Governor JB Pritzker just concluded his daily briefing. What follows is an overview as well as additional information related to COVID-19 including WIC, Workers’ Compensation, state government, and the Assembly.
The Governor noted that from now on every decision is hard.
He is ordering all bars and restaurants to close as of close of business Monday, March 16th thru Tuesday, March 30th. They are going to allow food delivery, drive-thru and curbside pick-up. Carry-out, defined as a person walking into the establishment to pick-up food, will not be allowed. He acknowledged the impact this would have on small businesses. He also stated that over the weekend people did not take his guidance seriously to not gather so he is now responding and this closure order is a result.
Echoing Dr. Fauci’s comments on NBC this morning, the Governor says he hopes at the end of this crisis people will say that the government over-reacted. He believes that will be a sign the government acted correctly.
The Governor noted that Illinois’s food supply chain is among the strongest and healthiest and he is committed to keep it that way. He noted that his administration asked for the advice of grocers. Based on that feedback, he and his staff have connected with municipalities to end prohibitions on over-night grocery deliveries.
He asked that consumers not hoard food. Buy what you need but don’t be selfish. This is a message IRMA has been asking be included in the daily briefings.
Earlier today, Commissioner of the City of Chicago’s Department of Public Health, Allison Arwady, MD, ordered that any establishment within the City that sells or serves alcohol must restrict its occupancy to 50% of the establishments legal capacity. Additionally, lines or other gatherings at or in the immediate vicinity of the entrance to the establishment were prohibited.
He encouraged those who are interested in ensuring food banks have enough to assist those in need to donate to Feeding America
Additionally, he encouraged those who are healthy and feeling well to donate blood.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot echoed the Governor’s calls to avoid public gatherings.
The Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, Dr. Ngozi Ezike noted there were 29 new cases today and that the number of positive test results continues to increase ‘exponentially’. She noted that cases were now in Champaign, Clinton, Cook, Cumberland, Dupage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, Sangamon, St. Clair, Whiteside, and Woodford counties. In short, statewide.
WIC VENDOR TRAINING
WIC vendors are required to undergo training on an annual basis. That training occurs March thru May in Illinois. WIC vendor trainings for the month of March are being postponed. The WIC Bureau has communicated that do vendors. IRMA will keep you posted as to rescheduling or other options.
WORKERS’ COMPENSATION SYSTEM
On a call this afternoon with the members of the Workers’ Compensation Advisory Board, of which IRMA is a member, the Commission Chairman shared curtailment plans
. Effective Tuesday, March 17th
thru Tuesday, March 31st
, the Commission will do the following: (1) suspend hearings; (2) continue all cases to their next regular status call; (3) suspend oral arguments; and (4) will re-evaluate as March 31st
nears. There will be a mechanism for emergency cases. That mechanism will consist of a request being vetted through the Chairman’s office, assigned to an arbitrator who will conduct a telephone conference and will then make a determination as to how to proceed. If a hearing is necessary, a hearing will be scheduled in a Commission-controlled office. Again, this process will be revisited as Tuesday, March 31st
The Governor had previously closed government buildings to anyone who did not have official business. It appears they are quickly moving to shutting down non-essential functions and operate on a limited basis. It is NOT a complete shut-down. For example, courts have announced they are stopping operations except on an emergency basis. All agencies are being asked to implement such plans. That said, we will still have access and essential people available to field questions and handle problems.
The General Assembly did not have session last week and has cancelled session for this week. They are also in the midst of contingency planning. That includes preparing a list of must-pass legislation (e.g. a state budget) with the idea they would return for one-day, pass what they must and adjourn.