49628500797 9bd72858d7 bCHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is pleased to congratulate the University of Illinois for their innovative work to create a saliva test for COVID-19, which is now operating under FDA Emergency Use Authorization.

“I am so proud of the University of Illinois for their innovation and commitment to help combat the COVID-19 pandemic,” Bennett said. “As the need for testing continues to grow, this is a tremendous step toward making testing easier and more accessible, not just in Illinois, but across the country.”

After months of frustration over testing shortages and delays, researchers from the University of Illinois worked diligently to offer a faster, less expensive testing option.

Unlike most coronavirus tests, which involve a long, invasive nasopharyngeal swab, the I-COVID test asks those being tested to drool a small amount into a sterile test tube. The I-COVID test yields results in hours, even at high testing volumes.

The university has performed more than 50,000 tests since making walk-up testing available to faculty members, staff and students in July, and expects to test up to 20,000 people a day when the fall semester begins Aug. 24.

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CHAMPAIGN – In an effort to understand and address the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on local businesses, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) launches district-wide tour of businesses across Vermilion and Champaign Counties.

“Small businesses are the heart of our community,” Bennett said. “Some businesses are going above and beyond to ensure the health and safety of their staff and customers, so I want to put a spotlight on those businesses that are working hard to create a safe environment.”

Bennett said he hopes to tour restaurants, retail shops and businesses that provide personal services, like spas and salons. All tours will be in compliance with the state’s public health guidelines and restrictions, including wearing a mask and social distancing.

Applications are available at http://SenatorBennett.com/SmallBusinessTours. Bennett plans to start the program in the coming weeks and requests businesses to submit requests soon. Once the application is received, a member of Bennett’s team will respond with additional details.

“The pandemic has taken its toll on small businesses,” Bennett said. “We need to continue to do all that we can to ensure our businesses have the resources they need to be successful.”

With questions, businesses in Champaign County should call Bennett’s Champaign office at 217-355-5252 and Vermilion County business owners should contact his Danville office at 217-442-5252.

DANVILLE – S123456789tate Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) extended congratulations to five small businesses that have been awarded a combined $100,000 in grants through the Business Interruption Grant (BIG) program.

“COVID-19 has caused so many challenges and uncertainties for our small business community,” Bennett said. “I’m thrilled these businesses were selected to receive BIG grants so they can keep their doors open during these tough times.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded a total of $46 million to 2,655 small businesses in the first round of BIG funding. The BIG program offers grants to Illinois restaurants and bars, barbershops and salons, and fitness centers that have suffered pandemic-related losses, with a focus on businesses in the hardest-hit areas of the state.

First round grants range from $10,000 to $20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent and utilities. The funds may also be used to cover pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, training and new technology.

The following Vermilion County businesses received grants:

  • Anytime Fitness, Danville - $20,000
  • Danville Family YMCA, Danville - $20,000
  • Fujiyama Steakhouse, Danville - $20,000
  • Henk’s Bait & Bite, Danville - $20,000
  • Lincoln Lanes, Danville - $20,000

To ensure ongoing support for Illinois small businesses, the State of Illinois has planned future rounds of funding. The BIG program is the largest state-run economic support program formed in response to the COVID-19 economic downturn. The full list of grant recipients is available here.

small biz open 071520CHAMPAIGN – In a victory for the Champaign-Urbana business community, Business Interruption Grants have been awarded to 50 local businesses severely impacted by the COVID-19 closures, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced Thursday.

“Our small business community continues to be hit hard by the COVID-19 crisis,” Bennett said. “These grants offer assistance to businesses at a time they need it most, and hopefully will allow them to get back on their feet.”

Businesses from the Champaign-Urbana area received a combined $910,000 in grants. Grant recipients span a wide range of industries, including restaurants, retail, personal care services and more.

Grants range from $10,000-$20,000 and may be used to help businesses with working capital expenses, including payroll costs, rent, utilities and equipment, as well as other unexpected costs to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, such as PPE, training and new technology. The program placed a special focus on small businesses in industries that continue to experience economic hardship as a result of the pandemic.

“There are still businesses that need help,” Bennett said. “Businesses that have suffered significant losses during this crisis should keep an eye out for future rounds of the BIG program.”

Businesses can learn more about upcoming rounds of BIG grants by visiting the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity’s website at Illinois.gov/DCEO.


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Office Info

Champaign Office:
45 E. University Suite 206
Champaign, IL 61820
P: (217) 355-5252

Danville Office:
201 N. Vermilion St. Suite 323
Danville, IL 61832
P: (217) 442-5252

Springfield Office:
311C State House
Springfield, IL 62706
P: (217) 782-2507