Following Governor Pritzker’s announcement on Thursday ending the state COVID-19 emergency orders, Rep. Stephens is thanking all essential workers who have been on the front lines since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.
“When the rest of the world stayed at home, you went to the front lines. When the rest of the world took precautions, you took action. And when the rest of the world worked to contain this virus, you faced it head-on to keep our communities moving,” said Rep. Stephens. “We owe an inestimable debt to these heroes who worked hard in tough and often disparaging times to continue their work. While we move beyond this pandemic, we must never forget the sacrifices our essential workers made. Let’s always remember the heroes of the pandemic.”
In a March 2020 executive order, Governor Pritzker defined essential businesses as stores that sell groceries and medicine; food, beverage, and cannabis production and agriculture; organizations that provide charitable and social services; media; gas stations and businesses needed for transportation; financial institutions; and more. According to an analysis by the Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning reported in April 2020, one in four essential workers lived in a census tract that had a median household income at least 30% below the regional median of $70,500.
A March 2021 report from the American Psychological Association, 29% of essential workers said their mental health has worsened in the pandemic and 75% said they could have received more emotional support than they received since the pandemic’s beginning. Also reported were 25% of essential workers were diagnosed with a mental health disorder since the pandemic began.
“Let’s make sure to show our essential workers that they are appreciated for all they have done for our communities,” Rep. Stephens continued. “I encourage all 20th District constituents to show their gratitude to essential workers and remember all the work, effort, and time it takes to keep our towns and economy running. Thank you, essential workers!”