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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) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

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 not 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.

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CHAMPAIGN — With the coronavirus outbreak hitting workers and the economy across the state and country, State Senator Scott Bennett highlighted relief options to help people struggling to pay their student loans that could benefit nearly 140,000 Illinoisans.

“Folks struggling financially during this pandemic should not have to choose between paying their student loan payment and putting food on the table,” said Bennett, a member of the Senate Higher Education Committee. “Borrowers in need of assistance should contact their student loan provider immediately to identify the options that are appropriate to their circumstances.”

Under the initiative, spearheaded by Governor JB Pritzker and Secretary Deborah Hagan of the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation, people with commercially-owned Federal Family Education Program Loans or privately held student loans who are having a hard time making their payments due to COVID-19 will be eligible for expanded relief.

Borrowers who need assistance are asked to immediately contact their student loan provider to set up a plan.

Relief options are based on a person’s individual needs and include:

  • Providing a minimum of 90 days of forbearance,
  • Waiving late payment fees,
  • Ensuring that no borrower is subject to negative credit reporting,
  • Ceasing debt collection lawsuits for 90 days,
  • Working with borrower to enroll them in other borrower assistance programs, such as income-based repayment.

If a person is having problems contacting their student loan servicer, they can contact the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation Division of Banking at 217-785-2900 or the attorney general’s student loan helpline at 1-800-455-2456.

CHAMPAIGN – Each April, individuals and organizations recognize the importance of volunteering. State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) is encouraging local residents to volunteer to help give back to the community during this public health crisis.

“Volunteers are needed, and your help is crucial during this pandemic,” Bennett said. “You can still safely help your neighbor and the community while social distancing. Any support you can give will be incredibly valuable to support those working on the front line.”  

A list of available volunteer opportunities are available on the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service website at Opportunities include community-based opportunities such as meal delivery and telephone wellness checks for local seniors through AgeSmart Community Resources.

Additionally, blood centers around the state are facing a decrease in blood donation appointments and cancellation of blood drives due to COVID-19. The American Red Cross is asking healthy and eligible residents to consider donating blood. To find a center near you, please visit

Bennett is also asking residents and businesses to check their supplies for any new, unopened personal protective equipment (PPE) such as N-95 masks, gloves, goggles, hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes that can be donated to local fire departments, police departments or hospitals. People who have items on hand they wish to donate should email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and include their address and the quantity of each item.

“Our friends and neighbors need us right now,” Bennett said. “Please check up on them and help those most vulnerable.”
CHAMPAIGN – State Senator Scott Bennett (D-Champaign) announced the top two winners and recipients of new art kits from his Earth Day Art Contest Thursday.

In March, Senator Bennett launched an educational art contest in response to school closures to help keep students occupied at home. Students ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade in Champaign County created original pieces of artwork centered around the theme of climate action in recognition of Earth Day on April 22.

The finalists’ artwork were divided into two groups, elementary and middle school, and put to a vote on Bennett’s Facebook page, where students and residents had the opportunity to choose the winners. The winning pieces will be put on display in the senator’s office and they will receive new art kits. The winners are Kathryn Williams and Samara McArthur. 

“Schools are closed and kids are at home needing activities, so this was an educational opportunity that also promoted a little fun,” Bennett said. “I want to congratulate the winners and thank all of the students that participated in the contest. I look forward to displaying Kathryn and Samara’s work in my office and hope their new art kits will continue to encourage their artistic abilities.”
Bennett is now challenging students to print an ‘All In Illinois’ sign to color and display in their window.
“With the extension of the governor’s Stay at Home Order, take the pledge and stay in,” Bennett said. “This is a great opportunity to remind the community that we are all in this together.”
 Elementary School
 Kathryn Williams, Grade 5, Countryside School, Champaign
Middle Scool
 Samara McArthur, Grade 6, Franklin Middle School, Champaign


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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