| Firm News
Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 9/22/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Governor Pritzker announcing distribution of pandemic-related funds
- Students protesting to allow sports to resume
- Twenty-four counties hitting warning level for COVID-19 cases
- Chicago issuing guidelines for fall and winter outdoor dining
- Illinois reaching COVID-19 testing milestone
- Federal judge denying request for preliminary injunction on mail-in voting
- Illinois Supreme Court deciding to hold its September term in person
- Bradley University students returning to campus for in-person learning
- Governor Pritzker has announced multiple grants and funds to counter the economic impact of the pandemic.
- A $220 million grant for small businesses hit hardest by the pandemic. To ensure a wide distribution, the funds will be distributed to six categories of recipients: heavily impacted industries, disproportionately impacted areas, downstate communities, priority businesses, agriculture, and grants and loan forgiveness.
- A $156 million grant for child care providers. These funds are meant to help child care providers “operate in safer, smaller group sizes without needing to impose large tuition increases on families.” (Under the Restore Illinois plan, all childcare programs are currently required to operate at 30% reduced capacity.)
- A $16.6 million investment toward expanding job opportunities for residents unemployed because of the pandemic. Through the grants, the Department of Labor plans to “distribute funding and place, train and hire nearly 1,300” residents in various jobs.
- Student athletes and their parents held protests recently in Chicago and Springfield pleading with Governor Pritzker to allow the students to play their respective sports. (In an effort to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, Pritzker has shut down contact sports, such as football and hockey.) Illinois schools have moved a few contact sports to the spring, although other states have resumed fall sports as normal.
- Illinois’ Health Department announced late last week that 24 counties have hit a “warning level” for COVID-19 cases. (A county reaches a warning level when it has increases in two or more COVID-19 risk indicators such as numbers of new cases or deaths, ICU availability, or ER visits.) Being at a warning level can cause a tightening of restrictions in a county or region. Counties currently at the warning level include Bond, Bureau, Cass, Clinton, Coles, Crawford, Cumberland, DeWitt, Edwards, Effingham, Greene, Jasper, Jo Daviess, Lawrence, Madison, Marion, Rock Island, St. Clair, Shelby, Washington, Wayne, Williamson, Wabash, and Union.
- Chicago has released its fall and winter outdoor dining guidance for restaurants within the city. The guidelines include rules for using tents, domes, or other temporary structures as well as the use of heating devices. In addition to the specific rules outlined, each restaurant must submit a written plan for approval.
- As the pandemic nears the seven-month mark, Illinois hit the milestone of conducting more than five million COVID-19 tests. Although the state has reported more than 200,000 COVID-19 cases and over 8,000 deaths since the pandemic began, the recent state-wide rolling seven-day positivity rate has been around 3.5%.
- Last week a federal judge denied the Cook County Republican Party’s request to “block the state’s enhanced vote-by-mail program.” According to the lawsuit, Governor Pritzker signed the bill into law to create “a partisan voting scheme that is designed to harvest Democratic ballots, dilute Republican ballots, and, if the election still doesn’t turn out the way he wants it, to generate enough Democratic ballots after election day to sway the results.” In denying the request, the judge stated that the party did not show that either “the type of wide scale fraud it describes” or “irreparable harm” would occur.
- The Illinois Supreme Court has announced that its September term will be held at the Supreme Court building in Springfield instead of remotely as it was in the spring. According to Chief Justice Anne M. Burke, they had “lengthy consultations with local health experts,” along with instituting “extensive safety precautions” in order to host this term in person.
- Bradley University in Peoria is coming off of an all-student two-week quarantine after a rise in COVID-19 cases hit the campus. The quarantine was meant to lower those infections connected to the campus. Students returned this week and are scheduled to be on campus until the Thanksgiving break. However, the school’s website states that if another rise in cases occurs, students will be asked to return home and finish the semester remotely.