*Updated: May 21, 2020
This page contains information and links for Cook County programs and services that may be helpful for residents significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, focusing on the Northwest Suburbs of Cook County’s 15th District. Also listed below are community, county, and state resources that may be helpful to you. Some of these programs and services are available to everyone regardless of where you live. Although other restrictions may apply. This page will continue getting updated as more resources develop. Please see our disclaimer below.
I am committed to providing updates on local, state, and federal resources designed to assist the community with challenges related to COVID-19. You can sign up for my newsletter, follow me on Facebook (@CommissionerKevinBMorrison) and Twitter (@KBMorrison15), or email Kevin.Morrision@cookcountyil.gov to make sure you receive the latest information.
Commissioner Kevin Morrison’s Self-Quarantine Statement: In response to concerns with spread of COVID-19 and following recommendations from the CDC and Cook County Department of Public Health, myself and my staff have been working remotely whenever possible since Monday, March 16, 2020, and will continue to encourage and practice social distancing for as long as needed to protect the safety and health of our constituents and communities. Read the whole statement here.
Stay updated with Cook County text alerts and dedicated hotline and email
Cook County’s COVID-19 information page with actions and guidance: Stay updated by visiting, www.cookcountyil.gov. Residents can also sign up for text alerts to receive the latest updates regarding COVID-19 or contact the dedicated hotline and email.
Cook County Department of Public Health (CCDPH) COVID-19 Hotline (effective March 19, 2020):
- To receive text alerts, text “alertcook” to 888-777
- Call 708-633-3319
- Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday
- For up-to-date information on COVID-19. Live translation services are available in all major languages.
CCDPH COVID-19 Email
- Effective Thursday, Mar. 19, 2020
- Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hours of operation: 8:30 a.m. -4:30 p.m. Monday thru Friday.
- This is another option for obtaining the most up to date information
Cook County COVID-19 Response Plan: From Rapid Response to Equitable Recovery
Documents our initial, rapid response to the COVID-19 crisis and outlines our priorities for an equitable recovery over the next several months. The full document and overview are available for download. Please fill out this feedback form to provide input.
Medical Examiner COVID-19 Dashboard
Provides direct, transparent access to critical information about coronavirus deaths in the County for public health agencies, medical professionals, first responders, journalists, policymakers and residents.
Interactive Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) Map
The SVI Map is an interactive way to share information with first responders, public health officials and the public about which communities in Cook County will likely need the most support during a catastrophic event such as a pandemic.
Additional COVID-19 Resource Websites
The State of Illinois has created a website focused on providing critical COVID-19 information, resources, and news. Please visit at Coronavirus.illinois.gov.
Review Guidance on Handling Debt Payments if struggling financially due to COVID-19.
Every healthcare provider in the state can sign up for SIREN, the DPH emergency notification
tool. To sign up for SIREN, send an email to DPH.SIREN@illinois.gov.
Learn more about the Illinois COVID-19 Response Fund that will support non-profits across the state who are serving individuals, families, and communities hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic.
In a Domestic Violence situation? Get help by calling the new State of Illinois Hotline at (877) 863-6338
Take the pledge and be “All In for Illinois”. Change your profile picture, print off a window sign, and watch messages from fellow Illinoisans! Visit https://www.enjoyillinois.com/allinillinois
The 15th District of Cook County is full of incredible municipalities and townships taking steps to protect their communities and residents. To see their updates and status of services visit their web sites below.
For the LGBTQ community, Equality Illinois has put together a comprehensive website for a variety of non-profits and other resources specifically for LGBTQ people. Take a look here.
For those living with HIV and AIDS or who are using PrEP and experiencing financial crises due to the COVID-19 pandemic, please check out the HIV Resource Hub managed by The AIDS Foundation of Chicago in partnership with the Center on Halsted. Case managers and clients must contact the Chicago-area HIV Resource Coordination Hub at 1-844-482-4040 to access these funds.
Hanover Township and U-46 School District Area: For ALL Children 18 & Under. Visit ANY of these locations for a free pre-packaged breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snack. Get low-cost meals at the Township Senior Center, call ahead and check the menu here. Their food pantry is also open and operational, learn how to apply here.
Schaumburg Township Area: The Township of Schaumburg Food Pantry is open for drive-through pick-up at One Illinois Blvd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169 on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1-3pm. Township staff have pre-packed bags with a variety of essential items. No appointment is necessary. Homebound residents in need of food assistance can call any department listed below. For additional information regarding the pantry, please call 847-732-7166 .The Schaumburg Barn is curbside pick-up only. Must be 60+ years old. Call ahead for schedule and questions at (847) 524-7496.
The following Food Pantries are also available for assistance (call & check hours before going):
Barrington Township Area: Call or email the Township Food Pantry for pick-up, details here.
Elk Grove Township Area: Call their General Assistance to inquire and apply for food assistance, here. Residents need only bring proof of address and can get food assistance same-day. If you are in need, please visit the new location at 600 Landmeier Road in Elk Grove Village.
Palatine Township Area: their Food Pantry is also open and operational, learn how to apply here.
Find a Food Pantry nearest you at https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/find-food/
OR by calling (773) 247-3663
Benefits Hotline: The Food Depository’s Benefits Outreach team provides application and case
management assistance for SNAP and Medicaid and can help direct families to other public benefits
programs. Constituents can call our Benefits Hotline at 773-843-5416 Monday through Friday from 8:30
am to 5:00 pm or visit us at www.chicagosfoodbank.org/benefits-outreach.
look for Non-filers: Enter Payment Info Here to take you directly to the tool.
Illinois Department of Employment Security (IDES) and Unemployment Benefits – Unemployment benefits may be available to some individuals whose unemployment is attributable to COVID-19. If you have a question about unemployment insurance or are unable to file, please call Claimant Services at (800) 244-5631.
- The Pandemic Unemployment Application is available now. Find out more information and eligibility criteria at their website here.
- FOR ON-LINE APPLICATIONS, click here. If your last name begins with letters:
- A through M file your claim on Sundays, Tuesdays, Thursdays.
- N through Z file your claim online on Mondays, Wednesday, Fridays.
- Saturdays – for those who missed their application window.
- FOR PHONE APPLICATIONS, call (800) 244-5631. If your last name begins with letters:
- A through M call between 7:30am – 6pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
- N through Z call between 7:30am – 6pm on Mondays and Wednesdays.
- Fridays (7am-6pm) & Saturdays (8am-noon) – for those who missed their call window.
Employee workplace concerns contact the Attorney General’s Workplace Rights Bureau
at (877) 470-5076 or submit a complaint online.
US Bartender Guild’s National Charity Foundation Emergency Grants – The Foundation provides grants to qualified applicants in the service industry who are in need of financial assistance.
National Restaurant Association – has created a relief fund for employees in the food and beverage industry who have been temporarily laid off or had income severely decreased due to COVID-19. Applications begin Thursday, April 2nd.
Job seekers can visit the Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership’s website to find out who’s hiring now.
Business Owner and Customer Resources
For business related inquiries regarding the “Stay at Home” Executive Order 10, SBA loans, and
essential business operations please contact 1-800-252-2923 or CEO.email@example.com.
U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Grants & Loan Programs:
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP): As of May 11, the SBA is still accepting PPP applications.
Apply online here for an SBA loan that helps businesses keep their workforce employed during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis. This program is part of the recent U.S. CARES Act.
A PPP training for sole proprietors was done by the U.S. SBA and it is recorded at this site: https://bit.ly/loanwebinar2
Check out the Small Business Owner’s Guide to the CARES Act
Updated FAQs from the U.S. Treasury
Economic Injury Disaster Loans (EIDL): Apply online here. For businesses and non-profits to start applying for low-interest loans up to $2 million to help them stay open during this crisis.
The Illinois office of the Small Business Administration holds webinars to train small business owners looking to apply for assistance. You can view available trainings and sign up to participate at this link.
Businesses that applied for EIDL prior to the current online loan application (available as of 3/29) need to go back in to the system to apply for the EIDL advance.
State of Illinois Grant and Loan Programs – The Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) is working with partners to launch emergency assistance programs for Illinois small businesses. The initiatives included can be found here and includes a grant program specifically for the Hospitality Industry.
DCEO is offering a variety of webinars for all of our communities impacted by COVID-19.
Webinars for all Minority Owned Businesses (racial/ethnic minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and veteran-owned) – sign up HERE.
For African American Small Business Owners – register HERE.
For Latinx Small Business Owners – register HERE.
For Women Small Business Owners – register HERE.
DCEO and the Illinois Chamber of Commerce are hosting a series of COVID-19 Emergency Small Business Assistance Webinars. These are FREE to attend and no registration is required. To view past webinars visit the IL Chamber’s website HERE
State of Illinois Treasurer, Michael Frerichs, has launched a Small Business COVID-19 Relief Program. The purpose of this funding is to provide vital economic support to small businesses and non-profits throughout Illinois to help overcome the loss of revenue they are experiencing.
State Sales Tax Deferred Payments: All registered Illinois retailers operating eating and drinking establishments, read full statement here.
Cook County Bureau of Economic Development has created a page for business resources.
A new program has been launched called the Cook County Community Recovery Fund and this loan fund offers one-time, zero-interest loans of up to $20,000 for small businesses and $10,000 for independent contractors in suburban Cook County.
Cook County Financial Relief Package: Under this relief package, due dates for Home Rule Taxes like the Alcoholic Beverage Tax, Amusement Tax, Tobacco Tax and Gasoline and Hotel Accommodations Tax will be pushed back. So will numerous fines and fees under the jurisdictions of the Departments of Transportation and Highways, Environment and Sustainability, Revenue, Building and Zoning and Public Health.
Download the full list of business-friendly efforts.
Cook County Department of Revenue is offering tax relief options by request. If any individual or business needs additional time to file and pay Home Rule Taxes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and request and extension.
Facebook Business Resource Hub: explore what businesses can do to help get through this pandemic including skills building, best practices, and guidance. Stay tuned for a Small Business Grants Program, sign up for updates.
Illinois Restaurant Association – Guidance on preparedness and other resources for restaurants. Recommendation to support local restaurants with take-out, delivery, gift certificates
For another way to support local restaurants, check out the Daily Herald’s article: Restaurants that are open for you to order delivery or carry out. It is organized by municipality and some business associations like Meet Chicago Northwest.
Illinois Retails Merchants Association has a List of Stores with Special Shopping Hours for Vulnerable Populations – updated frequently
Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has a List of Resources for Licensees and Consumers
If you have a question about business insurance coverage, please contact the Illinois
Department of Insurance (DOI). An online complaint can be filed here.
Federal & State of Illinois Tax Return Updates
Tax Return Deadline has been extended 90 days to July 15, 2020. Read Full Statement from the IRS here. Visit Coronavirus.illinois.gov for information on the State of Illinois income tax return extension.
The IRS unveils new People First Initiative; COVID-19 effort temporarily adjusts, suspends key compliance program.
Property Owner and other Resident Service Updates
See below for updates from Offices of Cook County related to property ownership. Many offices are closed. Call ahead or check their website listed below before visiting.
- Auction of delinquent Cook County property taxes postponed indefinitely. Read press release here.
President Preckwinkle announced today plans to waive late fees on property tax payments in an effort to alleviate the financial toll of COVID-19 and the pressing need to extend economic relief to area homeowners.
Under the proposed relief ordinance:
- Interest penalties for late payments of the second installment of property taxes, which are normally due August 3, will now be postponed until October 1.
- Any payments made on or before October 1 for property tax second installments will be considered filed and paid on time by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas. Under state law, late property tax payments are charged 1.5 percent of the total property taxes owed per month, which is collected by the Cook County Treasurer.
- Cook County Assessor
- Appeal deadlines for north suburban properties will be posted at CookCountyAssessor.com.
- Reassessment notices for North suburban townships, with recent permits or special applications, do not include value adjustments due to the COVID-19 market impact.
- North suburban and Chicago portions of Cook County, which are not scheduled for reassessment will also have their property values examined this year to determine what adjustments need to be made due to the economic effects of COVID-19. Property owners are not required to appeal in order to receive the COVID-19 review and adjustment for eligible properties.
- Cook County Circuit Court
- Cook County Building and Zoning
- Inspections are happening as long as they are “safe” for residents and their inspectors.
- Circuit Court’s Department of Administrative Hearings is not scheduling any non-emergency court dates for Building & Zoning cases through the Circuit Court’s executive order period of May 31, 2020.
- Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court
- has moved to appointment only services using remote access programs.
- Cook County Clerk
- The Cook County Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records, will issue Marriage Licenses remotely via an online video call. Start the application here.
- The Bureau of Vital Records will only be processing new birth and death registrations until further notice, and will be unable to process requests for copies of records due to the emergency facility shutdowns.
- As of May 5, 2020, the Clerk is accepting redemption payments by mail. More information can be found here.
- Board of Review
- Sheriff’s Office
- State’s Attorney
- Cook County residents are encouraged to report incidents of price gouging to the CCSAO by calling 312-603-8600 or by filling out a price gouging complaint form.
- is working with County partners to review cases for appropriate release from Cook County Jail. Read full statement here.
- To support their health and safety, survivors of domestic violence will receive ride credits to travel to courthouses, shelters, and other safe spaces. Read full press release here.
- The CCSAO Victim Witness Unit is available to provide Lyft codes and answer questions by calling 773-674-7200.
- Recorder of Deeds
- is continuing to record electronically submitted documents.
- Public Defender
For families and individuals who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless, please refer to the following:
- Emergency shelter: Due to changes in shelter operations due to COVID-19, please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at 1-877-4-Cook-15 (1-877-426-6515) if possible, to be directed appropriately to shelter resources. If you are not able to call, please see shelter providers in suburban Cook County.
- If you are a suburban Cook County resident and need financial assistance with mortgage, rent payments, rent deposits, utility payments, or other housing issues, please call the Homeless Prevention Call Center at 1-877-4-Cook-15 (1-877-426-6515). Listen carefully to the prompts to choose which kind is needed. City of Chicago residents should call 311 or 312-744-5000 (outside of Chicago).
The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless Mutual Aid Fund will provide one-time emergency grants of up to $500 to individuals or families experiencing homelessness, including people who are unsheltered, staying at a shelter, or living doubled-up with family or friends. Those who were previously homeless and are now at risk of becoming homeless again are also welcome to apply. Find more information here.
Renters living in multifamily properties with Enterprise-backed mortgages who need support should reach out to the Fannie Mae Helpline at 877-542-9723, if Fannie Mae backs their building’s mortgage, or the Freddie Mac Helpline at 800-404-3097, if Freddie Mac backs their building’s mortgage.
See Fannie Mae’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here.
See Freddie Mac’s Multifamily Loan Lookup Tool here.
Affordable Housing Opportunities
The Housing Authority of Cook County’s waiting list for housing in Blue Island opened April 9, 2020 and all applications are taken online. Additionally, the Housing Choice voucher waiting list is scheduled to open soon. Please sign up for alerts notifying you when and how to apply for housing assistance.
For people on the frontlines of the COVID-19 crisis, please visit Airbnb to get connected with temporary housing and be closer to your patients. Airbnb is waving hosting fees and hosts have the option to offer their space for free, discounted, or full price.
Check Cook County Health’s website for changes in accessing its hospitals and health centers. Check out upcoming Health School webinars here. Two next week on “Narcan in the High School Setting” and “Effects of Increased Social Media Use on Mental Health”.
CDC Recommendations for Cloth Face Covers to wear in public
How to make your own face covering video – U.S. Surgeon General
Easy No-Sew Face Mask – how to video
Feeling sick or having symptoms? Follow this comprehensive graphic from the City of Chicago below.
For those living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), please read this newsletter from the Respiratory Health Association, a lung health organization focused on helping those impacted by lung disease.
IMPORTANT STEPS FOR PEOPLE LIVING WITH COPD AND OTHER LUNG DISEASES
· Maintain at least a 30-day supply of your prescribed medications. Check with your insurance provider for refill terms.
· Check with your oxygen supplier to see how it will deal with COVID-19. It’s important to ensure that your routine oxygen needs will be met.
· Establish a COVID-19 hygiene routine for people entering your home (i.e using hand sanitizer, handwashing, etc.).
· If home health nurses or aides assist you with household tasks, ask what steps they are taking to ensure prevention practices are in place.”
For more information, visit: https://resphealth.org/covid-19-what-you-should-know/
IMPORTANT TOOLS FOR DIALYSIS PATIENTS:
Cigna Healthcare Response – waving co-pays and and out-of-pocket costs for all COVID-19 testing and related medical visits.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois – see what’s covered in COVID-19 related visits.
Find a testing site nearest you for COVID-19 here.
In the NW suburbs, consider these sites and follow directions before going:
AMITA Health Saint Joseph Hospital Elgin
77 N Airlite St, Elgin, IL 60123
Elk Grove Village
AMITA Health Alexian Brothers Medical Center Elk Grove Village
800 Biesterfield Rd, Elk Grove Village, IL 60007
AMITA Health St. Alexius Medical Center Hoffman Estates
1555 Barrington Rd, Hoffman Estates, IL 60169
Mental Health Support
Dealing with a infectious disease outbreak can cause anxiety and stress. The recommended social distancing can also take a told on mental health. Below are a few resources:
CDC Guidance on Coping with Stress and Anxiety during COVID-19
Call4Calm – speak to a mental health professional for those experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19.
text “TALK” or “HABLAR” for Spanish to 5-5-2-0-2-0
Individuals will receive a call within 24 hours
It is free and anonymous.
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI)
NAMI Hotline: (800) 950-6264
Substance Abuse & Mental Health Service Administration
Disaster Distress Hotline (800) 985–5990 or Text “TalkWithUs” to 66746
Find Treatment with their Online ToolOR (800) 662-HELP
Kenneth Young Center’s SMART RECOVERY: Meetings are nowweb-based
SMART RECOVERY is cost-free, peer-led support program for those who are in recovery from substance use as well as other problematic, addictive behaviors to video games, gambling, self-harm, shopping, and just about anything else.
Child Care Facility Resources
Governor Pritzker has mandated the following closures for child care centers, child care homes, and early education programs across the state:
• Effective March 21, 2020 all child care homes and centers licensed by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS), as well as legally license-exempt centers outside of schools.
• Early education programs in public and private schools are required to remain closed while the K-12 schools are closed. This mandate covers any early childhood program for children ages birth through five located in public schools or in private schools
The State is mindful that child care is a critical emergency service that is necessary for essential workers currently required to work to maintain the health, safety, and welfare of the residents of Illinois. For this reason, effective March 21, 2020 and for as long as the public health emergency continues, emergency child care will be available to essential workers in both homes and centers.
More information from the state:
Utility Company Response
On March 18th, Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) directed Illinois electric, natural gas, water and wastewater utilities to cease disconnections and the threat of disconnections during the COVID-19 public health emergency. The order also called for companies to suspend late fees until May 1, or when the crisis has passed, and to implement flexible utility credit and collection procedures to ensure customers remain connected to essential utility services.
READ full statement HERE
FAQ on COVID-19 Consumer Protections answered by Citizens Utility Board (CUB)
If you believe your utility is not complying with the ICC directive, you can call ICC to make a complaint at (800) 524-0795. You can also reach out to the Citizens Utility Board (CUB) at (800) 669-5556 to make a complaint.
Contact Information Emergencies: 1-800-334-7661
Payment arrangements and credit issues, available from 7 am to 7 pm: 1-800-334-7661
Contact Information: 1-888-642-6748
Cable/Internet/Telecom Company Responses
National Digital Inclusion Alliance is keeping a List of national Free & Low-Cost Internet Plans – being updated daily
Each major company has had different reaction to supporting customers during COVID-19. Below are highlights but please read each company website thoroughly for details. Be aware that social media posts with incorrect information and fraudulent numbers are being circulated to scam information and money out of consumers. If you have questions, reach out to companies directly on official websites and through sanctioned numbers.
Contact Info: 1-800-288-2020
Won’t terminate service of any wireless, home phone or broadband residential or small business customer due to an inability to pay their bill as a result of the pandemic.
Waiving late-payment fees that any customer may incur because of economic hardship related to the pandemic.
Unlimited data for all consumer wireless internet users.
Business customers currently on or who purchase AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off current rate in a monthly bill credit.
Contact info: Xfinity.com/Support
Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign up for 60 days of free Internet Essentials service. They will also increase internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service for all new and existing customers.
Need more time to pay Comcast bills? log into xfinity.com/myaccount. Select Billing, then Bill and Payment Settings. Click on Schedule a Payment. Then go to Payment Date and choose a new due date.
Making Comcast Wifi hotspots available to anyone
Pausing data plans through May 13, 2020, giving all customers unlimited data for no additional charge
Contact info: 1-888-211-4727
Providing unlimited data for 60 days to customers with metered data plans
Providing 20 GB Mobile Hotspot per month per line to any customer who has a capable handset and does not have Mobile Hotspot for 60 days. Same for customers who already have Mobile Hotspot.
Contact: 611 from T-Mobile Device or T-Mobile.com
If you are past-due, you can set up a payment arrangement.
Customers have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming) + an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service for the next 60 days (beginning on 3/13).
Increasing the data allowance, at no extra charge, to schools and students using EmpowerED digital learning program for next 60 days.
Some free international calling to certain countries. See website for details.
Offering free two-day shipping on devices for 60 days.
Waiving late fees for residential and small business customers if negatively impacted by the global crisis for 60 days (starts 3/13)
Offering free international calling to certain countries through the end of April. See website for more details.
Unlimited calls will be included to mobile and landline termination.
Waiving activation fees on new lines of service and upgrade fees starting March 18.
A lot of schools, teachers, and parents want students to #keeplearning during the school closures. Many of our amazing school districts are already communicating with parents about how to #keeplearning. Keep in touch with your child’s school and follow guidance from teachers. For Illinois State Board of Education Guidance visit: https://www.isbe.net/covid19
Additional resources from parents:
Illinois State Board of Education #Keeplearning Resources
Illinois Digital Educators Alliance: Resources for Home Learning
South Cook Intermediate Service Center: a Google Doc on School Closure Resources
Learning Technology Center of Illinois: Resources Google Doc
Take a walk in a Cook County Forest Preserve while social distancing. Many of the preserves remain open as a resource for fresh air, exercise and access to nature. Before you visit, check the website to makes sure your local trail is still open to the public, note that all public restrooms will be closed to limit the spread of the virus, and remember to follow guidelines on maintaining social distancing. Read more on their website here.
As of, Saturday 4/25, a weekend (Friday – Sunday) parking closure policy has begun at six sites that had issues with overcrowding or visitors consistently disregarding social distancing and other COVID-19 public health guidelines. This policy will be in affect through May 31.
The sites affected are: Bunker Hill, Busse Woods, Catherine Chevalier Woods, LaBagh Woods, Maple Lake, Pulaski Woods, Saganashkee Slough and Wolf Road Woods.
Libraries – Public libraries might be closed during COVID-19, but their digital collections remain open. Most libraries provide access to stream and download: ebooks, digital audiobooks, movies, TV shows, and music. You can also find online learning courses including mastering a new language, learn computer skills or research your family’s genealogy. Contact your local library to find out how you can access their digital collection
Brookfield Zoo – see a different species up close every day with “Bring the Zoo to You” broadcast, streaming each weekday at 11AM on their Facebook page: https://facebook.com/BrookfieldZoo
Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting a “Nature Moment” every Wednesday from 12-1PM CT on their Facebook page here. They will share images of what’s blooming in the Garden and invite you to share your backyard or neighborhood.
Visit their Garden Stories blog for some fun and educational projects to do from home.
Take a virtual tour of Chicago’s museum, libraries, and cultural institutions from home
Take a virtual tour of the U.S. Botanic Garden
Google’s Arts & Culture platform offers digitized access to many Chicago and worldwide cultural institutions.
Arts for Illinois – browse works from talented artists – performers, singers, poets, painters, writers, and many more from across Illinois – who have made their works available for the public’s enjoyment while at home during these challenging times.
Bored at home? Here’s a Massive List of Museums, Zoos, and Theme Parks Offering Virtual Tours
Take a virtual tour of a National Park including: Kenyan Fjords National Park in Alaska, Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park in Hawaii, Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico, Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah, and Dry Tortugas National Park in Florida
Take a Virtual Field Trip with Discover Education.
Fitness Studios & Gyms – List Offering Live-Stream Workouts
15 Broadway Plays and Musicals You Can Watch on Stage from Home
The Metropolitan Opera is offering free virtual shows
450 Online Ivy League Courses you can take right now for Free
The State of Illinois is working with community partners to connect with those who want to safely volunteer during the COVID-19 pandemic. There will be in person and virtual volunteer opportunities. If you are a non-profit you can also submit a request for needed volunteers.
Start your volunteer search at: http://serve.illinois.gov/
Are you a licensed healthcare professional? Register at https://illinoishelps.net/ to part of an alert system and respond if available, when activated, to a significant disaster or public health emergency.
The State of Illinois is asking for donations from any person or business with personal protective equipment (PPE) that can be spared to help protect first responders. Please contact PPE.Donations@Illinois.gov.
You can also donate PPE through Cook County by emailing: email@example.com.
If you are interested in donating lunch to clinic staff who are working against COVID-19, contact Jack Daley at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If someone wants to manufacture PPE in Illinois: email@example.com (Illinois Manufacturing Association).
Be part of the Illinois PPE Network (a non-profit) to request PPE or sign up to make it.
American Red Cross: Due to cancellation of blood drives, the American Red Cross faces a blood shortage. Health individuals are needed to donate. Call 1-800-RED-CROSS to find a location donation site.
Food banks: many area food banks are still working to provide support to those most vulnerable during the pandemic. Contact your local food bank to see how you can support through volunteering or donations. See our food support sections for a list of 15th District food pantries or find you local food bank here.
Host a Virtual Food Drive: register and begin now
Emergency Shelters: shelters for people experiencing homelessness or domestic violence are working hard to ensure the safety of and health of those in need. Many need either volunteer support or donations. Below is a list of local shelters. Reach out and see how you can support:
Journey the Road Home https://www.journeystheroadhome.org
Northwest Compass https://northwestcompass.org
Older Adult Service Opportunities
AgeOptions: volunteers are needed to help with meal deliveries and calling older adults to prevent social isolation. Age Options works with a network of agencies to serve the needs of older adults in suburban Cook County.
Volunteer sign up: https://bit.ly/2Up8fJr
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (708) 383-0258
Sign up to be a Wellness Check Volunteer: do wellness check-in calls to seniors in our community from the comfort of your own home!
Want to be a virtual volunteer? The articles below share information about how you can volunteer from home including being trained as a crisis text line counselor, connect with seniors to help reduce isolation, or become an online tutor for a student.
Pace Bus Service Updates – Pace is considered an essential service and will continue to provide the vital services their passengers rely on. Starting April 9th and going through April 30th, pace has initiated “Quick Board, Safe Board” which waives fare fees. Riders are encouraged to board and take their seat as soon as possible.
Metra Train Updates – Metra will begin operating an alternate weekday schedule on Monday, March 23, to adjust for the reduced number of riders due to school closures, work-from-home mandates and other consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. It will operate its normal weekend schedules this weekend on lines that have weekend service. Where they are able to, will maintain the number of cars on trains to allow for social distancing. The reduced schedules will remain in effect until health officials deem the crisis has passed and/or ridership begins to return to normal.
Illinois Tollway Updates – As a precaution against the spread of the coronavirus, all toll collection is being handled via I-PASS, E-ZPass and the Tollway’s online payment portal. In addition, our in-person Customer Service Centers and the Illinois Tollway Customer Call Center have closed until further notice.
Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) Updates – CTA will continue to follow industry best practices and work closely with health officials. These experts advise CTA that no operational changes or revised protocols are necessary at this time.
If you work for a rideshare company, you may determine that you do not want to risk working during this time. For taxi drivers, this may not be an option. In addition, taxi drivers may work for a company with a non-ambulance transportation contract—meaning you may drive medical customers to the doctor’s office or hospital. To protect yourself and your passenger(s) stay up-to-date on public health recommendations by the CDC and Cook County Department of Public Health.
If you currently receive transportation services for a medical reason such as dialysis, that should not be interrupted, however check with your provider before you schedule a ride.
Visit the State of Illinois Resources website for guidance, executive orders, and other important information in the following non-english languages: Español, Chinese, Polish, Arabic, Tagalog, Urdu, and Hindi. Check back for any additional language needs.
As of March 18, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has suspended routine in-person services until at least April 1 to help slow the spread of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19). USCIS staff will continue to perform duties that do not involve contact with the public. However, USCIS will provide emergency services for limited situations. To schedule an emergency appointment contact the USCIS Contact Center.
Visit CoronaVirus.gov for a complete list of CDC travel health notices.
Learn about the Department of Homeland Security’s response.
As more and more questions are raised during the COVID-19 pandemic, below are some Q&As from our local governments and public health departments.
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