COVID testing siteCHICAGO – In light of the likely rise in positive COVID-19 cases due to holiday travel, State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) is urging residents to take advantage of a newly opened permanent testing site set up at the Bernard Horwich JCC in the Rosenstone Room.  

“We need to continue and improve our testing operations to stay ahead of the virus and prevent a big post-holiday outbreak,” Villivalam said. “This testing site is free, and it’s easy to get a fast test.” 

The testing site will open this Friday, Dec. 4 at 11 a.m. and is located at 3003 W. Touhy Ave. in Chicago. Testing will be available Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Simple nasal swabs will be used, and there is free parking on site. Anyone can get tested regardless of whether they exhibit symptoms, but appointments are required to avoid overcrowding and to allow for social distancing. The tests are free, and the results will be available within three to five days. Residents should bring their insurance card if they have one, but anyone can still get a test without insurance. 

“If you traveled to celebrate the holidays with friends or family, getting a test is the best way to make sure you aren’t accidentally bringing the virus home to a loved one,” Villivalam said. “We all want to see our loved ones, especially during the holidays, but we also need to make sure we take every possible precaution to remain in good health.” 

Appointments can be booked on the JCC testing website

Category: Press Releases
utility disconnection noticeSPRINGFIELD – Several Illinois state senators are calling on Gov. JB Pritzker to introduce a new moratorium on utility disconnections, as Illinois enters the dangerously cold part of the winter and the COVID-19 pandemic and its associated economic impact continue.
 
We appreciate that the governor has continued his moratorium on evictions, but in Illinois, a home without heat is not a safe home in the winter,” said State Sen. Laura Fine (D-Glenview). “We need to ensure that everyone continues to have a safe place to live until this crisis has passed.”
 
Fine, along with her colleagues State Senators Ann Gillespie (D-Arlington Heights), Adriane Johnson (D-Buffalo Grove), Julie Morrison (D-Lake Forest), Robert Peters (D-Chicago), Celina Villanueva (D-Chicago), and Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago), sent the governor a letter urging him to institute a new moratorium on utility shutoffs, to be in effect until the crisis or winter ends.
 
"Due to the deadly nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as we advocate for a much needed stimulus package from the federal government, we need to take every action possible as a state to ensure the safety and health of our residents, including the avoidance of any utility disconnections," Villivalam said. "This will be among the most difficult holiday seasons that our families and our children will experience. Let us take one large burden and uncertainty off the table for our constituents."
 
Though the senators acknowledged that many utility companies have already voluntarily increased protections against shut-offs this winter, they believe that the rule needs to include all utility companies, and that this is too big of an issue to rely on voluntary compliance.
 
Were seeing people struggling, especially in Black and Brown communities, and especially employees of restaurants, bars, and other service industries,” Villanueva said. While we appreciate that some companies have already stepped forward to offer more protections, we need to ensure that no Illinois family has to worry about losing access electricity or gas this winter.”
 
The full text of the letter is available here.
Category: Press Releases

BIG Grants rd 2

CHICAGO – More than 50 small businesses facing economic uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic in the district State Senator Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) represents received financial relief through the Business Interruption Grant Program, and he is urging more to apply. 

“I was proud to support legislation to make these extremely valuable grants available for our small businesses as we head into the winter and the pandemic continues,” Villivalam said. “Our local economy is powered by both family and minority-owned businesses. While outdoor dining was employed over the summer to help generate business, that is much more of a challenge during the winter months.”

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity awarded the funds this week as part of the second round of BIG program funding. Applications will also remain open until all of the funding is spent. 

The second round of grants awarded between $5,000 to $150,000 to 52 businesses in the 8th District, which received nearly a combined $1.5 million. These funds can be used to help cover expenses like payroll costs, rent, and utilities, as well as pandemic-related expenses, such as personal protective equipment, increased training and new technology.

“While these grants provide much needed financial relief, there is simply no question that we need an all of the above strategy that includes a federal stimulus package,” Villivalam said. “Additionally, I will certainly and I know other folks will support their local and small businesses throughout the winter. Getting takeout or simply purchasing a gift card can really help out a small business owner.” 

The BIG program is the biggest state-funded financial support program created in response to the pandemic to date. Applications are available on the DCEO’s website.

Category: Press Releases

Senate floor

SPRINGFIELD – After a renewed surge in COVID-19 infections forced the postponement of the upcoming General Assembly veto session at the Capitol, Senate Transportation Chair Ram Villivalam (D-Chicago) and Spokesperson Donald DeWitte (R-St. Charles) pledge to continue to work together to improve Illinois’ infrastructure.

Villivalam and DeWitte remain committed to working in a bipartisan manner on a number of issues.

“Even though the Illinois General Assembly will not be convening for veto session due to the recent rise in COVID-19 infections and increasing hospitalizations, we pledge to continue to do the work of the Illinois Senate Transportation Committee, including—among other vital issues—ensuring the Rebuild Illinois Capital Plan is executed in a responsible and transparent manner,” Villivalam said. “We remain committed to ensuring our roads, highways and bridges are safe.”

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Category: Press Releases

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