SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (NEXSTAR) — More than 41,000 workers in Illinois filed jobless claims for unemployment insurance during a 48-hour stretch last year, nearly ten times the rate of jobless claims that were filed during the same period in the previous year.
Many of those claims were caused by government orders for people to stay at home and stop gathering at large venues outside of their private residences. House Democrat Chris Welch from Hillside, a western suburb of Chicago, joined Capitol Connection remotely on Thursday, the day before a statewide order to stay at home was issued in an attempt to stop the transmission of the Coronavirus.
“There’s no doubt about it that the system is stressed,” Welch said. “No one knows when this thing will end, and I do believe those numbers will continue to grow until we get this thing contained and the numbers going down, until we flatten that curve.”
Small business owners have expressed a great deal of concern about the reduction in foot traffic and the uncertain future of their return to normal order.
“I definitely encourage them to contact the Small Business [Administration],” Welch said. “There’s seven billion dollars in disaster loans out there available at very low interest rates or no interest rates.”
“That is a program that Governor Pritzker and his administration are working expeditiously to make sure Illinois businesses are a part of,” Welch said, urging business owners to also explore their options through the state’s Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity.
“I encourage all small business owners to tap into that as quickly as possible,” Welch said, “because that’s what it’s there for.”
Welch joined Capitol Connection on Thursday, the day before Governor J.B. Pritzker declared a statewide order requiring all 12.7 million people in the state to stay at home until April 7th.