has the responsibility of monitoring and reporting,” Bertino-Tarrant offered. “The legislators I have spoken to understand the needs to have a reasonable balance, with individual health concerns being the number one priority.”

    Rep. John Connor (D-Lockport) will work with Bertino-Tarrant and the Will County Health Department in hopes of gathering as much information as possible to determine if the area is ready to go to the next phase.

    "I look forward to reviewing the relevant data with the Will County Health Department and other agencies to determine if Will County's current district placement is the best possible fit moving forward in this pandemic,” Connor said.

    Additionally, fewer than 700,000 people make up Will County, compared to the more than 5.15 million people who live in Cook County.

    "Governor Pritzker is right that one must have a life to have a livelihood,” said Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill). “If local health departments have suggestions how residents of COVID-19 low-incidence areas safely can have both, I hope the governor will consider them."

  • As businesses reopen, Murphy reminds employers of health and safety guidelines

    reopen barber 051420DES PLAINES – As some businesses prepare to reopen during the modified Stay at Home Order, State Senator Laura Murphy (D-Des Plaines) seeks to protect employees and consumers by highlighting new employee safety measures intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.

    “It’s great to see business able to reopen, but as we begin that process, we must keep health and safety in mind,” said Murphy. “These simple guidelines are vitally important for protecting employers, employees and shoppers from the spread of COVID-19.”

    At the end of April, Gov. Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-32 to provide specific regulations for businesses and workplaces. All employers with workers physically reporting to a worksite must post this guidance from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and the Office of the Illinois Attorney General regarding workplace safety during the COVID-19 emergency. 

    As businesses begin to reopen, employers will be required to provide face masks for employees who are unable to adhere to social distancing requirements. Businesses must also observe other measures, like limiting occupancy and staggering shifts to ensure workers can maintain six feet of social distancing.

    Other requirements and guidelines for employers to help limit the spread of COVID-19 can be found in this FAQ, issued by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.

    If your place of work is not adhering to these new guidelines, please report violations to a certified local health department or IDPH. The Office of the Illinois Attorney General is also accepting complaints through their Workplace Rights Bureau at 844-740-5076 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

    Up-to-date information and resources related to the status of COVID-19 in Illinois can be found at coronavirus.illinois.gov. Murphy’s office is currently closed, but her staff is working remotely and responding to calls and emails. With questions or concerns, call 847-718-1110 or visit senatorlauramurphy.com/contact-us.

  • Lightford, Castro talk session, reopening on Chicago Tonight

    lightford castro wttw 0511420

  • Joyce calls on governor to redefine reopening regions

    reopen map 051120Park Forest — In a letter sent earlier today, State Senator Patrick Joyce (D-Essex) called on the governor to move Kankakee and Grundy Counties into another region in his COVID-19 reopening plan.

    “Kankakee and Grundy Counties are largely rural, with very few large towns and much smaller cities,” Joyce said. “Not many people live in Kankakee and commute to Chicago. They don’t need to wait until Chicago and Cook County’s COVID-19 numbers go down before reopening.”

    Joyce’s letter emphasized that Grundy County has a population of approximately 50,000 and that residents of both counties lead more similar lives to the more rural counties around them than to Cook and the collar counties.

    “I also represent suburban Cook County, and I understand why those communities are in the same region as Chicago. They’re in the same county,” Joyce said. “For Kankakee and Grundy Counties, it just doesn’t make sense.”

    Even before the governor announced his reopening plan, Joyce called for more local control over the reopening process. For example, he joined several of his colleagues in petitioning the governor to grant local health departments the authority to allow small local retailers to reopen with the same restrictions as big box stores.

    “Our reopening plans have to be based on the best advice of medical professionals and scientists. The governor and I agree on that point,” Joyce said. “However, for the sake of people’s mental and financial health, I don’t think any community should stay closed longer than absolutely necessary.”

    In the letter, Joyce also encouraged the governor to allow Will County to be its own region. Joyce represents a small, rural portion of Will County.