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CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to set new provisions of the Stay at Home Order to help local businesses reopen their doors.

Under the extension of the governor’s Stay at Home Order, which took effect May 1 with modifications, restrictions for essential and non-essential businesses were loosened, yet small businesses that weren’t deemed “essential” by the governor’s administration remain closed.

“If major retailers and grocery stores are deemed essential and left to follow the governor’s guidelines on their own, small businesses should have the same opportunity,” Bennett said. “While it's important that we follow health experts' recommendations and practice social distancing, small business owners are suffering and we need to provide stability and certainty for the weeks ahead.”

Bennett was joined by other downstate members in sending a formal letter to the governor’s office advocating for local municipalities and health departments to have a more active voice in this process.

Their proposal included modifications to the existing statewide order including, working with local officials; a business must demonstrate its ability to enforce the face covering requirement for all employees and customers; adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines per patron based on the square footage of the storefront or building; and ensure a thorough cleaning regimen with approved sanitizers and disinfectants.

“We need to incorporate our public health officers and local officials input on the statewide decisions being made,” Bennett said. “I am confident that we will be able to get our communities on the way to economic recovery under this new approach.”

C1629551 2772 42B6 A3CA 5E7862074EBECHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) urges Gov. JB Pritzker to rethink his decision to keep the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area closed for the remainder of the Stay at Home Order.

Bennett raised concerns in a letter to the governor after reviewing the list of parks set to reopen and learning the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area wasn’t set to reopen.

“With appropriate social distancing and other commonsense measures kept in place, it makes no sense to keep the Middle Fork State Fish and Wildlife Area closed,” Bennett said. “I urge the governor to rethink his decision and allow our communities to access this state park.”

At an April 23 press briefing, the governor announced a modified extension to the Stay at Home Order, including a phased reopening of state parks under guidance from the Illinois Department of Natural Resources.

Bennett was joined by other downstate members in sending a formal letter to the governor’s office emphasizing that many residents are feeling disconnected during the pandemic and rely on outdoor spaces to keep calm.

He believes that recreation is at risk for all Illinoisans, but particularly those who live downstate.

“Getting out to enjoy the outdoors is essential for people’s mental health and wellbeing during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “It’s important that we create a safe path for people to do things in rural areas so they can cooperate with the governor’s order.”

CASA Event

CHAMPAIGN – A virtual event to raise awareness and draw attention to child abuse, hosted by the Illinois Association of Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA), will take place Wednesday, April 29.

State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) will join statewide stakeholders on a Zoom call for the first Hands Across Illinois event to raise awareness and draw attention to child abuse.

Bennett and stakeholders will educate Illinois communities about child abuse, provide resources on how to report abuse, and challenge folks to support this important work, especially during this crisis.

“Strengthening families and preventing child abuse requires a shared commitment of individuals and organizations in every community,” Bennett said. “Now, more than ever, we need to raise awareness about child abuse prevention.”

Illinois CASA will livestream the event on their Facebook page at 12 p.m. For more information, please visit Illinois CASA’s website at illinoiscasa.org.

CHAMPAIGN — In an effort to raise awareness of online safety during Child Abuse Prevention Month, State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is offering tips on how images6CBWTLQEparents can guide their children on making safe choices while using the internet.
 
“The internet has become a vital tool during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “While screen time is on the rise, this is a great time to talk with your kids about digital dangers.”
 
In addition to the economic and social stressors and uncertainty, parents are now faced with added challenges in keeping children safe online. While it is important to talk to children of all ages about online safety, the Crimes Against Children Research Center has found that teenagers are most vulnerable to online predators.
 
Common tips to teach children about online safety include being cautious about who to send personal information to, being careful about what they post to social media and reminding them that not everyone online is who they claim to be.
 
“It’s extremely important to ensure children’s online activities are safely monitored right now,” Bennett said. "I highly encourage anyone with children to take a moment to set some guidelines.”
 
For more tips and information, please visit the Crimes Against Children Research Center at http://unh.edu/ccrc/internet-crimes/safety_ed.html

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