PLAINFIELD —State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) and her colleagues from Will County have expressed uneasiness their part of the state could have a delayed reopening. Under the governor’s plan, Will County is in the same region as Cook County, which has unique challenges and should be addressed separately.

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“Families and businesses are struggling. Most people I speak with understand the need for caution, but are prepared to work under new safety precautions,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “If my district stayed in the same region as Chicago and Cook County, it would most likely be the last part of the state to open.”

Rep. Natalie Manley (D-Joliet) is among those expressing their concerns.

"I think there's a way to balance public health and the reopening of many businesses but it will take the cooperation of the community,” Manley said. “The last thing we want is to crush the hospital system and endanger the health and safety of our first responders"    

As of Thursday, Will County had 4,000 positive cases of COVID-19 and 230 deaths. In comparison, Cook County had over 24,000 positive cases and 1,100 deaths. Furthermore, with social distancing at the forefront of keeping the virus asunder, Will County’s population compared to Chicago’s population as well as square miles clearly shows distinct differences between the two areas.

Bertino-Tarrant is starting a discussion with the Will County Health Department to address the needs of local communities to be prepared if the governor adjusts the reopening plan based on the county’s ability to offer alternatives. 

“Any plan needs to address safety guidelines, hospital and ventilator capacities and PPE availability. Furthermore, it needs to be led by the Will County Health Department, who has the responsibility of monitoring and reporting,” Bertino-Tarrant offered. “The legislators I have spoken to understand the needs to have a reasonable balance, with individual health concerns being the number one priority.”

Rep. John Connor (D-Lockport) will work with Bertino-Tarrant and the Will County Health Department in hopes of gathering as much information as possible to determine if the area is ready to go to the next phase.

"I look forward to reviewing the relevant data with the Will County Health Department and other agencies to determine if Will County's current district placement is the best possible fit moving forward in this pandemic,” Connor said.

Additionally, less than 700,000 people make up Will County, compared to the more than 5.15 million people who live in Cook County.

"Governor Pritzker is right that one must have a life to have a livelihood,” said Senator Pat McGuire (D-Crest Hill). “If local health departments have suggestions how residents of COVID-19 low-incidence areas safely can have both, I hope the governor will consider them." 

PLAINFIELD — Dozens of local business around Will County and the surrounding area have been forced to shut their doors as they were not deemed essential under the governor’s Stay at Home Order. 

However, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) believes those shops are essential to the strength of their communities and should be open while adhering to social distancing guidelines. 

“People are allowed to freely shop at big-box stores like Menards and Target, so they should have the ability to support small businesses as well,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Those large stores are left to follow the governor’s guidelines — guidelines our local shops are also capable of following.”

Bertino-Tarrant and several of her colleagues in the Senate called on Gov. JB Pritzker to consider giving small businesses the opportunity to open. 

The group’s reopen plan, sent to Pritzker Tuesday, would allow businesses to work with local officials to prove they can enforce face covering requirements, adhere to the 6-foot social distancing guidelines based on square footage of the store, and ensure a thorough cleaning regimen for the safety of both customers and employees. 

“Local businesses and family-owned shops are suffering to the point some wonder if they will ever be able to financially recover from the pandemic,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Employees of these businesses are left unemployed and worry they might have to find new jobs. As state leaders, it is our duty to look for reasonable solutions to help all Illinoisans."

05082019CW0117rSPRINGFIELD – Following Gov. JB Pritzker’s budget address on Wednesday, State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant expressed her support of the governor’s goal to restore stability and functionality to the state.

The governor’s proposal includes plans to ensure Illinois residents are ready to meet the needs of the state’s economy by creating new job training programs.

As part of his strategy, the state would create a new community college apprenticeship grant program and the Illinois Works Jobs program that will help train people for careers in the construction industry and building trades.

“I’m glad to see the governor’s commitment to ensure the state’s workforce is meeting the needs of the employers,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Innovative job training programs will help put residents to work and grow our economy for generations to come.”

Bertino-Tarrant, who serves as the Senate’s Education Chair, is encouraged by the governor’s outlined investment in teacher recruitment, retention and diversity.

“School districts across the nation continue to struggle to fill long-term positions at schools,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “Increasing our investment in keeping the best and brightest at the head of our classrooms will help ensure our children have the opportunity to be successful.”

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2020 Kids Fair RSPLAINFIELD- State Senator Jennifer Bertino-Tarrant (D-Shorewood) is inviting residents to join community organizations and small businesses at her sixth annual Kids’ Fair.

The free event will take place from 9 a.m. to noon on Monday, Feb. 17 at Troy Middle School (5800 W. Theodore St., Plainfield).

This event provides area residents a one-stop shop for parents and children looking for kid-friendly educational resources and fun activities.

“Our Kids’ Fair connects parents, grandparents, educators and loved ones with amazing organizations that serve our children,” Bertino-Tarrant said. “I encourage families to stop by this free event to meet and hear from energetic organizations serving our community and improving the lives of young people.”

The event is free. Storytelling, live animals and other activities are already scheduled for the event.

In addition, free haircuts will be given by the Professional’s Choice Hair Design Academy of Joliet. There will be other special events such as a martial arts demonstration as well as a dance and vocal performance.

For more information please call Bertino-Tarrant’s office at (815) 254-4211.

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