Governor’s Office COVID-19 Q & A
June 11, 2020
Q: Since downstate Illinois is not yet in Phase 4, what other options will small businesses have that did not receive any grants and are ready to close?
A: The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) understands the hardship that many businesses are facing. Economic pain is being felt across nearly every industry, but this has been especially difficult for small businesses.
The State of Illinois, led by DCEO, put out several programs to help small businesses stay afloat during this difficult time. The following programs are still taking applications:
• The Downstate Stabilization Grant Fund https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/CommunityInfrastructure/Pages/DownstateSmBizStabilizaition.aspx
• Rebuild Illinois Public Infrastructure, Economic Development, and Shovel Ready Sites https://www2.illinois.gov/dceo/CommunityServices/CommunityInfrastructure/Pages/RebuildIllinois_Programs.aspx
These efforts are also ongoing:
• Get Hired Illinois – an online job matching portal https://www2.illinois.gov/GetHired/Pages/default.aspx
• Ramped up customer business support through our hotline, chat box, and email
o In the last 2 months, the DCEO Frontline Team has handled 45,000 inquiries. 20x the same time frame last year.
Medical Licensing Exam
Q: The National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), the company that writes the medical licensing exam, has refused to offer exams at alternative locations now that Prometric, the company they partner with to host the exams, are closed due to the pandemic. Medical students have reached out to legislators expressing concern that they do not know if their exams will be held. Can the exams be considered “essential” in order to proceed? A: According to the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) website, Prometric has resumed testing on site-by-site basis in accordance with state/local laws and social distancing guidelines. This would include USMLE Step 1 and Step 3. USMLE will be issuing guidance on Step 2 which requires human to human interaction. Applicants should be directing questions to USMLE.
Please see this web link https://covid.usmle.org/ for USMLE coronavirus information and this web link https://www.prometric.com/corona-virus-update to reach the Prometric site.
Summer Meal Programs
Q: Does the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) have any guidance on the summer meals program for free and reduced meals that community organizations administer? A: Yes, the ISBE Summer Food Service Program provides healthy meals and snacks to children and teens age 18 and younger at hundreds of sites across Illinois. Families can find their nearest summer meals site by calling (800) 359-2163, texting “FoodIL" to 877-877, or visiting summermealsillinois.org. You can read more about this initiative on this website https://www.isbe.net/Lists/News/NewsDisplay.aspx?ID=1322.
Other guidance/resources available under “What’s New?” at www.isbe.net/nutrition include:
• COVID-19: Child Nutrition Response Waivers and Q&As https://www.isbe.net/Documents/waivers-chart.pdf
• Meal Pattern Flexibilities Extended to July 31, 2020 https://www.isbe.net/Documents/033020-waiver-CNP.pdf
• USDA Extends Three Flexibilities for Summer https://www.isbe.net/Documents/051520waiverextensions.pdf
• Summer Food Service Program: Annual Sponsor Trainings https://www.isbe.net/Pages/Nutrition-and-Wellness-Resources.aspx
• USDA INTERACTIVE MAP: Find Meals for Kids When Schools are Closed https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids
• Illinois List https://www.fns.usda.gov/meals4kids
Please visit this web link https://www.isbe.net/nutrition for “What’s New?” announcements and resources from the ISBE Nutrition Department.