Chamber Members:

The last couple of days have seen a lot of information shared so we’ll keep today’s update light.

So let’s start off with some good news to report as that comes less often than not. Governor Pritzker announced today that our region, the northeast, is now meeting the benchmarks along with the other three regions to move on to Phase 3. That transition, as long as numbers hold up, would occur on May 29th. Under Phase 3, the state will allow manufacturing, offices, stores, barbershops and salons to reopen with capacity limits. Gyms also could open outside and inside for one-on-one personal training. Gatherings of up to 10 people would be allowed, but “face coverings and social distancing are the norm” in this phase.

Newest Unemployment Numbers

The Labor Department announced that another nearly 3 million workers filed for unemployment nationwide last week. This brings the total since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic to roughly 36.5 million. The one “possible” positive that you could look at with this report is the fact that this is the lowest weekly number since the beginning of the crisis. Illinois account for a little over 1 million of that total meaning a rate of almost 21%.

Ruling from our Neighbors to the North

Yesterday in Wisconsin their Supreme Court ruled 4-3 to strike down the Wisconsin stay at home order. Milwaukee officials immediately announced they would be enforcing the state’s rules at the local level, creating a de facto regional approach to combating the spread of the disease. Their original order went into effect on March 25 and was later extended to May 26.

The Return to Springfield

House Speaker Michael Madigan called for a special session to be held May 20-22 to address the state budget and other issues, including a coronavirus relief package, hospital assessment and mail-in voting, according to a special session proclamation that is attached. Also attached is a special session memo that shares the focus on efforts to passing essential legislation that protects the state’s most vulnerable residents, including a responsible state budget that prioritizes all Illinoisans and provides some stability for the state’s economy. He also called on legislators to sign a pledge that they’d follow health recommendations.

Bill to Allow Mail Ballots

State Sen. Julie Morrison plans to introduce a bill that would allow the state to mail a ballot to every registered voter in Illinois. Under the provisions of the bill, select polling places would remain open for early voting and on Election Day for those who don’t feel comfortable casting ballots by mail.

A Note from the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley

As you may be aware, many families have experienced a disrupted bereavement and grief process as a result of restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic.   The American Red Cross has developed a Virtual Family Assistance Center (VFAC) as a hub for resources and contacts with our partners.  Our VFAC will list resources that you have available to families as well as a link to those resources on your website. In order to add your organization to the VFAC, agencies should complete the following survey at

Finally, one more reminder about our Virtual Conference for tomorrow. We will be talking with State Representative Mark Batinick. Topics to be covered are:

  • Governor’s Restore Illinois Plan
  • Current Virus Numbers and Impact on Nursing Facilities
  • A Return to Springfield – Unemployment, Liability, and Property Tax Discussions.

You can register for the 11 am session here:

Stay well,

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry Staff and Board of Directors



Mike Paone

Vice President – Government Affairs

Joliet Region Chamber of Commerce & Industry

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