*Last Updated May 3, 2020*
There are now over 1,000,000 confirmed cases of Corona Virus/COVID-19 in the United States, and over 170 confirmed cases in Champaign County. To avoid contracting or spreading the virus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you keep at least six feet of distance from others, stay indoors as much as possible, and frequently disinfect commonly used or shared surfaces such as keyboards, computer mice, toilets, sinks, door handles, light switches, controllers, remotes, chair backs, and staircase railings. If you must go outdoors or visit public areas, the CDC recommends that you wear a face mask and protective gloves. As of March 20, Governor of Illinois J.B. Pritzker has issued a shelter-in-place order effective until at least April 7. This order has since been extended until May 30.
In the midst of the coronavirus outbreak, local CU organizers have pushed for a swift and progressive response to ensure that those most vulnerable to the disease and its impacts are looked after. The best guide to local resources is this document put together by Champaign-Urbana Mutual Aid, a recently formed online group of volunteers and organizers addressing the crisis. In addition, the State of Illinois has recently launched a new website for COVID-19 updates and resources.
Employers right now have a responsibility to provide sick pay, hazard pay, remote work options, and gloves, masks and other materials needed to work safely. If you have an employer that refuses to provide these things, please let us know.
Below is a list of some important news and resources you may have missed:
- Utilities and Public Services:
- Illinois American Water and Ameren Illinois will not shut off water and electric utilities, and Ameren will not charge fees for late payments through May
- The Champaign-Urbana Mass Transit District is offering free rides on all buses until further notice, beginning on Tuesday, March 17
- AT&T, Comcast, and other Internet Service Providers are altering their policies to provide free hot spots, internet access, and no data caps in many cases. For a more complete guide to free WiFi hotspots and low-cost internet options, check out this guide by community member Sharon Irish.
- Unit 4 Schools in Champaign are providing free meals to students aged 18 years and under, regardless of if they’re a student in the Unit 4 system. The program starts on March 23. Urbana Public Schools District 116 is organizing a similar program.
- Several local restaurants have begun providing free meals for kids. Check out this list from our friends at Smile Politely.
- The Channing-Murray Foundation and the Cunningham Township have teamed up to offer groceries and low-cost/free meals delivered through their “Bucket Brigade” program. Contact their Facebook page for more information.
- Many grocery stores, including Walmart, Aldi, Common Ground Food Co-Op, Meijer, and others, have begun to offer more delivery services and curbside pickup services.
- The Party for Socialism and Liberation, CU, is offering free grocery delivery services.
- For Artists and Content Creators:
- The New York Foundation for the Arts has a list of some grants available to fund artists and creators through the quarantine
- UCIMC Board of Directors President Karen Medina has compiled this list financial aid opportunities for small businesses, artists, and content creators: financialHelpCOVID-19
- Sheriff Dustin Heuerman’s office has halted all court-ordered evictions through the month of April
- The IRS has extended the date by which the 2019 fiscal year taxes must be paid to July 15th, 2020
- The Champaign County Bailout Coalition has released this open letter calling on Champaign county officials to release prisoners vulnerable to COVID-19 and adjust incarceration conditions to mitigate its spread.
- The Campus Labor Coalition, a group with representatives of different campus labor unions, has released this open letter calling on the University of Illinois to provide hazard pay, personal protective equipment, expanded healthcare benefits for all workers, and other items.
- Volunteers and Assistance
- Champaign-Urbana COVID-19 Mutual Aid, a Facebook group, has been organizing volunteers to help those affected by COVID-19. If you have a need for someone to run an errand for you or another specific need, this is the place to ask. In addition, they’ve put together this detailed list of local resources and information available locally, statewide, and nationally about the virus.
- United Way of Illinois will provide assistance to those needing rent aid, food aid, or other financial aid. Call 1-866-211-9966 and enter your ZIP code.
- Just before the COVID-19 pandemic shelter-in-place orders came, Books to Prisoners had a mega-packing volunteer day in which they shipped thousands of books out and answered hundreds of letters.
We will update this post as we learn more. Please contact us to let us know of any important news or resources you think belong here!