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Chicago and state issue new coronavirus guidelines
2020-03-15

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Following CDC guidance and recommendations by local public health experts, the State of Illinois and the City of Chicago issued new guidance to residents to prevent further spread of coronavirus ( COVID-19 ), as of March 15.

Specifically, the State of Illinois and City of Chicago are issuing the following guidelines:

Community events

—The state and city are mandating all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be cancelled for the next 30 days. The City of Chicago will be enforcing this ban.

—Additionally, they are urging that community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their own communities.

—For events less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider canceling.

—All major sporting events with large spectator crowds should be cancelled until May 1. This should include school and college events as well as major league sporting events. The governor has spoken with the owners of all the major sports teams in Illinois and they are in full support of these measures to protect the health of their fans and will cancel all games until May 1.

Schools

—At this time, all schools have been order closed, while colleges and universities have had students move out and instituted online classes only.

Government

—The Office of the Governor will remain open and operating, as it is fully committed to ensuring that the government will continue to serve the people of Illinois during this time.

—The Office of the Governor is working closely with all state agencies to ensure essential services will continue to be provided, while taking steps to protect the health and safety of state workers.

—The James R. Thompson Center will be closed to people who do not have business with the state in the building for the foreseeable future. The essential government functions that the people in this building perform will continue during this time.

—City Hall will remain open, and there is no plan to cancel meetings of the City Council for the this week. However, the city is strongly recommending, in accordance with guidance from CDPH and the CDC, that residents view the meeting via livestream instead of in person to ensure city business moves forward safely and efficiently.

Businesses and workplaces

—The state encourages businesses across the state to take advantage of teleworking capabilities.

—Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.

—For those who cannot, we encourage employers to take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. This includes reminding staff to stay home when sick or with a fever; considering a plan for teleworking where feasible; remaining flexible on leave policies; and promoting robust mitigation approaches, such as hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer. The City is also developing an addendum to its sick leave policies, as well as guidance on teleworking for employees.

—Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all Illinois bars and restaurants to close at the end of the business day on Monday, March 16. They will remain closed through Monday, March 30.

Vulnerable populations

—The state and the city continue to focus outreach efforts for those most vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus, our elderly and immunocompromised residents.

—Individuals who fall into these categories should take extra caution when attending gatherings of any size and avoid exposure to large groups of people whenever possible.

—The state has implemented new staffing procedures and strict guidelines restricting visitors at state-operated long-term care facilities and is also working closely with private nursing home and assisted living associations on the adoption of similar guidelines.

The Illinois Department of Public Health has a statewide COVID-19 hotline and website to answer any questions from the public or to report a suspected case: call 800-889-3931 or visit IDPH.illinois.gov .

Chicago-specific updates on COVID-19 can be found at chicago.gov/coronavirus; those with additional questions can contact the Chicago Department of Public Health at coronavirus@chicago.gov .


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