News from the ITA

April 24, 2020


Pritzker Announces Stay at Home Order will Extend to May 30 with Modifications

Governor Pritzker announced yesterday during his daily press briefing that the stay at home order for Illinois will be extended through May 30 with modifications. The press release explained that the decision to modify and extend the stat at home order is based on data from scientists and health experts and after consulting with stakeholders across the state.

The new executive order will include the following modifications effective May 1:

OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO).

NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.
NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.
FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.
ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.
SCHOOLS:  Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

The Illinois Department of Public Health will also be issuing guidance to surgi-centers and hospitals to allow for certain elective surgeries for non-life-threatening conditions, starting on May 1. Facilities will need to meet specific criteria, including proper PPE, ensuring enough overall space for COVID-19 patients remains available, and testing of elective surgery patients to ensure COVID-19 negative status.

Grant Application Locations posted on Connect Illinois Website

The Illinois Office of Broadband posted a new map on the Connect Illinois website showing the proposed project locations for the grant applications submitted in the first round.  

According to the information posted, the purpose of the interactive “2020 Proposals Map” is to share basic information regarding the current Connect Illinois broadband grant program funding round with the general public, broadband providers, and interested stakeholders. Together, these projects requested more state funding than the $50 million available in “first round” grants. Proposals are being reviewed by the office's Merit Review Team and awards will be announced as soon as possible, following close examination of project merits. 

The website directs questions regarding this interactive map to [email protected]

The 2020 Proposals map posted on the Connect Illinois website also serves as notification of the project areas for any potential grant application challenges from existing providers. As always, feel free to contact Randy as well with any questions or concerns you may have.

IBHE & DCEO Seeking Information from Providers for WiFi Hotspot Locations

The Illinois Board of Higher Education and the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity are seeking information to include broadband provider WiFi hotspots on their new drive-up WiFi map tool.

The map is a result of a recent collaborative effort that the Illinois Board of Higher Education helped lead that involved the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, the Department of Innovation and Technology, the Illinois State Library, the Illinois Community College Board, and the Illinois State Board of Education. A few telephone and broadband companies/cooperatives have filled out the survey to include their respective WiFi hotspots included on the map. 

The interactive tool provides users with the following information for each WiFi hotspot: general instructions for using; specifics for logging in; and turn by turn driving directions through a link to Google Maps.

If your company/cooperative isn’t included on the interactive map and you have an available drive-up WiFi hotspot, feel free to fill out the survey at your convenience. It should take no more than 10 minutes to complete. Here is the link to the survey: Your survey responses will automatically populate the public-facing interactive tool. We also ask that you provide a link to the log-in instructions as well as any helpful hints for accessing a given drive-up WI-FI hotspot. The survey also asks for a few additional attributes for each hotspot, such as whether the given hotspot is temporary or more permanent, and whether web filters are applied.  

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact IBHE’s CIO, Eric Lichtenberger ([email protected]) at your convenience. 

Illinois Telecommunications Association

312 S. 4th Street, Suite 100

           Springfield, IL 62701             

 (217) 572-1262