WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Congressmen Mike Bost (IL-12), Adam Kinzinger (IL-16), Rodney Davis (IL-13), John Shimkus (IL-15), and Darin LaHood (IL-18), sent a letter to Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker urging a plan that would begin a safe, phased reopening of businesses critical to the state’s economy. As noted in their letter, the coronavirus pandemic has impacted different parts of the state in different ways, and a safe and sensible reopening plan must reflect those differences.

Following last week’s announcement of an extension of the ‘Stay-at-Home’ order for the State of Illinois until May 30, 2020, the Illinois GOP delegation heard from their concerned constituents and sent the attached letter to Governor Pritzker. This week, the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) announced the highest number of deaths that the State of Illinois has seen in a single day since the pandemic began. The Congressmen addressed this in their joint statement below:

“Illinois is a diverse state and the coronavirus has impacted communities in different ways. As we work to start the phased reopening here at home, we cannot do so with a blanket, one-size-fits-all plan. Sadly, this week marked the deadliest day Illinois has faced with the coronavirus since the pandemic began, and yet we still have several counties reporting zero cases of COVID-19. As we continue to face rising numbers of coronavirus in certain areas, we need to continue getting the necessary resources to aid those areas. But we also need to recognize that areas without any cases of the virus need to be treated differently.

“We’re urging Governor Pritzker to take a regional approach by starting the reopening process in low-risk areas. With improved and increased testing, and an emergency response plan in place should an outbreak occur, the Governor should move forward on allowing Illinoisans the opportunity to make informed decisions on how they can safely return to work. The federal government has done a great deal to help the State of Illinois, like funding for health care providers and economic boosts to small businesses, families, individuals, and more. Now is the time for Governor Pritzker to step up with a plan to reopen Illinois that prioritizes the health of our people and our economy. We stand ready to work with the Governor on this effort.”

Every Member of the Illinois GOP delegation voted in favor of the four different phases of legislation to provide financial aid and relief caused by the coronavirus pandemic. These legislative efforts have provided dedicated funding to the State of Illinois for testing, personal protective equipment (PPE), and much needed relief to hospitals, schools, small businesses, farmers, and families.

In terms of PPE, the federal government has already provided the State of Illinois with more than 1.6 million N-95 masks, over 5.5 million surgical masks and 2.3 million surgical gowns, and almost 70 million medical gloves.

As a result of the CARES Act and the funding programs it created, nearly 70,000 small businesses in Illinois have received over $15.9 billion in loans from the Small Business Administration (SBA) in just a matter of weeks. The SBA and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) continue to issue these Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans and Economic Impact Payments to families and proprietors across the state and the country, addressing the needs caused by the impacts of COVID-19.