I will begin this newsletter by asking that you try not to shoot the messenger. As your State Representative, I am merely sharing information that affects our communities. These are difficult days as we continue to navigate the coronavirus’ impact on Illinois. I will also preface this message with an ongoing pledge to seek real, concrete data regarding exactly how this virus is spreading, and continued requests of the Governor that he engage with the legislature. Each member of the House represents roughly 108,000 Illinoisans, and those voices deserve to be heard as future COVID-19 response decisions are made.
Yesterday I participated on a conference call with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) and other legislators from Will, DuPage, Kane and Kankakee Counties. We were told that because COVID-19 positivity rates in Regions 7 and 8 have remained above 8% for more than 14 days, a second tier of resurgence mitigations will be taking effect this week on Wednesday, Nov. 11.
Region 7 (Will and Kankakee Counties) and Region 8 (DuPage and Kane Counties) were placed on Tier I mitigations on Friday, Oct. 23. As you know, those mitigations closed restaurants and bars to indoor service and limited all public gatherings to 25% capacity or 25 people, whichever is smaller. Per Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois Plan, regions under Tier I mitigations that do not reduce COVID-19 positivity rates to below 8% within 14 days are subject to Tier II mitigations, which are even more restrictive. Specifically, Tier II mitigations that will begin on Wednesday include:
- All Tier 1 mitigations, plus:
- Outdoor restaurant and bar table service is limited to 6 people per table
- Public gatherings are limited to 10% capacity or 10 people, whichever is lower
Click here to view a summary sheet for all Tier II mitigations.
As a point of reference, as of Sunday, Nov. 8, Region 7’s positivity rate was 15.4%, and Region 8’s positivity rate was 13.3%. Positivity rates are climbing quickly throughout the entire state, and Governor Pritzker announced on Sunday that he may have to consider stricter statewide mitigations. It is more important than ever for Illinoisans wear a mask, practice social distancing, wash and sanitize hands frequently, and avoid large crowds.
There was also a representative from the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) on the call, and he reminded lawmakers that there is still $170 million in business interruption grants available for businesses suffering due to COVID-19. Businesses experiencing resurgence mitigations will be given priority consideration as these grants continue to roll out on a weekly basis. As of today, $95 million in BIG grants have been awarded statewide, with $12 million in funding distributed between the four counties included in Regions 7 and 8. Grants are between $5,000 and $150,000, depending on the size of the business seeking the grant. Click here to learn more about BIG grants and to apply.