COVID-19

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

COVID-19 Media & Publications

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. As of March 31, 41 of the 50 U.S. states have implemented some form of nonessential business closure order. Under these orders, nonessential businesses are supposed to cease their operations, or transform them into a work-from-home setting. In most states including Illinois, there is a significant list of exceptions: the exceptions include health care, food retail, gas stations, home delivery services, and work done in outdoor environments such as construction.  The State of Illinois has posted a list of Frequently Asked Questions about the Stay-at-Home order.

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

If a non-essential business is operating unlawfully during the Stay at Home Order, where can a complaint be filed?

Complaints about non-exempt businesses operating unlawfully during the Stay at Home Order can be reported here.

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.

COVID-19 RECOVERY RESOURCES

Statewide Telehealth/Mental Health Programs

A person who is showing COVID-19 symptoms, or is at high risk for contracting the virus, but does not require emergency or inpatient care, and can be digitally monitored at home can access a Statewide Telehealth hotline to assist with remote monitoring programs. The State of Illinois/ OSF Healthcare Hotline number is now available: (833) 673-5669. More information can be found at osfhealthcare.org.

Pandemic Health Workers (PHWs) will virtually visit recipients daily, deliver wellness kits that include essential tools to monitor their health, and follow-up over a 14-day period to ensure no further assistance is needed. Wellness kits will include items such as thermometers, pulse oximeters, blood pressure cuffs, and alcohol wipes.

EMOTIONAL SUPPORT TO FAMILIES

The Department of Human Services launched a free emotional support text line, for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.

Individuals who would like to speak with a mental health professional can text:
• For English services text “TALK” to 5-5-2-0-2-0
• For Spanish services text “HABLAR” to 5-5-2-0-2-0

Individuals can also text 5-5-2-0-2-0, with keywords such as “unemployment” or “food” or “shelter” and will receive information on how to access these services.

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 cover 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. 

Call Center Filing Schedule:

FOR ON-LINE APPLICATIONS, click here. If your last name begins with letters:

FOR PHONE APPLICATIONS, call (800) 244-5631. If your last name begins with letters:

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 14, 2020)

Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC). FPUC provides an additional $600 each week in 100% federally funded benefits to anyone entitled to regular state unemployment benefits, PEUC, PUA, EB, or certain
other specialized unemployment benefits. FPUC is potentially available for weeks beginning on or after March 29, 2020 and continuing through the week ending July 25, 2020.

Pursuant to the federal legislation, this $600 will not be retroactively applied to unemployment claims that arose prior to March 29, 2020. In many cases, individuals will also be eligible for more weeks of unemployment above the 26 weeks provided under regular unemployment rules. Both benefits will be applied automatically if you qualify.

Status: FPUC was implemented and began disbursing funds being disbursed the week starting April 5, 2020, which was the first week the federal legislation allowed FPUC to be paid.

Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA)

PUA provides 100% federally funded unemployment benefits for individuals who are unemployed for specified COVID-19-related reasons and are not covered by a state’s regular unemployment insurance program, the extended benefit (EB) program under Illinois law, or the Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation program (PEUC), including self-employed sole proprietors. Up to 39 weeks’ worth of benefits are potentially available under the program for COVID-19-related unemployment claims. PUA claims will be backdated to the individual’s first week of unemployment, but no earlier than February 2, 2020, and will continue for as long as the individual’s remains unemployed as a result of COVID-19, but no later than the week ending December 26. The program is intended to be similar to the federal Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, which provides unemployment benefits in response to local disasters. This is a brand-new program that requires an entirely new system to be built from scratch by IDES.

Status: IDES is contracting with Deloitte to implement and maintain a web-based solution for PUA. Deloitte has been building a PUA system for
Colorado, and it will be modified to fit Illinois law. While a program of this
magnitude might normally take up to a year to design and implement, the
department is committed to getting this program online by the week of May 11, 2020.

Neighbor States Actions for PUA Relief (as of April 13, 2020)

The neighboring states of Iowa and Michigan have recently announced that they are currently able to process PUA relief claims. The State of Wisconsin has stated that their Department of Workforce Development will hopefully be able to process PUA applications beginning in April 21; the State of Indiana provides their Department of Workforce Development is working on expanding their systems to accommodate PUA claims, but in the meantime are suggesting that 1099-filers to file for regular UI benefits as a denial of regular UI benefits will be a prerequisite to receive PUA benefits; according to the Kentucky Career Center, the state UI benefit application should be completed—the state agency, then, will get in touch with any PUA-eligible applicants; and in Missouri, the state Department of Labor and Industrial Relations’ have been working to make changes to its current UInteract unemployment assistance portal to accommodate PUA claims (however, as of 4/8/20 no estimated date of implementation has been announced). 

Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC)

PEUC provides up to 13 weeks’ worth of 100% federally funded benefits to
individuals who have exhausted their rights to regular state unemployment benefits up to 26 weeks in Illinois. PEUC is potentially available for weeks beginning on or after March 29, 2020 and continuing through the week ending December 26, 2020. PEUC will be retroactive once implemented.

Status: IDES received USDOL guidelines on April 10 and expects the program can be implemented through the current IDES computer system the week of April 20.

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 to cease enforcement of orders of eviction during the duration of the Gubernatorial Disaster Proclamation. No provision contained in the Executive Order 10 must be construed as relieving any individual of the obligation to pay rent, to make mortgage payments, or to comply with any other obligation that an individual may have under tenancy or mortgage.

RURAL MORTGAGE/RENT ASSISTANCE. An Illinois nonprofit is offering two months’ of mortgage or rent payments to help people out during the COVID-19 crisis. Tri-County Opportunities Council, an Illinois nonprofit, serves nine rural counties, including Stark, Putnam, LaSalle, Bureau, and Marshall. Applicants must be at 125 percent or less of the federal poverty income guidelines. Applicants must also be under quarantine or show they’ve lost work due to a business closure. TCOC was allowed to reallocate money by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to help people keep roofs over their heads during the COVID-19 crisis. Go to tcochelps.com for more information.

Housing counselors designated by the Illinois Housing Development Authority can help you understand your options if you are having trouble paying your mortgage. They can communicate with your mortgage lender or servicer on your behalf and help you find legal representation if necessary. Counselors can also help you create a budget to manage your expenses and possibly stay in your home. All services are free. Find a counselor near you today and begin to get the help you need.

RV PARKS/ CAMPGROUNDS. Generally, campgrounds and RV parks (Campgrounds of America) are considered recreational activities and are not essential. However, if a campground or RV park is your primary residence, then the campground or RV park can remain open. Specific questions on essential businesses can contact DCEO at 1-800-252-2923 or CEO.support@illinois.gov.

AFFORDABLE RENTAL HOUSINGILHousingSearch.org will allow you to search thousands of affordable, subsidized and market rate units throughout Illinois. You can customize your search based on your specific needs, budget, and desired location. The service is also available through a toll-free, bilingual call center at: (877) 428-8844.

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)

FEDERAL & STATE INCOME TAX DEADLINE POSTPONED

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

ASSISTANCE TO EMPLOYERS

Business owners impacted by COVID-19 issues, can visit the COVID-19 employer response website set up by the Kankakee County Chamber of Commerce at: https://www.kankakeecountychamber.com/covid-19

In addition to loans and grants from the US Small Business Administration, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) has put together a comprehensive list of Emergency Resources to Businesses 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.

BUSINESS INSURANCE COVERAGE. Business Insurance Issues Resource Page from the Illinois Department of Insurance can be found here.

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

NONPROFIT GRANTS

The United Way of Illinois and the Alliance of Illinois Community Foundations announced the launch of the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund (ICRF), a new statewide fundraising effort to support nonprofit organizations serving those whose lives have been upended by this pandemic.

The ICRF is launching with nearly $23 million in initial donations. In the upcoming weeks, the steering committee will evaluate and disburse funds to the initial wave of charitable organizations serving at-need communities across the entire state. All donations and distributions will be available to the public. Donations and applications for assistance can be made here.

LOANS

Illinois Small Business Emergency Loan Fund

Business Invest” Low Interest Bridge Loans backed by State Treasury

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.

Between April 8th and April 20th, all eligible SNAP recipients will see their first additional funds if they are not currently receiving the maximum benefit.  This will impact more than 450,000 Illinois households. The additional funds are intended to help Illinoisans obtain food and support for their families during the COVID-19 pandemic. The maximum SNAP benefit amounts will be implemented for April and May. It is not known at this time whether these extended maximum payments will continue beyond May. 

Increased benefits will be automatically loaded onto SNAP recipients’ Link cards, and there is no need for anyone to re-apply, to visit an office, or to call. All new applications authorized in April will also receive the maximum allotment for their household size. 

CHILD LUNCHES – 79th District Schools will continue to offer lunches to students through the mandatory closure. You can find information about your school district here.

BURGER KING – Participating Burger Kings around the country are offering two free kid’s meals per adult meal ordered.

IDHS – While offices are closed, constituents can still apply and manage benefits, and request assistance online at abe.illinois.gov.

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.

COM ED: In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Com Ed 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 for payment and energy assistance options.

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).

COMCAST: Free internet to low-income families during COVID-19 pandemic. Low-income families in the Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.  Also, Comcast is increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward.  To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.

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.

Village of Bradley – In response to the economic hardships that residential and business customers may experience due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Village of Bradley will suspend late payment penalties on Bradley sewer through May 2020.

EDUCATION / ENRICHMENT RESOURCES FOR REMOTE LEARNING

GENERAL EDUCATION/ ENRICHMENT RESOURCES

MUSIC EDUCATION.  If your school is closed due to COVID-19, please see the resources below to keep you and your students engaged in long distance music learning.

HOW TO HELP/ CALLS TO ACTION

Please submit any community Calls to Action or opportunities for help via e-mail to parkhurst@ilhousegop.org.

Visit serve.illinois.gov for more info on volunteering.

The Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund has been established to support Illinois nonprofits and the individuals, families and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic. The fund announced its first round of grant distributions on April 8 of $5.5 million to 30 organizations that serve families across 96% of the state’s population by providing people with access to food, shelter, healthcare and more. To date, the fund has raised more than $28 million from nearly 2,000 donors, and many more rounds of funding will be coming soon.  

MEDICAL PERSONNEL & PERSONAL PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT (PPE)

HEALTHCARE PROVIDER REGISTRATION. The State of Illinois is calling on all licensed healthcare providers, available to help in the fight against COVID19, to register at www.IllinoisHelps.net. This includes physicians, nurse practitioners, registered nurses, physician assistants, medics, LPNs, CNAs, Podiatrists and Dentists.

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

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 LOCALLY to Riverside Healthcare, click here. To donate PPE LOCALLY to Amita St. Mary’s, please email kathleen.peterson2@amitahealth.org. To donate PPE LOCALLY to the Kankakee County Health Department, click here. 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, if you’re feeling healthy and well, here.

SUPPORTING LOCAL SERVICES

UNITED WAY – In response to the potential economic impact of COVID-19, United Way of Kankakee and Iroquois Counties has established a COVID-19 Community Response Fund.

We anticipate that there will be significant pressures placed upon our existing partner agencies and other local service organizations due to the loss of income caused either directly or indirectly by the virus.

MORE ON STATE OF ILLINOIS RESPONSE TO COVID-19

SOCIAL DISTANCING GUIDELINES/ COMMUNITY EVENTS

RELIGIOUS SERVICES

SCHOOLS

CHILD CARE CENTERS & EARLY EDUCATION PROGRAMS

PETS AND COVID-19 (ADVICE FOR PET OWNERS)

AGRICULTURE

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

PUBLIC SAFETY/ LEGAL/ 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 smartphone, 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.

UNIVERSITY OF ILLINOIS EXTENSION OFFERS FREE WEBINARS AND TRAININGS. With all in-person meetings currently canceled or postponed until after May 31, U of I Extension is expanding their online webinars and trainings. Check back frequently for new upcoming or recorded webinars. These are offered by Illinois Extension professionals unless otherwise noted. Learn more here.