| Firm News
Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 6/9/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Criteria to move to Phase 4
- Chicago Mayor’s launch of the “Together Now” initiative
- Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program allocations
- Online job training for unemployed Illinois residents
- Chicago Lakefront reopening
- Cook County Circuit Court judge's denial of a McDonald’s motion to dismiss in a COVID-19-related lawsuit
- Now that the entire state is in Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker’s Five Phase “Restore Illinois” Plan, many are looking to Phase 4. Phase 4, titled Revitalization, would allow gatherings of up to 50 people, resumption of all outdoor recreational activities, and reopening for all health care providers, educational facilities, and child care facilities. In addition, several businesses will be allowed to resume under approved safety guidelines. However, before the state can move into Revitalization, officials will assess certain criteria, such as a “vaccine, effective and widely available treatment, or the elimination of new cases over a sustained period of time through herd immunity or other factors.” Governor Pritzker has stated, “[the] earliest possible date” to transition into Phase 4 is June 26, but officials will be monitoring key metrics to determine the final timing of this move
- Late last week, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced the “Together Now” initiative to help rebuild small businesses in Chicago. With the help of the Chicago Community Trust and local partners, this program is designed to provide funding to some of the city’s small businesses for reopening. In addition to the funding that has already been provided, customers of select Chicago locations may also donate to the fund.
- Governor Pritzker has been working through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity to provide funding to businesses in downstate rural Illinois areas. The Downstate Small Business Stabilization Program has distributed around $1.3 million in grants to 65 businesses throughout the downstate, including in Canton, Greenville, and Effingham. Each eligible business is able to receive a grant amount up to $25,000.
- To help unemployed Illinoisans, Governor Pritzker has announced a free online system that individuals can use to train for industry-specific credentials. These credentials will allow residents to then apply for various jobs in fields for which they previously lacked marketable skills. Residents will have until September to register for training and through December 31 to complete the training.
- Navy Pier will reopen June 10 after months of being closed due to the pandemic. Outdoor restaurant spaces, tour boats, parking garages, and outdoor parks and piers will open. The Ferris wheel and indoor spaces will remain closed. Staff will wear masks, and plexiglass shields have been installed to provide a safer environment. Additionally, visitors will see social distancing ambassadors.
- Last month, employees of McDonald’s and their family members sued McDonald’s for public nuisance, alleging the company failed to provide adequate personal protective equipment to employees to protect them from the spread of COVID-19. In addition, the employees alleged that there was no proper training conducted, no social distancing implemented, and no notification system in place when an employee tested positive for the virus. Cook County Circuit Court denied McDonalds’ motion to dismiss the case as a matter of law. Rather, the judge commented, “whether McDonald’s has followed guidelines issued by those agencies is ‘a factual dispute. . . which the court is very well suited to handle.’”