Are you home? Good. Stay there. It's the safest place to be to protect yourself, your loved ones and vital health care workers and other essential personnel. As our state continues its climb to the peak of new COVID-19 cases, state and national officials and public health experts are urging everyone to stay home, while recognizing the challenges in doing so with nice spring weather and the Passover and Easter holidays approaching. These next few weeks are absolutely critical to slow the spread and reduce the burden on our health care system.
Please, Wilmette, stay home to save lives! And, continue to follow these li
Clean your hands often.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick and put distance between yourself and other people - six feet apart.
Cover your mouth and nose with a mask or cloth face covering when around others.
Find Local COVID-19 Cases on Cook County Public Health Interactive Map
Across the State of Illinois, there have been 12,262 confirmed cases of COVID-19 through April 6. There have been 55 confirmed cases in the Village of Wilmette per the Cook County Department of Public Health. You can track the number of COVID-19 cases in Wilmette and other suburban Cook County municipalities on the Cook County Department of Public Health's web map.
Let There Be Light Tonight!
Photo of luminaries around Wilmette on April 1, from Facebook user and Wilmette resident Betsy Vankula
Across Wilmette and our country, people came together last Wednesday night by placing candles and luminaries outside to honor workers on the front lines of the pandemic and show their support. The grassroots "Let There Be Light" initiative has grown and is continuing every Wednesday at 7 p.m. Thank you to the many Wilmette residents who showed their support for doctors, nurses and medical personnel by placing luminaries, lanterns and candles outside their homes. We look forward to seeing your lights shine again this week! Please be sure to take a picture and post to social media, tag us @VofWilmette and use the hashtags #StayHomeSaveLives, #AllInIllinois and #WilmetteStrong.
Offer Help and Find Help Through Nextdoor
There is a new tool available that makes it easy for you to help your neighbors during the pandemic and find help if you need it. If you're already a user of the social networking platform Nextdoor, check out the new "Help Map." If you want to help a neighbor in need, mark yourself as available on a virtual map to do emergency errand runs or phone call check-ins for vulnerable neighbors who can't leave their homes right now. If you need help, look for the green dots on the map. They represent neighbors who have marked themselves available to offer help. Send a private message to your neighbor and ask for the help you need.
If you're not familiar with Nextdoor, it's a social media platform that connects neighbors with neighbors. Similar to other social media platforms, users can post and share comments and reactions. The Village of Wilmette also provides frequent updates to residents on Nextdoor and users can see those updates in their news feed.
Please continue to support our local businesses, they need our help now more than ever! And with the Easter and Passover holidays this weekend, some restaurants and businesses are finding creative and innovative ways to help life feel a bit more normal with holiday specials. Be sure to ask about those offerings and check out the directory of local restaurants on our interactive map.
Small Business and Resident Assistance Programs
Paycheck Protection Program
Wilmette small businesses and countless others across the country have submitted applications for the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), part of the Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) enacted by Congress to help small business owners.
This one-time program provides a loan to maintain payroll and pay other key expenses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The loan may be forgivable if employment levels are maintained.
The CARES Act provides financial assistance to workers affected by COVID-19 by both increasing unemployment benefits and expanding eligibility. This can mean an extra $600 per week in unemployment benefits to eligible employees and an additional 13 weeks of continued $600 weekly payments for individuals who remain unemployed after exhausting their state unemployment benefits.
The Illinois Department of Employment Security recently adopted emergency rules to try to make the unemployment insurance system as responsive to the current situation as possible.