Tuesday morning’s recap of coronavirus news from around the state

As this situation continues to develop, I will try to pass along to you the most up-to-date news from state government’s response. I would encourage you to visit my website at https://repbennett.com/covid-19/ for additional helpful information. In the meantime, everyone should be taking proper precautionary measures, such as frequently washing your hands, avoiding crowds and covering coughs and sneezes.

More information is also available from the Illinois Department of Public Health at www.dph.illinois.gov and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at www.cdc.gov. The statewide toll-free coronavirus hotline is 1-800-889-3931.

The General Assembly has cancelled its session which was scheduled for this week, and it is unclear when we might return. Deadlines for bill passage can be extended, and our state budget is in place through June 30. An employee in the Capitol building, though not an employee of the General Assembly, tested positive over the weekend, so it will be some time before normal operations resume at the Capitol. We will need to act to ensure that our public health system and first responders have the resources they need to protect the public, but fortunately our existing state budget and the state and federal disaster declarations have made many funds available to help in the interim.

All Secretary of State local driver services facilities are closed until March 31. All expiration dates for driver licenses, ID cards, vehicle registrations and other documents to be filed with the SOS have been extended for 30 days under an emergency rule.

The Illinois Retail Merchants’ Association (IRMA) has been working with state and local officials to ease the flow of supplies to grocery stores and other retail outlets in the state. Limits on the hours which truck drivers may work have been raised, and municipal restrictions on the hours during which deliveries can be made have been adjusted as well, so that stores can be re-stocked easier and faster. IRMA has expressed confidence in the state’s supply chain’s ability to meet this situation, and has encouraged consumers to “stick to their normal grocery shopping patterns.”

Here is some additional news from state and federal agencies.

Assistance available to small businesses impacted by the coronavirus emergency

In addition to the above link, the state of Illinois is seeking input from small businesses on the impact of the outbreak. A business’ response will assist the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) in evaluating Illinois’ request for an economic injury disaster declaration resulting in loans for affected businesses and non-profits. Small businesses in Illinois that have suffered economic injury as a result of the illness are encouraged to submit their information to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. Information obtained from this form will only be used to assist in requesting an economic injury disaster declaration from SBA and identifying greatest areas of need.

Guidance given to service providers from the Illinois Department of Human Services

Department of Public Health’s daily update and press briefing

Read the Governor’s Executive Order regarding business closures, prohibition of large gatherings and suspension of in-person attendance requirements of the Open Meetings Act

Latest update from the Department of Public Health on counties with positive cases confirmed

Guidance to schools from the Illinois State Board of Education

More information will be forthcoming as this situation continues to develop. I encourage everyone to stay safe and to take the necessary precautions to protect themselves and their loved ones from the spread of this illness.