Chamber Members:

Today’s update is going to focus on POSITIVE news. Today could be the day that we can finally share multiple good news reports. There was an early announcement on at item we have been watching and then the Governor spoke this afternoon and delivered more reasons to be optimistic about getting back to normal.

JCAR Meeting Update

The Illinois Joint Committee on Administrative Rules (JCAR) met today to consider Governor Pritzker’s latest emergency rule which modified the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) rules so that business owners could be charged with a Class A misdemeanor for violating the state’s stay at home order. We’re happy to report that the Administration announced it would withdraw the latest emergency rule after it had drawn widespread bi-partisan criticism as well as thousands of messages regarding opposition from businesses and residents. We will continue to monitor this topic however to see if legislation emerges to deal with a violation.

Governor Announcement

Governor Pritzker today announced he’s going to loosen his stay-home order to allow more outside activities. This will begin as soon as May 29 as we move into Phase 3 as long as there are no surprises/setbacks by then. Under the new plan, restaurants will be able to serve patrons outside if they follow capacity and social-distancing rules. Indoor and outdoor tennis courts can reopen, and small-group athletic activities of up to 10 people, such as golf foursomes, will be permitted as long as participants either stay at least six feet from each other or wear masks.

All state parks will reopen and Phase 3 will allow hair salons and barber shops, tattoo parlors and all retail outlets to reopen, with capacity guidelines and masks required. Gyms can open for outdoor and one-on-one instruction.

State Happenings

Sounds like the General Assembly will be looking at borrowing upwards of $4.5 billion from the special federal reserve program to help balance the budget.

We’re hearing that the idea to send out ballots to all for the November voting has been dialed back to send out only the actual ballot applications. That will save voters from having to request a mail ballot. In person voting would remain an option for those that want to although the number of polling places would likely be reduced.

Looks like those on unemployment will receive an additional seven weeks worth of benefits and on the business side the increase in cost will be spread across every employer rather than those only who had lay offs.

SB 471 has been placed on the calendar for a second reading. This is the Employment and Labor Emergency Package.  It has changes to unemployment insurance, workers’ comp and includes a paid sick leave proposal

Workers’ comp continues to be debated as to whether or not the employee will be required to show evidence that they contracted the virus on site. It’s looking like all that have been deemed essential would be covered under a new plan, but they’ll still need to work out the proof issue.

Check out the most recent video update from the Illinois Chamber of Commerce as President/CEO Todd Maisch talks about what to expect in the Springfield Special Session.

Will government mandate COVID-19 vaccinations? 

When a COVID-19 vaccine becomes available would the government mandate vaccination compliance? This will be an emerging discussion as time goes on. If they feel it is essential to stopping the spread, opinions will fly to determine if it would be legal and if so, would they move to put that into action?

Next Relief Bill

Senate Republican support for moving the next coronavirus relief bill as soon as next month is growing after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell warned lawmakers this week that the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic could last for years. It will be interesting to see if opinions continue to change about a pause and the clock speeds up as Senators return from a holiday break.

Finally, we want to remind you of a new survey that we shared the other day as it is open through Friday. We would like to ask for your support regarding a COVID-19 Business Impact Survey that asks how businesses in the Southland region have been affected during this time. This is a collaborative effort of Southland Chambers.

Click here to fill out the survey:

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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