childcare mask 2 052920SPRINGFIELD – After hearing concerns from childcare providers about the financial impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on them, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) made it a priority to ensure funding was available to keep them afloat.

The General Assembly recently approved this year’s budget, contained in Senate Bill 264, which provides funds for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Grant Program for childcare and daycare providers who have had to close their businesses during the current pandemic.

“My colleagues and I recognized the challenges childcare providers have faced during this unprecedented time,” Bennett said. “Parents have to be able to go back to work and concentrate on what they’re doing in order to support their family so childcare is critical. I’m glad we were able to provide support by designating funds to this pressing issue.”

Childcare centers are one of the many types of businesses that were widely affected by the closures required during the COVID-19 outbreak. Currently, childcare providers can only operate at a limited capacity to care for children of essential workers.

The grants will be distributed through the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity once the program is established and funds are made available.

Jones cvd testing 041520CHAMPAIGN – The COVID-19 testing site at the Market Place Shopping Center in Champaign reopened Wednesday morning after being closed earlier in the week, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced.

“As we continue to fight the spread of coronavirus, testing remains a top priority,” Bennett said. “This essential community service will help put a stop to this pandemic.”

All individuals with symptoms are encouraged to seek testing at these Community Based Testing Sites. Priority is given to first responders, health care workers, seniors, those with underlying conditions or with mild illness in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases.

Additional accommodations have been made for some individuals with or without COVID-like symptoms, such as healthcare workers, first responders, employees of correctional facilities, individuals exposed to confirmed COVID-19 patients, employees that support critical infrastructure (grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation), all local and state government employees, and individuals with compromised immune systems or chronic medical conditions.

The Illinois Department of Public Health said the following is what to know before seeking a test from the site:

  • This is a free service that can be obtained without a doctor’s referral. While this is a free service, people will be asked to show photo identification and healthcare employee or first responder ID/badge, if applicable.
  • Patients utilizing drive-thru testing sites must be seated at a functioning window. Once a person gets in line at the CBTS, they will not be permitted to exit their car. For the safety of the testing personnel, drive-thru sites will not be able to accommodate walk-up individuals.
  • Due to the demand for this service, IDPH anticipates there could be significant wait times associated with these drive-thru community-based testing sites. If someone is experiencing a medical emergency, they are urged to call their doctor or emergency department to seek immediate care and instructions.

The site is located in the parking lot of Market Place Shopping Center at 2000 N. Neil Street and will offer testing services seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m., or while daily supplies last.

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CHAMPAIGN – In response to the eruption of violence throughout the Champaign area this past weekend, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) released the following statement:

“I join my colleagues and concerned community members in feeling saddened and frustrated in George Floyd’s tragic death and the ongoing forms of hate and racism.

“What happened in Minnesota is horrific. As a country, we have a duty to help strengthen the trust between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve. When people come to peacefully protest, it is an expression of fear, grief, frustration and anger. But most importantly, it’s a call for change.

“I will continue to support those who are working to create a more just society. However, I will not defend those who are using this moment of despair to cause unnecessary violence, destruction and looting. While we seek a solution to end racism and injustice in our society, we must work together – not against each other.”

indexCHAMPAIGN – After restrictions were lifted for Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan to allow for outdoor dining, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) encourages people to support their local business owners.

“The economic impacts of this pandemic have been devastating to small businesses, especially those in the food service and hospitality industries,” Bennett said. “We have a responsibility to our local businesses to do all we can to get them going again. Now is the time to support our business owners and working people that make our community special.”

Since the first executive order issued on March 21, restaurants and bars had been forced to stop dine-in service to slow the spread of COVID-19. Earlier this month, the governor announced outdoor dining would now be permitted for regions that enter Phase 3 of the Restore Illinois plan. All four regions entered Phase 3 Friday, May 29.

“It’s critical that we continue to listen to the recommendations of our public health experts so we can continue to progress forward,” Bennett said. “Please be considerate and remember to wear your masks and keep six feet apart while waiting to reserve a table.”

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