On April 22, River Forest President Cathy Adduci signed executive order (EO) 2020-04, which requires businesses and customers of those businesses to wear face coverings.

According to Village Administrator Eric Palm in an email, River Forest joins 17 other communities, including Forest Park, in signing such an order.

“Our Village Board will be voting to ratify this EO on Monday evening [April 27],” said Palm in an email to Wednesday Journal.

Palm explained that the order’s goal is to protect the community.

“The intent of the EO and Ordinance is to ensure the health and safety of our community and communities that surround us; it is to encourage and help our businesses to stay open without the fear of spreading the virus and our other businesses to reopen when the governor says it is appropriate to do so. With testing not being wide spread, tracing limited, and a vaccine not available yet, we believe that if we do our part of social distancing and mandatory face covering this will allow our businesses to open in a healthy way and our other businesses to reopen sooner than later,” said Palm.

The EO, which will be discussed and voted on by village trustees at the April 27 council meeting, focuses on two areas. First, beginning April 24, individuals who work in an “essential business” or perform “essential business operations” as defined by Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Stay at Home Order, shall wear a face mask when in contact with the public.

Second, effective Tuesday, April 28, individuals engaging in any “essential activity” as defined by the governor’s stay at home order shall wear a face covering. These activities include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Shopping for necessary supplies and services
  • Seeking medical supplies or medication
  • Visiting a health care professional

According to an April 23 memo from Palm, which is in the agenda packet for the April 27 village board meeting, “This Executive Order was issued based on guidance from the World Health Organization, the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the United States Surgeon General.”

Palm added in his memo that the focus of the village is on voluntary compliance “as with other pandemic-related public health and safety issues confronted by the police department.”

Additionally, Palm stated that the village will, when possible, distribute face coverings to people who need them.

Recently, the village ordered 20,000 surgical masks at $.67 per mask for a total of $13,400. The masks will be used by the village for volunteers, residents, and employees, including first responders, according to Palm.

In another EO signed by Adduci, a violation of an executive order of the governor is now considered a public nuisance in River Forest.

According to the village website, “This means gathering with others who are not members of your own family will now be treated as a public nuisance, an action that affects the health, peace and comfort of the residents of the Village. The purpose of this Executive Order is to keep everyone safe during the COVID-19 pandemic and stress the critical need for everyone to stay at home except for essential activities. It is not the intent of the village to make this punitive or stressful for our community. It is meant to keep us safe and for all of us to get through this time and back to normal.”

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