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Guidelines Section

Closures and reopenings

Note: Cities can set stricter standards and longer timelines for reopening. For example, and the city of Chicago is requiring visitors from certain states to have a negative COVID-19 test and/or quarantine for 14 days upon arrival, among other requirements.

Businesses

  • Restaurants – Allowed to reopen for indoor dining, with certain restrictions. Groups are limited to 10 people or less, and social distancing is still required. Patrons are required to wear masks except when seated for eating or drinking.
  • Bars – Allowed to reopen, with certain restrictions. Groups are limited to 10 people or less, and social distancing is still required. Patrons are required to wear masks except when seated for eating or drinking. To-go cocktail sales are now allowed.
  • Events that serve more than 50 people – Banned until Phase 5. Though larger gatherings are now allowed, social distancing and mask requirements remain in place.
  • Places of amusement – Many businesses are allowed to reopen, with strict capacity limits. However, amusement parks, trampoline parks, and indoor playgrounds must remain closed. Most establishments are limited to 50% of maximum capacity or 50 people, whichever is less. There are separate guidelines for museums, zoos, theaters, youth and recreational sports, and swimming pools and beaches.

Cultural sites

Education

  • K-12 schools – The State Board of Education and Illinois Board of Higher education have issued guidance for reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.
  • Colleges and universities –The State Board of Education and Illinois Board of Higher education have issued guidance for reopening for the 2020-2021 school year.

Government services

  • Driver services facilities – Any licenses or IDs that expire prior to May 31 have been automatically extended until June 1, 2021. Driver’s licenses for people 75 and older were automatically extended for one year. The federal government has also extended the deadline to begin requiring a REAL ID or passport to board a plane until October 1, 2021.
  • Family and Community Resource Centers – IDHS has closed some offices, so check your local office’s status before you go. Online applications will still be processed, and IDHS’s call center is still open: 1-800-843-6154.
  • Department of Rehabilitation Services local offices – IDHS has closed some offices, so check your local office’s status before you go. Online applications are still being accepted: DRS.illinois.gov/apply.
  • State prisons – State prisons have suspended in-person visits. In return, they’ve increased phone and video call privileges. Attorneys are still allowed to visit, but must be screened for COVID-19 first.
  • FOID cards and Concealed Carry Licenses - Firearms Owners Identification cards and Concealed Carry Licenses will automatically be extended during the disaster declaration as long as holders whose permits expire submit renewal applications.

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Health Resources Section

COVID-19 resources

  • Vaccination plan – IDPH’s vaccination plan is posted on its website. The current phase of distribution includes everyone age 65 and up, frontline essential workers, and people with qualifying medical conditions that put them at higher risk of complications. Those covered in previous phases may still get vaccinated. The vaccine will be available to everyone age 16 and older starting April 12.
  • Vaccination locations – Find where you can schedule an appointment to get a vaccination, if you’re eligible.
  • Testing sites – IDPH has created a list of sites that will provide COVID-19 tests outside of hospitals. Some are available to anyone showing symptoms, while others have additional requirements. Sites managed by IDPH are open to anyone, regardless of whether or not they’re showing symptoms.
  • Insurance questions – The IL Dept. of Insurance has created a web page to answer insurance questions. The attorney general’s office has also put together a guide on paid sick leave.
  • Guidance for people who can’t wear face coverings – The Illinois Department of Human Rights has put together guidance for businesses about how to handle face coverings, which may also help people in who can’t wear them for medical reasons understand their rights.
  • Reopening plan – Under the Bridge to Phase 5 plan, restrictions will gradually loosen until a sufficient portion of the population is vaccinated to allow life to go back to normal.

Other health-care resources

  • Telemedicine – The state has relaxed rules about the use of the telephone and video chat for the delivery of medical advice. Many, though not all, insurance providers must cover telehealth services, so check with your provider first if you aren’t sure of your provider’s policy.
  • Advice for people with kidney disease – The National Kidney Foundation has put together several resource pages for people with kidney disease, including dialysis patients. The American Kidney Fund is also raising funds for dialysis patients who can’t afford their treatments due to the crisis.
  • Cancer patient resources – The American Cancer Society has put together resources for cancer patients during this difficult time, including a 24-hour helpline at 800-227-2345.
  • Alzheimer’s and dementia resources – The Alzheimer’s Association has put together a guide to help people with Alzheimer’s or dementia and their families during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mental health resources

  • Mental health – The COVID-19 pandemic and associated financial stresses and isolation are challenging for many people. In addition to resources from the Illinois Department of Human Services, the National Alliance on Mental Illness – Illinois’ website also has links to local branches that can help people find more personalized assistance. They also operate a crisis helpline at 800-950-6264 and a suicide prevention line at 800-273-8255. If you believe a family member poses a threat to themselves or others, you can seek a firearms restraining order. Illinois Legal Aid Online has additional information.
  • Call4Calm emotional support text line – The Illinois Department of Human Services is operating a service to connect individuals struggling with the stress of COVID-19 and the Stay at Home Order with free, anonymous counselors. Text “TALK” to 552-020 (or “HABLAR” in Spanish).

Public Safety

  • Face coverings – Everyone over the age of 2 must wear face coverings in public location where maintaining strict social distancing is not possible, unless they cannot for medical reasons. Most employers will also have to provide face masks and other protective equipment to any employees who cannot keep at least a distance of 6 feet from other people at all times.
  • Older adults grocery store hours – Many grocery stores, including most major chains, are offering special hours to seniors and other vulnerable populations, such as people with compromised immune systems and pregnant women. Contact your preferred grocery store for more information.
  • Severe weather resources – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency and National Weather Service are coming up with guidelines for severe weather events. Check IEMA’s website for more information. Before you go to a community shelter, check to make sure it’s open.
  • Domestic violence – The COVID-19 restrictions are not meant to trap anyone in domestic violence. The state’s domestic violence hotline is still working: 877-863-6338.
  • Travel – As Illinois and other states gradually reopen, some people are looking for guidance on travel. CDC guidance is also available here.

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Family Resources Section

Economic resources

  • Expanded unemployment benefits – IDES has expanded unemployment benefits to individuals who have lost their jobs temporarily or permanently due to coronavirus. This includes employees who must isolate themselves but who do not have paid medical leave. They’ve also prepared an explanation of the expanded federal unemployment benefits for people who would not normally qualify.
  • Employment resources – The Illinois Departments of Employment Security and Commerce and Economic Opportunity have combined resources to create Get Hired Illinois, a one-stop resource for job seekers and unemployment benefits. It also features job training opportunities and job fairs.
  • Restaurant employee grants – The Illinois Restaurant Association is providing one-time $500 grants to restaurant employees experiencing hardship due to COVID-19.
  • Moratorium on evictions – There is currently a moratorium on evicting any single person who makes up to $99,000 per year (or $198,000) for families, if they are experiencing hardship due to COVID-19. However, tenants must make a good faith effort to pay as much as they can afford and sign a form documenting their hardship.
  • Tax filing deadline – Extended to May 17.
  • Utility, rent, and necessity help – Families struggling to make ends meet may qualify to receive assistance with food, rent, utilities, temporary shelter, medicine and other essential household services.
  • Consumer guide – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has put together a guide for consumers struggling to repay their debts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Federal Economic Impact Payments – The IRS has put together a resource for people with questions.
  • Child care assistance locator – With many child care centers operating under reduced capacity, workers may need to locate new providers. There is also a toll-free helpline available at 888-228-1146.
  • Reporting price gouging and scams – The attorney general’s office is investigating reports of price gouging: https://ccformsubmission.ilattorneygeneral.net/
  • FannieMae mortgage assistance – FannieMae is offering a 12-month forbearance and other payment options for mortgages it services.
  • Freddie Mac mortgage assistance – Freddie Mac is offering 12-month forbearances and other payment options.
  • Condominium guidelines – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional has put together guidelines for condominium associations and owners.
  • Student loan collections – The federal government has reduced interest rates to 0% and suspended collections until December 31. In addition, Illinois has worked with other states to provide private borrowers assistance, including at least 90 days of forbearance with waived late fees and no negative credit reporting or debt collection. If you are having trouble with your servicer or have a non-federal student loan, you can call the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation at 217-785-2900 or file a complaint here. You also can call the Illinois attorney general’s Student Loan Helpline at 800-455-2456 or file a complaint here.
  • Wage garnishment suspension – The governor has temporarily suspended new wage garnishment during the emergency declaration for the purpose of debt collection. This DOES NOT include wage garnishment for child support or spousal support.
  • Reporting businesses that are not practicing proper safety precautions –If a business is not practicing proper safety precautions, you can report it to the U.S. Occupational and Safety Administration. If a state or local government office is not practicing proper safety precautions, you can report it here.
  • Free Wi-Fi hotspots – DCEO has put together a map of free Wi-Fi hotspots that can be used for activities like e-learning.
  • Concerns about your employer – If you’re concerned that your employer is not practicing proper social distancing or other proper sanitation and can’t work it out without assistance, contact the attorney general’s Workplace Rights Bureau at the link or by calling 844-740-5076.
  • Concerns about banks and other lenders – The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation is encouraging lenders to work with borrowers during this crisis. IDFPR has a complaint form for issues with state (not federal) banks and other lenders that can’t be resolved.
  • Civil legal aid – Families experiencing legal issues who cannot afford an attorney may be able to find help.

Educational resources

The Illinois State Board of Education has put together a page to answer questions and another with suggested e-learning resources. Though many schools have provided take-home packets or their own online resources and assignments, here are some additional free online educational resources from reputable companies:

  • National Geographic Kids – Science and history focused articles and activities.
  • Kahn Academy – Free online lesson plans; requires registration.
  • PBS Kids – Educational videos and games, with a focus on younger learners.
  • PBS Learning – Educational videos, lesson plans, and other resources for all grade levels.
  • BrainPOP – Educational resources on all topics with a focus on elementary-school age students; requires registration.
  • DuoLingo – Free language learning; requires registration.
  • I Civics – Civics and government-related games focused on middle-school and high-school students.
  • Scholastic – Reading-based activities for Pre-K through 9th.
  • Smithsonian for Kids – Educational games and articles for people of all ages.
  • NASA Kids Club – Space related articles and activities, primarily for younger learners.
  • Storyline Online – Story books for younger children read aloud by celebrities.
  • Prodigy Math – Math curricula and activities for K-8th graders; requires registration.

Pet resources

  • Pet supply assistance – The Illinois Department of Agriculture has put together a list of pet food pantries.
  • Pet care when hospitalized – Best Friends Animal Society says some people who are hospitalized may need foster care or other pet care arrangements.

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Business Resources Section

  • Resources list – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity has put together a list of many resources available to businesses.
  • Paycheck Protection Program – The Small Business Administration is backing loans to help small businesses and non-profits on their payroll. Funds can also be used for rent, mortgage interest and utilities. Some businesses that have already qualified can apply for a second round of forgivable loans.
  • Low-interest loans – Backed by the Illinois treasury, banks and credit unions throughout Illinois are offering low-interest loans to businesses that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
  • Back to Business consultations – The Department of Labor is offering free health and safety consultations for small businesses with less than 250 employees. The consultations are to help them develop plans to keep employees and customers safe from COVID-19, and there will be no penalties for currently being out of compliance.
  • Cannabis business license applications – IDFPR is allowing applications via certified mail, rather than in person.
  • Online notary services – Notaries are allowed to work online using two-way videos while the governor’s disaster declaration is in effect.
  • Insurance licenses – Classroom courses for insurance producer and public adjuster licenses will be allowed to be completed via webinar and other approved distance learning, the limit on temporary insurance producer licenses has been suspended, and the requirement that both parts of the two-part insurance producer license have been suspended during the emergency declaration.
  • Industrial radiography certificates – Industrial radiography certificates and industrial radiography trainee certificates will not expire during the disaster declaration.
  • Business insurance complaints – Business owners with concerns about their business insurance coverage that need additional help can contact the Department of Insurance.

Guidelines

  • Businesses and organizations – The Illinois Department of Public Health has released general guidelines for businesses and organizations.
  • Sports guidelines – The Illinois State Board of Education and Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity have put out guidelines for sports participation.
  • Nursing homes and other long term care facilities – The state has issued visitor and staff guidelines, including limiting visits and requiring all staff to be screened before starting a shift.
  • Dentists – IDPH recommends that dentists take proper precautions when performing routine care. The Illinois State Dental Society also has a members-only coronavirus response page.
  • Dialysis facilities – Dialysis facilities are advised to screen patients and take additional precautions.
  • State prisons – State prisons have suspended in-person visits. In return, they’ve increased phone and video call privileges. Attorneys are still allowed to visit, but must be screened for COVID-19 first.
  • Child care facilities –The four state agencies that focus on child care and child care licensing have put together a reopening FAQ for child care providers.
  • Faith-based facilities – Basic guidance is available for faith leaders on how best to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
  • Banks and credit unions – IDFPR has issued guidance to financial institutions to help ensure consumers continue to have access to their assets and financial tools.
  • Mortgage servicers – IDFPR has issued guidance to mortgage services to help ensure individuals can stay in their home and that servicers don’t place undue burdens on borrowers.
  • Student loan servicers – IDFPR has sent out guidelines on how Illinois-based student loan servicers should be helping customers during the pandemic.

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Ways to Help Section

  • Volunteering – There are many volunteering opportunities during this crisis, and Serve Illinois is helping connect volunteers to organizations that need help.
  • Becoming a COVID-19 Prevention Ambassador – Volunteer to help spread the word about prevention, testing, and other important facts relating to COVID-19.
  • Blood donation – With blood drives across the country cancelled, the nation’s supply of donated blood is dangerously low. In addition to the Red Cross, consider contacting your local blood donation center.
  • Food bank donations – Many food banks need additional resources to help families struggling through this crisis. Even if you’re familiar with a food bank, call, email, or visit its website first. Many have changed procedures to help slow the spread of coronavirus.
  • Health care professional notification – Illinois has launched a new website to help alert and activate medical professionals in the event of disasters and public health emergencies. All medical professionals are encouraged to register.
  • Retired physicians needed at free clinics – Volunteer to provide services at a free clinic.
  • Tell your story – The Illinois State Museum is collecting personal stories, drawings, photographs, and other artwork to document life in the time of COVID-19.
  • Arts for Illinois – A combination of relief fund and cultural resource, this program will provide support for the art community during the COVID-19 crisis, as well as provide free online access to the arts during the Stay at Home Order.
  • Support our veterans – The Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs has created Operation Rising Spirit, asking Illinois residents to send messages to residents of Illinois’ veterans’ homes, which have had to restrict visits for residents’ safety.

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Other Resources Section

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Local Governments and Nonprofit Resources Section

  • Resources for school districts – The Illinois State Board of Education’s website provides various resources for school districts on its COVID-19 response page.
  • CURES Act funding for local governments – The state has begun dispersing COVID-19 response money from the federal government to downstate local governments.
  • Emergency resources for local governments – The Illinois Emergency Management Agency has put together guidance for local governments on acquiring aid from the state and federal governments.
  • Homelessness resources – The Department of Human Services has expanded its homelessness resources to help address additional issues from the pandemic, and information is available for providers and the homeless on its website.
  • Low-interest loans – Backed by the Illinois treasury, banks and credit unions throughout Illinois are offering low-interest loans to not-for-profits that have been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic.

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Regional Resources Section

The links below provide more regional resources. Some are primarily health-related information, while others cover closures and economic assistance measures. In addition, the Illinois Comptroller has created a webpage that tracks state spending on COVID-19 for the reference of Illinois residents.

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If Region 4’s infection rates improve to 6.5% or less by the end of the 14-day period, these restrictions mitigations will be relaxed. If they remain between 6.5% and 8%, they will remain in place. If they remain above 8%, additional restrictions mitigations may be put in place.

Region 7: From August 26 until September 8, Region 7 (Kankakee and Will Counties) is subject to the following restrictions due to three days of infection rates of 8% or higher:
• Bars, restaurants, casinos, and other gambling establishments must close at 11 p.m.
• Restaurants and bars may only provide outdoor service and may only seat people at tables, not bars or other seating areas.
• Tables at bars and restaurants must be at least 6 feet apart and may only accommodate one party.
• Restaurants and bars may only seat people by reservation.
• All gatherings (including casinos) must be limited to 25 people or 25% of venue capacity.

If Region 7’s infection rates improve to 6.5% or less by the end of the 14-day period, these mitigations will be relaxed. If they remain between 6.5% and 8%, they will remain in place. If they remain above 8%, additional mitigations will be put in place.