COVID-19

COVID-19 Hotline
1-800-889-3931


Available 24/7 to answer your questions about COVID-19 in Illinois

COVID-19 Media & Publications

COMMUNITY RESOURCES FOR COVID-19 RECOVERY

Questions? Contact me at chrismiller2019gop@gmail.com

NOTICE“Stay at Home” order in effect in Illinois, essential services remain available. Grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations will remain open throughout the pandemic. The order goes into effect March 21 and is extended through April 30.

EXECUTIVE ORDERS ISSUED BY GOVERNOR JB PRITZKER (FULL LIST). See the full list and link to the full text of every Executive Order issued by the Governor since January 1, 2020.

Where can business owners verify if their business is exempted from the Executive Order -10?

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

ECONOMIC ASSISTANCE TO FAMILIES

MEDICAID – The Governor is suspending the annual renewal process for Medicaid recipients; fast tracking Medicaid enrollment; guaranteeing covered costs for COVID-19 treatment for the uninsured; and the State of Illinois is requesting waivers to allow doctors to offer Medicaid care without waiting for approval.

Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. IDES recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible. Learn more here.

A list of frequently asked questions and answers has been compiled by my office here.

YOU ASKED, SO WE GOT ANSWERS— What actions are taken to address the high volume of calls at IDES claims services line?

IDES hired additional staff and expanded their business hours to vulture the extremely high volume of calls. The caller is advised to try their call again if they get a busy signal. When the call gets through, there will be an average wait of 20-30 minutes before they speak to a specialist. To date, the department has taken several steps to improve the unemployment benefit claims process via the online portal and the call center. 

Online Filing Schedule:

Call Center Filing Schedule:

The day or time of day in which a claim is filed will not impact whether you receive benefits or your benefit amount.  Additionally, claims will be back-dated to reflect the date in which a claimant was laid-off or let go from their job due to COVID-19.

IDES is currently working through an unparalleled number of unemployment benefit claims and questions, both online and through the call center.  Over the first three weeks of March, IDES has received over 130,000 unemployment benefit claims, an increase of close to 400% compared to the corresponding weeks the prior year.  The department received close to 115,000 claims for the week of March 21 alone, an increase of nearly 1,400% compared to the corresponding week the prior year.  Additionally, the call center continues to field hundreds of calls per minute, per day.

IDES is doing everything possible to support our customers and meet the demand for unemployment benefit inquiries and claims. Those with questions or in need of assistance with unemployment benefit at this time are encouraged to visit IDES.Illinois.gov.

YOU ASKED, SO WE GOT ANSWERS— If a business decides to shut down voluntarily before mandated, will staff be able to qualify for unemployment? And does this go against the employer if they do so? If a business decides to shut down, employees would be potentially eligible for benefits and are advised to open a claim as soon as possible. IDES is working with the Governor’s office on legislation that would remove charge ability to employers for claims involving COVID-19 related issues.

FEDERAL STIMULUS PACKAGE IMPACT ON UNEMPLOYMENT (NEW ON APRIL 1, 2020)

The federal government recently enacted legislation to address the dramatic economic crisis brought on by COVID-19, including an unemployment benefits expansion. While this will financially help unemployed Illinoisans in the months to come, not everyone will be eligible for all the benefits contained in the package, and some benefits will not begin immediately.

Please note, IDES is asking employees potentially covered under this expansion to NOT call to inquire about these new federal programs. IDES employees are processing applications for current benefits. Further details about the new federal programs and how to apply will be made available once they have been finalized.

How will this affect Illinois unemployment benefits?

Once the stimulus package has been implemented in Illinois, individuals receiving unemployment benefits will receive an additional $600 each week above what they would receive in regular unemployment benefits until July 31, 2020. This will not be retroactively applied to unemployment benefits received in the past. In many cases, individuals will also be eligible for more weeks of unemployment above the 26 weeks provided under regular unemployment rules. Both of these benefits will be applied automatically if you qualify.

What do I do if I have already received my maximum benefits?

Some individuals who have received their entire 26 weeks of regular unemployment benefits may be eligible for more weeks of benefits under the stimulus package. If you have exhausted your benefits, or you are close to exhausting your benefits, we are finalizing the process to continue benefits under the stimulus package. Details will be available as soon as we have received further guidance from the US Department of Labor.

I am self-employed. Do I qualify under the new federal unemployment program?

Under regular unemployment rules, the incomes of self-employed workers, freelancers, and independent contractors are not subject to unemployment taxes and so typically these individuals are not eligible for unemployment benefits. The stimulus package creates a new, temporary program to help people who lose this type of work as a direct result of the current public health emergency. IDES will provide information about how to apply for this benefit as soon as it is finalized. Please do not apply at this time.
Thank you for waiting to apply until further details are available. This will allow IDES employees to address the large volume of claims for those individuals who are eligible under current benefit programs.

HOUSING

The Governor has ordered all state, county and local law enforcement cease enforcement of orders of eviction during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. Individuals are still required by law to pay rent and mortgage payments and to comply with other obligations under tenancy or mortgage.

The Arts Illinois Relief Fund

The Governor announced that a new fund was created to support Illinois artists during this tumultuous time. The Arts Illinois Relief Fund is a relief fund to support artists and artisans.  Initial donations allow for $4 million in grants for non-profit programs, individual artists, and performers.

JOBS (NOW HIRING)

ILLINOIS INCOME TAX DAY POSTPONED
The Illinois Department of Revenue (IDOR) is following the federal government in providing special tax filing and payment relief to individuals and businesses in response to the COVID-19 Outbreak. The filing deadline for Illinois income tax returns has been extended from April 15, 2020, to July 15, 2020. More information can be found here.

FEDERAL INCOME TAX DAY POSTPONED

FAMILIES FIRST CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE ACT (SIGNED INTO LAW BY PRESIDENT TRUMP ON MARCH 18, 2020)

ASSISTANCE TO EMPLOYERS

The US Small Business Administration has a COVID-19 Resources site here. The SBA will work directly with state Governors to provide targeted, low-interest loans to small businesses and non-profits that have been severely impacted by the Coronavirus (COVID-19). The SBA’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program provides small businesses with working capital loans of up to $2 million that can provide vital economic support to small businesses to help overcome the temporary loss of revenue they are experiencing.  These loans may be used to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable and other bills that can’t be paid because of the disaster’s impact.

The U.S. Small Business Administration has already approved Illinois’ eligibility for disaster assistance loans for small businesses facing financial hardship in all 102 counties due to COVID-19. Eligible businesses can apply for up to $2 million in low-interest loans here.

Business advisors at our Illinois Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) are available to assist small businesses with the loan application process and are currently operating remotely. Businesses can locate their nearest Small Business Development Center here.

TAX CREDITS TO EMPLOYERS FOR PAID SICK AND PAID FAMILY MEDICAL LEAVE Subject to certain limits, in the case of an employer, there shall be allowed as a credit an amount equal to 100 percent of the qualified sick leave wages and qualified family leave wages paid by the employer with respect to the calendar quarter.

SALES TAX DEFERRAL FOR BARS & RESTAURANTS The Illinois Department of Revenue will defer sales tax payments for more than 24,000 small and medium sized bars and restaurants- accounting for nearly 80% of all such entities statewide. Establishments charged less than $75,000 in total sales tax liability last year will not be charged penalties or interest on payments due in March, April or May made late. Qualified taxpayers must still file their sales tax return on time, even if they are unable to make a payment. Informational Bulletin with more on this here.

PAYCHECK PROTECTION PROGRAM

FEDERAL CARES ACT

What does it mean to Illinoisans? Congress approved and the President has signed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES). The $2.2 trillion economic rescue package provides help for families, small business, hospitals, local governments and others. A brief outline of the CARES Act can be found here.

GRANTS

Illinois Hospitality Emergency Grant Program

Downstate Illinois Small Business Stabilization Program

LOANS

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

Business Invest” Low Interest Bridge Loans backed by State Treasury

PUBLIC HEALTH

Governor Issues Disaster Proclamation.  JB Pritzker, Governor of the State of Illinois, in the interest of aiding the people of Illinois and the local governments responsible for ensuring public health and safety issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation this week in response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This proclamation will assist Illinois agencies in coordinating State and Federal resources, including the Strategic National Stockpile of medicines and protective equipment, to support local governments in preparation for any action that may be necessary related to the potential impact of COVID-19 in the State of Illinois.

For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

FOOD SECURITY

SNAP & WIC – The Illinois Department of Human Services is submitting multiple waivers to the federal government to deliver as much nutrition support to as many Illinoisans as possible. DHS has been able to automatically extend SNAP certifications set to expire March, April or May, another six months until September, October and November. DHS has also been able to waive the physical presence requirements for SNAP applicants and participants, enabling people to further reduce the time that they spend outside their homes and increase the ability to apply for assistance online.

DHS Director Hou indicated that the recent passage of the federal Family First legislation will cause monthly SNAP benefits to increase dramatically – in some cases by over 90%, a month. For example, a single person with a disability, or an older adult with less than $2,000 of monthly income is eligible for $194 in monthly SNAP benefits. Now, before the legislation passed, they would have received $16 a month. A family of four making less than $42,000 a year is now eligible for $646 a month in SNAP benefits.

UTILITIES

FREE INTERNET ACCESS RESOURCES. The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) is providing information on programs offering free internet access to Illinois families to support learning during the school closures. Information on these resources can be found at ISBE’s Keep Learning website.

AMEREN ILLINOIS.  In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Ameren Illinois will suspend service disconnections and forgive late payment fees for non-payment through at least May 1, 2020.  Customers needing assistance with paying their bill should contact their customer care team at http://spr.ly/amerenillinois for payment options.

NICOR: In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicor Gas will suspend service disconnections until April 30 for residential and commercial customers.  Customers needing assistance with paying their bill should contact their customer care team for payment and energy assistance options as well as information about the Nicor Gas Sharing Program (one-time grants to qualified residential customers)..

AT&T: All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data.  Additionally, we’ll continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program. We’ve expanded eligibility to Access from AT&T to households participating in the National School Lunch Program and Head Start. Additionally, we’re offering new Access from AT&T customers two months of free service.

CITY OF MATTOON: Due to recent events concerning the spread of Coronavirus, the City of Mattoon is suspending utility shut offs for nonpayment of water and sewer bills.  Late payment fees will also be waived during this time.  Water and Sewer customers will still owe for their usage and payment arrangements for all unpaid bills will be made at a later date.

In addition, the City will no longer accept payments directly from its customers at the Finance Office at City Hall.  The options for payment are online, by phone (844-701-1148, which is printed on all bills), by mail, or by using the drop box on the north side of City Hall.  Customers are encouraged to set up automatic payments by bank draft.  Those wishing to set up Water and Sewer service should contact the Finance Department by phone at (217) 235-5483.

CONSOLIDATED COMMUNICATIONS: Joins other major carriers throughout the nation and pledges to Keep Americans Connected during this pandemic event. Consolidated Communications will ensure that all residential or small business customers maintain continuity of voice and data connectivity regardless of their ability to pay their bills due to disruptions caused by the coronavirus pandemic; waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to the coronavirus pandemic; and open its Wi-Fi hotspots to anyone who needs them.

MEDIACOM. In an effort to keep customers safe during the coronavirus pandemic, Mediacom will be placing a moratorium and discontinuing service shut offs and late fees for 60 days. Reduced cost to low-income families during COVID-19 pandemic.  Low-income families in the Mediacom service area can sign up for 12 months of their Access Internet 60 Broadband service for $19.99/month instead of $29.99/month with 60 days of complimentary Connect2Compete service. Also, Mediacom is increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 10/1 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps their low-cost internet program.  Complementary access to all Madiacom Xtream Wi-Fi Hotspots will be offered for at least 60 days.

HOW TO HELP/ CALLS TO ACTION

Please submit any community Calls to Action or opportunities for help via e-mail to chrismiller2019gop@gmail.com.

RETIRED HEALTHCARE WORKERS. On March 21, the Governor announced a call to action in the fight against COVID-19 for anyone working in the healthcare related field who has let their licenses lapse or chose to retire. He is calling on physicians, nurses, physicians’ assistants, and respiratory therapists to come back and join the fight against this outbreak. To make this process easier the Governor will be implementing the following actions in the very near future: Waving fees and expediting licensure for healthcare positions; Automatically extending licenses soon to expire; Making it easier for out-of-state healthcare professionals to practice here, that way border communities can deploy physicians where they are needed most. Applications available online at IDFPR’s website include: Health Care License Reinstatement Physician License Reinstatement Out of State Temporary Practice Permit

P PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE). During this unprecedented public health emergency, supplies of PPE for healthcare providers are being rapidly depleted. Health care personnel need to protect themselves when caring for patients by adhering to infection control and prevention practices, which includes having access to a sufficient supply of PPE. On March 17, IDPH provided guidance to hospitals, outpatient surgical and procedural centers to limit non-essential adult elective surgical procedures, including all dental procedures until further notice. IDPH is encouraging all outpatient surgical and procedural centers, ambulatory surgical centers, and veterinarians to donate their unused PPE that is not immediately needed to assist those on the frontlines in the fight against COVID-19. Especially of need are surgical gloves, gowns, goggles, face shields, surgical masks, and N95 respirator masks. To donate PPE, please e-mail PPE.donations@illinois.gov. In addition, the Illinois Biotechnology Innovation Organization (iBIO), working with the State, has established a fund so people and organizations can donate money to help healthcare workers and first responders here.

PPE AND CRITICAL SUPPLIES PROCUREMENT. With Illinois well-positioned with in-state manufacturers of diverse goods and services, leads or connections on COVID-19–related goods or services (i.e. PPE) can be sent to the State for maintaining elements of the critical supplies supply chain. Businesses interested in supplying the necessary goods/needs for the current crisis, can contact the Governor’s Office related to these offers of products at Covid.procurement@illinois.gov. If a business wants to retool to manufacture PPE in Illinois, they may also contact the Illinois Manufacturing Association at ima@ima-net.org.

BLOOD SUPPLY

AMERICAN RED CROSS.  The Red Cross urges healthy individuals to give blood amid coronavirus concerns.  Low donor turnout could hurt U.S. Blood supply.  Learn more and schedule an appointment at their Effingham Center, if you’re feeling healthy and well, here.

MISSISSIPPI VALLEY REGIONAL BLOOD CENTER.  The Mississippi Valley Regional Blood Center urges healthy individuals to give blood amid coronavirus concerns.  Low donor turnout could hurt U.S. Blood supply.  Learn more and schedule an appointment at their Mattoon Center, if you’re feeling healthy and well, here.

MORE ON STATE OF ILLINOIS RESPONSE TO COVID-19

PUBLIC HEALTH

Governor Issues Disaster Proclamation.  JB Pritzker, Governor of the State of Illinois, in the interest of aiding the people of Illinois and the local governments responsible for ensuring public health and safety issued a Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation this week in response to the ongoing Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

This proclamation will assist Illinois agencies in coordinating State and Federal resources, including the Strategic National Stockpile of medicines and protective equipment, to support local governments in preparation for any action that may be necessary related to the potential impact of COVID-19 in the State of Illinois.

For information about how you, your school, workplace, and community can prepare, please visit Preventing COVID-19 Spread in Communities.  For general questions about COVID-19, call the hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email dph.sick@illinois.gov.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

RELIGIOUS SERVICES

SCHOOLS

CHILD CARE CENTERS & EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMS

PETS AND COVID-19 (ADVICE FOR PET OWNERS)

OUTDOOR RECREATION

GOVERNMENT

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

BUSINESSES AND WORKPLACES

GROCERIES

RESTAURANTS & BARS

YOU ASKED, SO WE GOT ANSWERS! Can bars and restaurants seek authority to sell pre-mixed drinks/cocktails “to-go” and for “delivery” in the non-original packaging?  The Illinois Liquor Control Commission released a reminder that, for reasons stated herein, the Commission has not authorized the sale of premixed cocktails in non-original containers for off-premises consumption. For the complete release, click here.

 VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

TRANSPORTATION

CONSUMER PROTECTION

GENERAL ASSEMBLY

ACTIVITIES FOR ADULTS WHILE SOCIAL DISTANCING

CENSUS

Complete the 2020 Census Online.  Illinois residents can now complete the census questionnaire online at my2020census.gov.  Completing the census online will ensure that Illinoisans get both the representation and federal funding for the critical services that they deserve,

The online questionnaire is the quickest and easiest way to get counted in Illinois and can be accessed from a smart phone, tablet, laptop, computer and terminals at local libraries. The census is nine questions long and will take less than 10 minutes to complete.

An accurate count of Illinois’ population is essential to ensure the State receives the funding needed to properly care for its residents and provide critical services and programs. In 2015, Illinois received $19,738,866,367, or approximately $1,535 per capita, in federal assistance for sixteen programs. Failure to count every Illinois resident will have devastating effects on Illinois’ ability to meet the needs of its residents. Even a one-percent undercount would result in the loss of $19,557,435 per year, for a decade, resulting in a total loss of $195,574,350 for the State of Illinois. Additionally, the number of seats Illinois has in the U.S. House of Representatives for the next 10 years will be determined by the census count this year. Illinoisans deserve proportionate representation in the U.S. Congress, and a fair and accurate census count is how we ensure that happens.