Dear friends,

This afternoon, Governor JB Pritzker issued a Stay at Home Order for the people of Illinois. The text of the order is available here. A FAQ that should answer most questions is available here.

For many of you, this order will not mean any new, significant changes. If you are already working from home (or performing an essential function) and following the recommendations to stay in except for essential needs, nothing should change.

Rest assured that vital services will remain open. Medical facilities, grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, and banks and credit unions will not close.

You will still be able to go out for vital supplies, take care of elderly and infirm friends and relatives, walk your dog, and seek medical attention. If your heater goes out, you can still call a repair service. You can still go to the laundromat.

Here’s what the order means:

  • Unless you work for an essential business, your employer can’t allow you to come to work.
    • They can still require you to work from home, and they can still require a skeleton crew of staff to come in to secure inventory and other assets and to enable others to work from home.
    • If you do have to go in, your employer should institute social distancing and other protocols to protect your health, if they aren’t already.
  • You can only travel for essential needs. This includes medical visits for health emergencies, getting vital supplies for yourself, and getting vital supplies for friends and loved ones who cannot or should not go out on their own.
    • Do not go out for supplies if you’re sick. Get a friend, loved one, delivery service, or neighbor to get supplies for you, and minimize contact when they drop them off.
  • When you are healthy, you can still go for walks and go outside to get other exercise, but practice social distancing. Stay at least 6 feet away from people outside your immediate household at all times.

I know this order is difficult. Many people are afraid and suffering, but we are taking these steps to help protect the most vulnerable among us and to ensure that our heroic health care providers don’t get overwhelmed. Working together, we will get through this.

As your state senator, I promise to do all I can to support you through this difficult time and to provide you with as much information as possible. Please, don’t hesitate to call my office at (773) 769-1717 or respond to this email if you have any questions or I can help in any way.


Heather A. Steans

State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Dear Friend,

To help relieve the burden on the small business owners who are bearing an unprecedented burden during the COVID-19 outbreak, the State of Illinois is working with authorities to make relief available. Read about how below.

Small business loans



To assist business owners, the State of Illinois has received an economic injury disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration. The application requires data from businesses in every county to justify the declaration from the federal government. This disaster declaration will help open up avenues of funding for small businesses in Illinois that have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. You can see all related info on their website here.

If your business, regardless of how small, has been affected by COVID-19, please take two minutes to complete the survey here.

Sales tax deferral

Sales taxes will be deferred for small- and medium-sized bars and restaurants in March, April and May. More details about tax relief are available from the Illinois Department of Revenue website here.


Heather A. Steans

State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

With schools throughout the state closed, I know becoming the head of your own small classroom is going to seem daunting. Fortunately, there has never been a time with more accessible online learning tools than today. You can explore some of the options below.


Heather A. Steans
State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Continuing education as kids stay home




















VIRTUAL FIELD TRIPS: Here’s a Google Doc showing some options for virtual field trips





Here are some other fun activities you can try when screen time is getting boring. Click the image to see a larger version.

Over the past few days, Governor Pritzker has been offering daily updates and guidelines on some of the measures recommended to ensure minimal spreading of the coronavirus.

While the coronavirus is changing how we go about our daily lives, it’s important to remain calm and to take proper precautions. Right now, the best possible thing you can do to help is to stay home unless it’s absolutely necessary to venture out.  Regardless of your health or age, it is vital that we take this recommendation seriously, as preventing further spread of the disease is the key to keeping you, your family, and our community healthy.

I also want to tell you about measures the government is taking to try to mitigate the economic harm this situation is causing so many. Read below for information about how you may qualify for unemployment benefits if you've suddenly found yourself unemployed during this outbreak.


Heather A. Steans

State Senator, 7th Illinois Senate District

Unemployment benefits

The Illinois Department of Employment Security has extended the availability of unemployment benefits to those unable to work due to COVID-19. You can read about the specifics of what qualifies for unemployment insurance and how you can apply for it at the IDES website here.

Food assistance

These food pantries may have limited hours during this pandemic. Please call or view their websites prior to your visit.

For those who are able and willing, donations to these food banks are much appreciated.

St. Ignatius Parish
Food Pantry: Wed. 2-4 p.m., Fri 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Service Area: Pratt to Devon, Western to the lake
A Just Harvest
Produce: 3rd Mon. 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Soup Kitchen: Mon.-Fri. 5:30-6:30 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 5-6 p.m.
Service Area: Cook County
Howard Area Community Center
Food Pantry: 1st & 3rd Mon. 9-11 a.m., 2nd & 4th Wed. 2-5 p.m.
Service Area: 60626 and 60645 zip codes, Juneway to Devon, Sheridan to Kedzie
Warren Park Produce Program
Produce: 2nd Wednesday 9:30-11:30 a.m.
Service Area: Cook County
Congregation K.I.N.S.
Soup Kitchen: Tuesday 5:45-7:45 p.m.
Service Area: Cook County
ICNA Relief - Chicago
Food Pantry: Sat. 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (sometimes opens and closes early based
on community needs)
Service Area: Howard to Foster, Ridge to Kedzie
Care for Real
Food Pantry: Mon. and Wed. 9 a.m.-12 p.m., Fri. 9 a.m.-12 p.m. and 3-5 p.m.,
Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
Service Area: Devon to Lawrence, Western to the lake
Also provides clothing closet and other support services (limited hours)
Evanston Vineyard Food Pantry
Food Pantry: Wed. 6-8 p.m.
Service Area: Illinois residents
Also has clothing closet

Further updates on government response to COVID-19

Among other measures the government is taking:

  • The Illinois State Board of Education is working to provide meals every day to all students, no questions asked. 
  • All bars and restaurants are closed as of Monday, March 16 at 9 p.m. Restaurants will have take-out, drive-thru and delivery options still available.
  • All gatherings of more than 50 people are prohibited starting Wednesday, March 18. Grocery stores, pharmacies and medical facilities are exempt. However, fitness clubs, theaters, religious services, and bowling alleys are included.
  • To provide some relief to local eateries during the coming weeks, Grubhub is suspending commissions and Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees on orders from independent restaurants. Some larger restaurants are offering free delivery. Many delivery services have introduced no- or low-contact delivery options.
  • Ameren and ComEd are suspending any disconnections and waiving late payment fees. Other major utility companies, like People’s Gas and Nicor, are suspending disconnections as well.
  • The Attorney Generals Office will work to impose a moratorium on utilities shut-offs in the immediate term.
  • AT&T, Comcast, Verizon and others are preserving telecom services.
  • The Illinois Department of Employment Security is allowing workers who are unemployed due to COVID-19 to apply for unemployment.
  • All Illinois Secretary of State offices and Driver Services facilities are closed to the public through March 31. Expiration dates for driver’s licenses, ID cards, vehicle registration and other transactions will be extended by 30 days. More information and some services are available online.
  • The Small Business Administration is providing disaster assistance loans for small businesses impacted by COVID-19.
  • In order to apply for an emergency injury disaster declaration from the Small Business Administration, Illinois needs data from businesses across the state. If your business has been affected by COVID-19, please complete this online survey.
  • The Illinois Attorney General’s office encourages residents to file a complaint if they notice price gouging on essential items related to the coronavirus outbreak, including hand sanitizer, cleaning products and protective gear.

For daily updates on what the state is doing, check the Illinois Department of Public Health’s website

COVID19 Updates

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