Now that phase four of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan has started allowing for larger gatherings of people, Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley has announced neighbors can host block parties – offering a semblance of summer normalcy during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ability to have block parties comes with restrictions put in place to prevent further spread of the virus. According to Charley’s order issued June 23, block party attendance must not exceed 50 people. Bounce houses and petting zoos are prohibited.

Chairs and tables must be at least six feet apart and block party participants should also maintain at least six feet distance from each other. Chairs, tables and other frequently touched surfaces must be disinfected several times during the party.

Charley’s order also requires all attendees to wear face coverings at all times, except when eating or drinking. When eating and drinking, attendees must maintain six feet of distance between non-immediate household members.

People should not share food or drinks with people outside of their households. Charley’s order also discourages potlucks and “self-service of shared foods, including hot bars, cold bars and buffets.”

The order encourages single-use napkins, plates, utensils and condiment packets. Block parties should have hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol available to attendees. Handwashing stations are encouraged.

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