The rapid spread of COVID-19 across the United States, as well as the necessary state government responses to prevent its further spread, has seriously impacted the lives of almost everyone across the nation. Hundreds of thousands of Americans have been infected with the virus, and tens of thousands have died. To stop the rapid spread of the virus, governors across the country have shut down all activity except that which is considered “essential.” Understandably, this has caused major disruption for many individuals, families and small business owners.
At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg we want to help you and your family through the uncertainties and challenges brought about during unprecedented time. Along those lines, we have assembled a list of COVID-19 resources for those who are doing their best to deal with the crisis but need some extra guidance or help.
General COVID-19 Information
- What is COVID-19?
COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus, is an infectious disease that is spread through the air. When an infected person coughs or sneezes, small droplets are released into the air. If someone breathes these droplets in, they can also become infected. COVID-19 can also spread when someone touches an infected surface and then touches their eyes, nose or mouth.
- What are the Symptoms of COVID-19?
Symptoms of the disease are similar to the flu, and include a dry cough, low-grade fever and difficulty breathing.
- Who Is Most at Risk?
According to health experts, most who contract the novel coronavirus will recover. However, regardless of age or health condition, anyone who gets COVID-19 may need to be hospitalized. The disease presents an increased risk for those over 60 years of age, those who are immunocompromised, and those individuals with certain pre-existing health conditions, including:
- Serious heart conditions
- Chronic lung conditions
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- How to Stay Safe?
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends that everyone:
- Stay at home and self-isolate if they are feeling unwell;
- Cover their nose and mouth with a disposable tissue when coughing or sneezing;
- Wash their hands regularly for at least 20 seconds with liquid soap and water;
- Follow social distancing protocol by avoiding close contact (within six feet) with those who may have the virus; and
- Wear a mask to prevent the spread of the virus, even if you do not have symptoms.
- Learn More about COVID-19
The COVID-19 crisis evolves daily, and so do the suggestions on how to best mitigate against its spread. To stay on top of all updates, occasionally visit the following links:
- Center for Disease Control
- World Health Organization
- Governor Pritzker’s Executive Orders
- Latest COVID-19 United States statistics
- Latest COVID-19 Illinois statistics
- Current Restrictions
Governor Pritzker has ordered Illinois residents to stay at home. Executive Order 2020-10 requires all residents to stay home, with exceptions for essential needs or business activities. In addition, gatherings of 10 people or more are prohibited.
- Current Statistics
Below are the current COVID-19 statistics, as of April 18, 2020:
- Cases: 27,575
- Deaths: 1,134
- Total tests performed: 130,163
Current statistics can be found on the Illinois Department of Public Health website.
Information of Illinois Courts:
The novel coronavirus has resulted in the closure of most courts. Those courts that remain open are generally only handling emergency matters. Below are links to various resources related to the Illinois judicial system:
- Illinois Courts COVID-19 information page
- Circuit Court of Cook County
- Online case search for Cook County
Information on Other Illinois Government Services:
The Illinois Department of Public Health maintains a webpage dedicated to the COVID-19 pandemic, including up-to-date guidance on how to stay safe.
Resources for Families and Individuals:
The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everyone in Illinois in many different ways. Regardless of the challenges you and your loved ones are facing, you are not alone. Below is a list of resources that may help you through this difficult time:
- Student Loan Information:
Under the recently passed relief acts, many student loan borrowers will have their interest rate reduced to zero and some will have their loans placed into an emergency forbearance for the next few months. For those who qualify, payments will not need to be made. Learn more about student loan relief by the Federal Student Aid webpage or by contacting your loan provider.
- Food-Security Information:
The Greater Chicago Food Depository remains open during the COVID-19 crisis and provides food to anyone who needs it. The organization has several locations in around Chicago. Those in need of assistance can visit the Association’s website. Additionally, Meals-on-Wheels may be able to deliver food to those in need. The “Application for Benefits Eligibility” or ABE system, is up and running for those who may qualify for public assistance. For those without a place to stay, the Homeless Shelter Directory can help with locating a shelter.
- Stimulus Check Information:
Starting in the middle of April, the United States Treasury began issuing stimulus checks to qualifying Americans. Each qualifying individual will receive $1,200, and those with children under 16 years of age will receive $500 per child. Couples can receive up to $2,400 plus $500 per child. However, there are income limits, and individuals and families that make over a certain amount may not qualify or may qualify for a reduced stimulus check. To learn more about the stimulus checks, visit the I.R.S. website. On April 15, 2020, the I.R.S. created a website where individuals can check the status of their stimulus check.
- For Victims of Domestic Violence
Due to the stay-at-home order, couples are now spending more time together. While this may be a good thing for some couples, for those trapped in an abusive relationship, home can start to feel like a prison. Those who are in immediate danger should not wait until the crisis passes and should call 911 and report the abuse to the police immediately. Here is a link to list of resources for the victims of domestic abuse. Those leaving abusive relationships may find additional assistance through the Community Service Centers.
- Additional information for Individuals and Families:
- Volunteer and Donation Opportunities:
For those fortunate enough to have their health and a steady stream of income, below is a list of volunteer opportunities.
- My Block, My Hood, My City
- Lakeview Pantry
- New Life Centers
- Medical Volunteers Needed
- American Red Cross
- Top Box Foods
Below is a list of resources for those who have the willingness and ability to donate:
- Donate to the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund
- A Better Chicago’s Emergency Relief Fund
- Support CPS Students- Compassion Fund for COVID-19 Closures
- Schedule a blood donation with the American Red Cross
- Donate PPE & Medical Supplies in Chicago
The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a webpage to help those who have Personal Protective Equipment and wish to donate it to healthcare providers.
Resources for Chicago Employees:
As a result of the COVID-19 crisis, millions of Americans have lost their jobs. The state and federal government have stepped in to help workers during this challenging time. For example, paid leave may be available for those who need to take time off to care for sick loved ones or young children. Below is a list of resources for employees:
- Who is an essential worker in Illinois?
- Guidance for employees of the City of Chicago
- Arise – Chicago (employee rights)
- FAQs regarding Illinois unemployment benefits
- Skills for Chicagoland’s Future (employment resource)
- Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership (employment resource)
- Guidance for Chicago grocery stores
- Chicago Labor Standards
Support for Illinois Small Businesses:
The COVID-19 pandemic has jeopardized many small businesses across the state. Over the last few months, lawmakers have passed a series of bills that provide much-needed help to small business owners. Perhaps the most important assistance comes through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
- Finding Help Paying Employees During the Crisis
For many small business owners, employees are like family. It can be devastating to tell loyal, hardworking employees that they will no longer be receiving a paycheck. It can also jeopardize the continued success of a business. Thus, one of the most important parts of the CARES Act for small businesses is the paycheck protection program (PPP). The PPP offers employers loans to cover payroll during the crisis. If employers are able to maintain payroll throughout the crisis, the loan may be forgiven. Learn more about the PPP here.
- Economic Injury Disaster Loans
Lawmakers understand that difficulty that the coronavirus pandemic has on small businesses due to no fault of the business owner. Thus, under the CARES Act, lawmakers have loosened the restrictions to obtain an Economic injury Disaster Loan (EIDL). These low-interest loans can be up to $2 million. Most small business types are eligible, including sole proprietorships, limited liability corporations, independent contractors and cooperative or employee-owned businesses. To learn more about EIDLs, visit the Small Business Association’s website on EIDLs.
- Other Support for Small Businesses
While the PPP and EIDL programs are perhaps the most helpful programs for many small businesses, the CARES Act provides additional help. To learn more about what options small business owners have, visit the SBA’s website on the CARES Act.
- Best Practices
The Food and Drug Administration set up a webpage discussing best practices for food-service establishments, including restaurants and delivery services. In addition, the Illinois Department of Public Health has assembled a list of best practices for the following industries:
- Daycare guidance
- Elective surgery guidance
- EMS and first responder guidance
- Homeless shelter guidance
- Guidance for hotels and motels
- Guidance for faith-based facilities and houses of worship
- Guidance for long-term care facilities
- Additional Information for Small Business Owners:
We Want to Help in Any Way We Can
At Briskman Briskman & Greenberg we want to help you and your family through the COVID-19 crisis in any way we can. As Illinois personal injury lawyers, we may not be able to help with all the difficulties you are facing, but we are happy to do everything we can. If you are an essential worker or healthcare professional and have contracted COVID-19, we may be able to help you pursue a claim for compensation. Give us a call to discuss whatever issue you are dealing with. We represent clients across Illinois in personal injury and workers’ compensation matters. To learn more, call 877-595-4878 or contact us through our online form.