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Two weeks, I’ll be fine. Four weeks, I’ll start worrying. Six weeks, I’m out of business.”

That’s what a Southern Illinois restaurant owner told me back in March, when governors across the country began issuing stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Now, we’re at eight weeks — and still counting. Our first priority has been, and always must be, keeping people safe. That’s why I voted in recent weeks for emergency funding to improve access to testing, accelerate research into treatments, protect our health care workers and first responders, and help those at risk in obtaining protective equipment.

What course will the virus take over the coming months? And when will we get back to a degree of normalcy? With every loss of human life a true tragedy, Southern Illinois has still been spared from the large scale outbreaks impacting metropolitan areas like New York and Chicago. We must continue to follow the science to ensure that remains the case.

At the same time, many of our small businesses and their employees are teetering on the edge, unsure when they can reopen and whether there will even be jobs to return to. Congress approved the Paycheck Protection Program, a lifeline that provides grants and loans to businesses in need. We also expanded unemployment benefits and provided stimulus payments to citizens who need it most. However, none of these is a permanent fix.

We need a roadmap that charts the course to recovery and saves our economy. That’s why I urged Gov. J.B. Pritzker to create a safe, regional and data-driven plan to reopen our state’s economy in phases, and to get the ball rolling now. This past week, Gov. Pritzker announced his regional plan, but I fear that too much uncertainty remains.

Across the country, Republican and Democrat governors are reopening their states as we speak. More than 40 states have started the process of reopening. We need that kind of certainty here in Illinois. Job creators and hardworking families need to get back to work. And, by the way, I believe Congress should be doing the same.

As essential workers like doctors, nurses, grocers and truck drivers continue working on the frontlines, the House of Representatives needs to do the same. The business of the American people is, indeed, essential business.

I have been conducting daily calls and video conferences with hospital leaders; health care providers; VA medical centers; educators; business owners; state, county and local officials. I’ve hosted a COVID-19 telephone town hall meeting. I’ve kept in close contact with constituents over social media and email. But nothing replaces a representative’s duty to be on the House floor, voting for his or her constituents’ interests.

Once we return to Washington for an extended period of time, there is no doubt that we will need to make adjustments. For example, we already know that votes on the floor will need to be staggered and committee hearings will need to be conducted different to reduce close contact. New technology will be considered to ensure that everyone is made safer while abiding by our constitutional obligations.

Where is Speaker Pelosi’s plan? Congress must get back to work sooner rather than later. Congress must do its job, and we must give as many Illinoisans as possible the chance to do theirs.

A dose of certainty goes a long way in uncertain times like these.