News from the ITA

November 19, 2020


Pritzker Announces Statewide COVID-19 Restrictions Beginning Friday

Governor JB Pritzker announced the state would put additional restrictions in place for the entire state beginning Friday, November 20 in response to the increasing spread of  COVID-19. All 11 regions of the state will be under Tier 3 resurgence mitigations that include a 25% capacity limit for retail establishments, 50% capacity limit for grocery stores and pharmacies, a prohibition on indoor dining and pausing all indoor group sports and recreational activities.

The new tier of mitigations aims to limit gatherings and encourages people to stay home to the greatest extent possible, while permitting some industries to remain open at significantly reduced capacities with proper safety measures in place. The state isn’t returning to a sweeping stay at home order, however, like the one imposed at the outset of the pandemic where most retail establishments were closed along with personal care businesses.

Pritzker said the worsening numbers around the state justified statewide mitigations rather than applying them on a regional basis as the state had been doing. Pritzker said each region of the state can have the restrictions eased separately if they show progress controlling the virus.

Additional information and resources are available on the COVID-19 Resources webpage on the ITA website.

General Assembly Cancels Fall Veto Session Due to Pandemic

Citing the increasing spread of COVID-19 throughout Illinois, the Illinois General Assembly has canceled the fall Veto Session that was scheduled to meet this week and the first week in December. The legislature is expected to return in January to finish any business and adjourn the 101st General Assembly before the inauguration of members and start of the 102nd General Assembly January 13, 2021.

Broadband Advisory Council

The Broadband Advisory Council met November 18. BAC Chair and Illinois Office of Broadband Director, Matt Schmit, provided information on several initiatives underway in Illinois. He said that companies that received grants in round one of the Connect Illinois broadband competitive matching grant program were continuing to move forward in the process and a Notice of Funding Opportunity for round two of the Connect Illinois grant program had been posted. Applications for round two are due March 1, 2021.

Schmit also outlined a digital equity package including round 2 of the Connected Communities grant program Information on each of the programs is available on the Connect Illinois website. The smaller digital equity grant programs are separate and apart from the $400 million Connect Illinois infrastructure grant program, but are designed to compliment it:

  • Broadband Regional Engagement for Adoption and Digital Equity (Broadband READY) grants are intended to create a statewide network of regional community technology centers with a focus on computer recycling and refurbishment to provide computers at reduced or no-cost to low-income families as well as digital literacy, education and adoption. Eligible applicants may receive grants up to $50,000. The total grant program funding for this category is $250,000 and individual awards of up.
  • The Office of Broadband will also partner with the National Digital Inclusion Alliance (NDIA) and PCs for People to establish digital navigator capacity within communities around the state. Navigators will work to address the digital inclusion process - including home connectivity, devices, and digital skills. A Notice of Collaboration Opportunity for the Digital Navigator program is posted on the Connect Illinois website.

The Broadband Advisory Council also heard from three researchers working with the Office of Broadband on a broadband affordability study required by the state legislature. The researchers explained the methodology they would be using to conduct the study. Matt Schmit said the results of their research will be provided to the BAC for discussion at the December 16 BAC meeting. The broadband affordability study will be included in the BAC Annual Report to the General Assembly prior to January 1, 2020.

Press Release - Governor Pritzker announces commitment top digital equity with $750,000 investment to expand access and adoption of high-speed Internet 

Illinois Telecommunications Association

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