Dear Friend,

The U.S. Congress passed a landmark COVID-19 response package Wednesday, and the president has now signed it into law. The American Rescue Plan can begin to help Illinois businesses, homeowners, renters, workers, students and more get back on their feet.

This one-time revenue infusion will go a long way toward helping our state recover from the COVID-19 crisis. Here are a few important provisions included in the American Rescue Plan:

We can expect help with our COVID-19 response.
The plan includes an estimated $275 million to help facilitate our vaccine rollout, plus hundreds of millions more for testing, health departments and community health centers, hospitals, and mental health care and substance abuse treatment. The legislation also includes a plan to allow unemployed individuals to stay on their employer-sponsored health plans for free via COBRA through September.

Residents will receive more direct relief.
About 85% of Illinois adults will receive relief checks. Single filers who make less than $75,000 annually and couples who make less than $150,000 will receive $1,400 per person, including dependents. Federal unemployment programs have been extended through Sept. 6 and the SNAP benefit increase will remain in place through Sept. 30. Rent relief and mortgage assistance programs will also get a boost.

Small businesses will get the help they need to survive and thrive.
The American Rescue Plan establishes an aid program for restaurants, offering up to $5 million per location to help them recover from revenue losses in 2020. The Emergency Injury Disaster Loan and Paycheck Protection Programs will also receive additional funding to enable more small businesses to keep their doors open.

Schools and local governments will receive stronger support.
Illinois K-12 schools will receive approximately $5 billion to help keep students safe and engaged during the pandemic, and an additional $1.3 billion will bolster our colleges and universities. To ensure bright futures for our youngest learners, Head Start and child care providers will also receive assistance. Counties, cities and smaller municipalities have been allocated funding to help cope with revenue losses and continue providing the services our communities rely on.

I’m thrilled to see the federal government step up to offer support, and I’m committed to making sure the state uses these dollars responsibly, with Illinoisans in mind.

The American Rescue Plan can help us support our neighbors in need and get our state’s economy back up and running to secure a stronger future for all of Illinois. It’s time to lend a hand to those hit hardest by COVID-19, including struggling small business owners and out-of-work Illinoisans—and I plan to work with my fellow legislators and the executive branch to ensure this relief helps us move forward, together.

The light at the end of the tunnel grows stronger every day. My staff and I are still here to serve you—please don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or concerns at (773) 869-9050 or http://www.senatortonymunoz.com/contact-us.

Stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Tony Munoz
Assistant Majority Leader | 1st District

Dear Friend,

In this challenging time, we could all use some good news. Thanks to declining COVID-19 positivity rates and hospitalizations, I’m proud to announce Chicago has been approved to move out of mitigations entirely and return to Phase 4 of the state’s Restore Illinois plan!

In Phase 4, all businesses can reopen, including gyms, retail, movie theaters, bars, restaurants, and salons and barbershops, with some safety guidelines and capacity limits in place. Here’s what you can expect from each industry in Phase 4:

Bars and Restaurants
• Indoor capacity is limited to the lesser of 25% or 25 people per room or space.
• Food must be available at all times in order to offer indoor service.
• Parties may not exceed six patrons at indoor or outdoor tables, and all tables must be 6 feet apart.
• Patrons can sit at bars, with 6 feet of social distancing between parties.
• Face coverings must be worn at all times, except when patrons are seated and actively eating or drinking.
• Patrons must be seated whenever they are eating or drinking.
• The sale of alcohol must end at 11 p.m., including alcohol sold for on-site consumption, delivery or carry out, and establishments must close for on-site service at midnight.
• Restaurants may continue to sell food via delivery, takeout or curbside pickup at all hours.

Event Venues
• Indoor capacity is limited to the lesser of 25% or 25 people per room or space.
• Indoor events can serve food or drinks, but venues must follow the same indoor service guidelines as bars and restaurants.

Places of Worship
• Indoor capacity is limited to 40%, with no more than 50 people in any one space.
• Special events, both indoors and outdoors, are capped at no more than 25% capacity or 25 people, while following indoor dining regulations.

Health and Fitness Centers
• Indoor spaces are limited to 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space.
• Group classes of 15 or fewer can resume under the 40% capacity restriction. Outdoor classes can accommodate up to 50 people, with social distancing observed.
• Locker rooms and showers can remain open if strict and frequent cleaning measures are in place. Other accommodations where social distancing is not possible, including saunas, hot tubs and steam rooms, must remain closed.

Indoor and Outdoor Recreation
• Indoor spaces are limited to 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space.
• Outdoor spaces, including parks, may accommodate up to 100 people or 40% capacity, whichever is fewer, with social distancing observed.
• Zoos and indoor museums are limited to 25% occupancy.

Movie Theaters and Performance Venues
• Indoor spaces are limited to 40% capacity, with no more than 50 people in any one space.

Retail Stores
• Grocery stores and pharmacies can operate at 50% capacity, and all other stores are limited to 40% capacity. (Note: Big box stores that sell a combination of general retail, groceries and/or pharmacies among other goods must operate at 40% capacity.)
• Alcohol sales from establishments with a Packaged Goods license must end at 9 p.m.

Personal Services
• Indoor capacity is limited to 40%, with no more than 50 people in any one space.
• Face coverings can be removed only for services that require their removal, but employees must wear both a mask and eye protection.
• Physical, occupational and massage therapy are allowed.

Keep in mind that face coverings are still required in public spaces. Learn more about the city’s reopening plan at chicago.gov/reopening and find a detailed list of guidelines for all businesses in the City of Chicago here.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has also approved all youth sports to resume play at Chicago schools, clubs, recreational leagues and centers, and park district sports programs. Find updated state guidance here. The Illinois High School Association released a sports schedule for the remainder of the school year, but it’s ultimately up to the administration at your child’s school to decide when teams can begin practices and games.

I hope this news provides some relief to businesses, restaurants and residents across the city. Thanks to masking and social distancing efforts, we are making progress: We are now just one step away from the “Post-pandemic” phase and a return to normalcy.

Now, we must focus on staying the course. Please continue to wear a mask, wash your hands and practice social distancing, and when it is your turn, please get the vaccine.

Thank you for your continued efforts to protect your friends, your family and your community. As we proceed with the vaccine distribution plan, I will make sure you have accurate, up-to-date information on our city’s progress. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

Tony Munoz
State Senator | 1st District

Dear Friend,


I’m reaching out to check in on you and your loved ones.


The holiday season can be a stressful time in any given year—even without a pandemic—and I want you to know you aren’t alone. If you are in need of emotional support during this difficult time, text “TALK” to 552020 for free, anonymous help from a counselor, available 24/7.


I also wanted to share a few other updates and resources you may find helpful. Below, you’ll find information on an upcoming webinar, details on state service changes, and a message from the Illinois State Treasurer.


If you have questions about these topics or any other issues facing our community, please don’t hesitate to contact my office at 773-869-9050 or email us here.

 

Remember to take care of your physical and mental health during this time. We are all in this together.


Sincerely,

munozsig2 

Tony Munoz

State Senator | District 1

 

Upcoming workplace safety webinar

The Illinois Department of Labor is hosting a free webinar Wednesday, Dec. 16 from 9 a.m. to noon that will provide a comprehensive overview of Illinois OSHA, along with other important topics related to the COVID-19 and the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Participants will also have the chance to speak to Illinois OSHA enforcement officers directly to get answers to their most pressing questions. Register to join the webinar here.


Support for students and teachers

The Illinois State Board of Education has launched a new program to provide better mental health resources for students and education staff in Illinois. The Resilience Education to Advance Community Healing (REACH) program will offer training to help educators, school counselors and community members address students’ mental health needs, as well as support their own personal and professional well-being during the pandemic and beyond. Learn more about the program and other mental health resources here.

Driver services facilities closed until Jan. 5

 

The secretary of state’s office announced driver services facilities will remain closed to most motorists until Jan. 5 due to the pandemic. Some facilities will be open to CDL holders and new drivers, and select others will be offering drive-thru license plate sticker renewals. However, Illinois drivers are encouraged to skip the line and take advantage of 24/7 online services—including sticker, license and ID renewals—at www.cyberdriveillinois.com.


Advice from the state treasurer’s office

Gift cards are a great way to please a tough-to-buy-for friend or make online shopping easy, but it’s important that you’re familiar with the rules and risks of these stocking stuffers. The Illinois State Treasurer urges gift card recipients to spend the money as soon as possible—waiting for a rainy day may result in inactivity fees or unexpected expirations. You should also treat the gift card like cash, and report lost or stolen cards to law enforcement and the card’s issuer. Find more financial tips and resources at www.IllinoisTreasurer.gov.

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Contact Info

Springfield Office:
323A State Capitol Bldg.
Springfield, IL 62706
(217) 782-9415

Chicago Office:
1836 W. 35th St. 1st Fl.
Chicago, IL 60609
(773) 869-9050