Governor Pritzker, Mayor Lightfoot, President Preckwinkle and the Illinois, Chicago and Cook County Departments of Health held a press conference last evening to announce new restrictions and guidance about the corona virus outbreak.
It is urgent to follow
guidance and new restrictions
to mitigate the spread of the virus. Here's what you need to know.
In the last two days, the number of cases in Illinois
grew from 14 to 32
Only three are serious. However, Chicago also has verified its first case of "community transmission" not related to travel or contact with a known sick person. Public health guidelines dictate that when cases double in two days, a new phase directed at containing the spread begins.
As the Governor said, "
It's time to get serious about community mitigation
." Our talented Commissioner of Public Health, Alison Arwady, stated, "Now is the time to increase protective steps."
So, we must:
- END handshaking.
- Anyone who is ill must stay home, no exceptions.
- No one is "too busy" or "too important" to go to work sick. NO EXCEPTIONS.
- Reduce social contact and maintain social distancing - meaning don't put yourself or others in close contact where sneezes or coughs could be transmitted.
- Wash your hands for twenty seconds with soap.
- If you are feeling sick with a fever, call 1-800-889-3931 or email email@example.com.
- All other guidance from our last newsletter still applies
Impact on Events
- Governor Pritzker has banned state-wide all events of 1,000 or more attendees are cancelled immediately. All major league sports teams have agreed.
- Events of more than 250 attendees should be postponed until May 1. This includes theatre, sports and community and personal events - everything. While some smaller events may continue, consider the likely attendees. If there will be people over 60 or with health challenges present, please cancel the event.
Impact on ELECTION DAY:
- Voting is our civic duty. IDPH has issued guidance for polling places, including wiping down voting machines and stations after each vote. Polling places will have cleanliness and disinfection supplies.
- To avoid lines, Vote Early from Friday to Monday. Early Voting hours will be extended on Friday (today) from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.
- Polling Places:
- As of today, two 43rd Ward polling places are not participating in the election:
- 2757 N Pine Grove
- 1350-60 N Lake Shore Drive
- We thank the Second Church of Christ Scientist, 2700 N Pinegrove, for stepping up to substitute for 2757 N Pine Grove.
- If there are further disruptions, we will let you know.
- Vote by mail will be extended until March 16 at noon. However, at this point the only way to vote by mail is to go downtown, get a ballot, and return it at the Board of Elections or your polling place. Under these circumstances, Vote by Mail is an option if you are sick and are staying home. If you need help obtaining a vote by mail application under these circumstances, call our office at 773-348-9500.
- If you need a ride to the polls today, Monday or Tuesday, call our office and we will help find you a ride. Want to help others? Call us with your cell phone number if you are healthy and willing to volunteer to give others rides.
Impact on Government:
- Government Services will continue. Events and services will be cancelled based on the impact on the most vulnerable - seniors, those in nursing homes, and those with immune disorders.
- Many services our governments provide are essential and will continue. The Governor's office, City and county offices are open and running. City Council and committees will still meet on Wednesday, March 18. Public comment will continue; however, precautions will be taken to limit close contact. Everyone is encouraged to watch City Council meetings over our live stream.
- The JR Thompson Center will close for all non-governmental business starting on Monday.
- Our office will remain open. However, because of the restrictions, our staffing may be smaller and some staffers may work remotely.
- We strongly encourage you to buy your parking permits through the Clerk's website. It's easy.
Impact on Schools
- CPS schools are open. Mayor Lightfoot explained that our schools provide critical services for youth in our city - instruction, meals, clothing and shelter in some cases. Commissioner Arwady stated that the overwhelming majority of young people experience minor or no symptoms even when infected with COVID-19. Rather, our City's resources are focused on those who are at great risk - the elderly and those with pre-existing medical conditions
- The City will closely monitor the situation and will use guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and IDPH
- However, the City and State strongly discourage large student assemblies or sporting events. Look for more news from CPS and the private schools.
- Schools must suspend the use of all indoor spaces by community organizations until further notice
Impact on Your Job:
- Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.
- Employers should take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. This includes reminding staff to stay home when sick or with a fever; remaining flexible on leave policies; and promoting robust mitigation approaches, such as hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer.
- The City will be encouraging remote work for its own employees and will tomorrow issue new guidance on the City's sick leave policy.
- The City will also work with unions regarding work hours for organized employees.
- Effective Monday, Comcast will be providing 60 free days of internet starting Monday to low-income families.
Impact on Transit
- Neither CTA, Metra or the airports will be closed. All these agencies are using enhanced cleaning and disinfection protocols. After 30 days, the situation will be reassessed.
What Can You Do To Help Others
Because the coronavirus has the greatest impact on the elderly, who can remain socially isolated, find a way to be a helper. Ask your neighbors, friends and family to help people who may lack the resources to help themselves.
- Here in Lincoln Park, volunteer with The Village Chicago, and help elderly who might not be able to do errands, like grocery shopping. Or contact a local church to see what you can do. Or contact our office at firstname.lastname@example.org if you need help or want to offer help.
- While we are discouraging large social gatherings, helping your neighbor if you are in good health is a mitzvah. Think about who lives on your block - and offer help.
- Help out on Election Day. As you know, many of our election judges are retired people. Many have now elected not to serve as an election judge, leaving shortages. Please help our democracy by being a judge on Election Day - whether Democrat or Republican. Email us with your name, email, cell number, and home address and we will forward your name to the Board of Elections for back up appointments on on just before Election Day. Students over 17 are welcome!
- Let's also remember our local businesses. The closings taking place will hurt our local restaurants and retailers. Please remember to shop local and call the restaurants directly to place a delivery order.
What's the Takeaway?
Governor Pritzer says,"Don't be fooled into thinking your community is immune - it is not." Even though the number of confirmed cases is low, now "is not the time to take chances,"
The COVID-19 hotline for Chicago is 1-800-889-3931, and the City of Chicago’s additional line is (312) 746-7425 and will be operating Monday through Friday from 8 AM to 4 PM.
The Following Events Have been Cancelled:
- Saturday, March 14 - Real ID Information Session and Mobile ID Event
- Saturday, March 14 - Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade
- Sunday, March 15 - South Side St. Patrick's Day Parade
- DePaul University - All university-sponsored events, either on or off campus, are postponed or canceled now until further notice.
- Lincoln Park Zoo - Our zoo is closed now through April 10 as a precaution to "to do what we can to help reduce the rapidity of the spread of COVID-19."
- The Sun-Times has a list of other cancellations.
You've read this far - check out our
to see what we are doing instead of shaking hands.
While we get through this situation, remember the famous British phrase - "Keep Calm and Carry On."