This afternoon, Governor Pritzker announced that a state employee at the Illinois Department of Human Services and an infant have died as a result of COVID-19.
Chicago’s McCormick Place is being prepped as a field hospital.
The Governor complimented IRMA-member McDonald’s for their donation of 400,000 N95 masks as the most recent example of many who have made donations large and small. He encouraged everyone to scour their storage for personal protection equipment that can be donated and diverted to medical personnel.
Governor Pritzker noted his continued partnership with IRMA and its members to ensure access to a safe food supply. He noted the social distancing ideas that Illinois grocers have proactively implemented and encouraged should be considered by all retailers.
In the midst of the largest strain on stores in history, particularly groceries and pharmacies, retailers are having to implement new procedures in the midst of meeting historical consumer demand. We also know that keeping your employees and your customers safe during this pandemic is a top priority. Unfortunately, unless consumers cooperate, every effort will fail. Nevertheless, retailers are being looked to by others to help consumers comply. IRMA has fielded calls from some elected officials concerned about in-store social distancing.
IRMA has seen so many creative ideas retailers have implemented on their own to encourage customers to respect the rules of social distancing. To assist Illinois retailers, IRMA has compiled some best industry practices and encourage you to consider employing some or all of them as quickly as possible in conjunction with your operational realities. You may view the guidance here. You can also view the guidance on IRMA’s web page.
WIC MILK SUBSTITUTION
In response to issues regarding low stock, the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has obtained a waiver from the USDA as part of the authority given to them from section 2204(a)(1) of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (P.L. 116-127) through May 31, 2020 to allow the substitution of milk for any available fat content. Effective immediately, participants will be allowed to substitute milk for any available fat content regardless of the fat content listed on their Food Instruments if the milk listed on their food instrument is not available. This waiver, is meant to be applied to white milk options only, and participants may not purchase flavored milks or milk substitutes. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact IDHS Bureau of Family Nutrition at DHS.WICVendor@illinois.gov.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, MD, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health announced 465 new cases in Illinois, including 13 more deaths. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 3,491 cases, including 47 deaths, in 43 of Illinois’ 102 counties. The age of cases ranges from younger than one to 99 years. Additional information can be found here.