Oak Park issues shelter in place order

Residents required to shelter in place effective March 20

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By Stacey Sheridan

Staff Reporter

After Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb declared a public state of emergency March 18, later that day, the village issued a shelter in place order. The order goes into effect March 20. While the order is a serious effort to protect citizens from the coronavirus, it also includes several exemptions for meeting real life needs such as food shopping and health care.

 "The nature of the emergency is the spread of the COVID-19 disease in the village and extraordinary measures must be taken to protect the public health, safety and welfare of the residents of the village," Abu-Taleb's declaration reads.

Within the declaration, the mayor also called on Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley to exercise his authority to require residents to shelter in place under Village of Oak Park Resolution 20-120, Illinois state statutes and the Oak Park Village Code.

"It's important to recognize the gravity of this crisis but I think it's also important to recognize that this order has broad exceptions and the intention is not to make people panic," the mayor told Wednesday Journal. "The intention is to make people think hard about following the guidelines to stop the spread of the virus."

Charley subsequently issued the shelter-in-place order on March 18. The order goes into effect March 20 and extends through April 3. Both Charley's and the mayor's actions come on the heels of the announcement, also made March 18, of Oak Park's first documented positive COVID-19 test result.

"The intent of this order is to ensure that the maximum number of people self-isolate in their places of residence to the maximum extent feasible, while enabling essential services to continue, to slow the spread of COVID-19 to the maximum extent possible," Charley's order reads.

The order encourages people experiencing homelessness to seek shelter immediately.

"I think it's also to point out that, when it comes to enforcement, we are not going to be heavy-handed, but we do expect every citizen to do their part to help us stop the spread of this virus," the mayor told Wednesday Journal. "This way we can save our lives and the lives of the people we love."

The order also dictates social distancing requirements should be observed "when people need to leave their places of residence, whether to obtain or perform vital services, or to otherwise facilitate authorized activities necessary for continuity of social and commercial life."

Such social distancing requirements include maintaining a distance of at least six feet between individuals, frequently washing hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, using hand sanitizer, covering sneezes and coughs with sleeves or elbows, cleaning high-touch surfaces and not shaking hands.

According to Charley's order, individuals who fail to reasonably comply with social distancing requirements are in violation of the Illinois Public Health Act, 220 ILCS 2305/2(k), a class A misdemeanor.

However, the mayor reiterated enforcement will not be "heavy-handed."

Under the shelter-in-place order, people are only allowed to leave their residences for "essential activities, essential governmental functions, or to operate essential businesses."

Essential activities include visiting healthcare professionals, getting prescriptions and medical supplies, and shopping for groceries and pet supplies.

People are allowed to engage in outdoor activities, providing they comply with social distancing requirements.

Individuals can leave home to work for or obtain services at "healthcare operations" which include "hospitals, clinics, dentists, pharmacies, pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies, other healthcare facilities, healthcare suppliers, home healthcare services providers, mental health providers, medical cannabis dispensaries and related retail sales or any related and/or ancillary healthcare services."

Veterinary care and animal health services fall under healthcare operations. Fitness studios and gyms do not.

Essential businesses include first responders, grocery stores, food pantries, convenience stores, food cultivation, sheltering and social services operations, newspapers, television, radio, gas stations and auto repair shops, banks and financial institutions, mailing and shipping services, dry cleaners and laundromats, airlines, taxis and other private transportation services. Educational institutions for the purpose of providing distance learning is also listed under essential businesses.

Plumbers, electricians, pest control and garbage pick-up and other sanitation services are also defined as essential businesses.

The shelter-in-place order can be viewed in its entirety on the village of Oak Park's website.











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Reader Comments

37 Comments - Add Your Comment

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Comment Policy

Gregg Kuenster from RF CPA  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 11:48 PM

https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/italy-reports-800-coronavirus-deaths-largest-daily-rise-200321183152939.html We have allowed ourselves to believe that the self, rather than the community, must do all the healing. COVID-19 is a stark reminder that the community, rather than the self, may be the first line of protection. To be ill is to know our interconnectedness, but to be ill in OPRF today is to be brought up against the pathology of a culture that denies this fact. Faith, Hope, Charity, Forgiveness. Share these gifts.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 3:11 PM

FWIW, the OPRF "Imagine" project is scheduled to begin in three months: https://www.oprfhs.org/about/facilities-master-plan. Translated: I don't know if we have time to be patient about this $32M first phase. Admittedly, some of it is necessary "life safety" type of work, but otherwise I believe that a good portion of the $100M+ surplus should be returned to the property tax payers. Along with the TIF grabs and the PDOP Rec Center surplus - further cap spending, etc. should be subject to a referendum vote. This will greatly assist our OP and RF financially stressed neighbors and businesses - present and future.

Tom Clarkson  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 2:58 PM

William - understood...I think I'm feeling a little bit raw hearing that the OPRF board voted to pay employees time and a half to come in to perform certain essential tasks, arguing that they are at risk going to work in a mostly empty building. I don't hear of swamped medical professionals and truly at risk heroes extorting tax payers.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 2:28 PM

I agree, Tom, as reflected in my reference to "this existential health and economic threat." And I don't necessarily disagree with Michael- once we put the fire out.

Tom Clarkson  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 1:20 PM

Actually Mr Dwyer we are in the beginning stages of both a medical and a financial crisis. Both aspects are going to profoundly impact many people and require immediate action. Mr. Nevins doesn't know if everyone gets this so he seems to be proposing holding off on making a down payment on the new fridge using your example. We don't know how devastating this will be health wise and economically.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 12:37 PM

I think the time to discuss local tax policy is months from now, when we've mitigated and contained this existential health and economic threat. Talking about anything other than is akin to talking about getting a new refrigerator during a kitchen fire.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: March 21st, 2020 11:33 AM

@Mr Dwyer. I thought my comment from 24 hours ago accurately reflected most of the 20 or so previous ones - your's included - but my pivot to the struggling people and businesses of OP, IMO, was also appropriate AND empathetic. Further, there is something which we can consider doing about it - other than just being semi-quarantined in our residences. I didn't think/intend for my comment to be considered "political" but 100% related to the looming financial hardship of many people. Period. You don't agree?

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 8:46 PM

While Barbara and Michael were busy congratulating themselves on their shared views on tax policy, the President - Donald Trump himself - has declared the entire state of New York a major disaster area.Due In large part because active Coronavirus cases their have increased by 10 times in less than a week. I suggest people might want to focus on the urgent immediate, and save their other political grievances for some other time when lives aren't at stake.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 8:39 PM

Michael Nevins I would expect every human being would be selfless and we would all work as one and focus only on what we all have to fight now and put any money into what we are fighting now. That may be very naive thinking on my part although that is how I was trained

Barbara Purington  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 8:01 PM

@M. Nevins. Agree. Very well said.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 3:25 PM

One part needs to be added as you know William Dwyer Jr.. The N95 masks are in short supply and we need out medical staff to have them first. Then a plan should be established to have them passed on to people who need to go outdoors. We will win this battle if people are willing to listen to the tactics and employ them. I believe they will

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 2:53 PM

Thanks for clearing that all up Tommy.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 1:49 PM

William Dwyer Jr. It seems we really do not need any more posting as long as we have you. I will tell you there is a big mistake that is happening everyday that will continue spreading this disease, and that is going into a grocery store without any mask. People are in confined areas. The virus can stay airborne up to 4 hours. That is more time then people shop. People need food and right now this is the most likely choice is to grocery shop. I would suggest that grocery stores or towns supply masks as soon as possible to stop what can be the weak link in controlling the spread. Now prove me wrong William Dwyer Jr. I already asked about stop communicating the virus through parking meters and that was met with just use an app. People also do not understand that once a worker touches a product the virus could spread. Stay at home will work although you can not keep going out without some from or protection and understand that what you wore should be removed and sanitized. That is how you get serious about killing the virus and that is just in my own opinion and regardless we will get through this and I want us all to get through this so knock off how hard it is to stay home for a few weeks and stop the gatherings at grocery stores and other stores without protection

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 10:54 AM

Assuming you're correct, Bert- and you may well be (I've no idea what your qualifications are) - even if the current 4% mortality rate of all people positive for the virus is much lower in a larger population- say, just a tenth, it will still be nearly a million people dead. The idea here that "herd immunity" is an answer is utterly absurd. Limiting contagion is the only sane goal here. The fact is, you don't know, I don't know, NO ONE knows the mortality rate if the projected tens of millions of Americans become infected. But we DO know that so far, 4 out of every 100 people who have contracted the disease have died. That's not my opinion- that's documented fact.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 10:46 AM

Of course I agree with all of the "uncertainty" comments below. I have also read a lot about what Mr. Fischer has written and I do believe/hope it to be true. HOWEVER, what IS TRUE is that Oak Park residents and business owners are being badly hurt by the effects of this virus. I therefore propose that D200 immediately cancel their Imagine plan construction and that the other taxing bodies do something similar (not take the TIF money or PDOP building a new Rec center). These "want" decisions were made in a different era and are strongly contributing (high property taxes) to the very weak housing market in OP. A lower tax burden will enable owners, renters (people and businesses) to better meet their present/future financial needs. Doing this now will send a powerful positive message to everyone. If in the future some of these projects are to be considered: bring it to a vote of the community via referendum.

Bert Fischer  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 10:11 AM

The current death rate should not be used to calculate the chances of someone dying from this. William's 9.2 million person estimate is not even close to what would really happen if this broke out to 70% of the population. Most people who have had this don't know they ever had it and are not part of the overall statistics because they weren't being tested. For the most part only the worst of cases have been tested in this country. Look at the NBA, when everyone tests, the rate of cases goes way up. No one in the NBA is likely to die from this or even be hospitalized(more reflective of what would happen if everyone was tested). When this is all done - the fatality rate will be far below 1% for those infected. The higher model predictions I have seen for death have been around 1 million. The likelihood of this breaking the top ten of causes of death in most countries this year is slim. Look at early death rates for swine flu compared to what it actually ended up killing.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 8:41 AM

Here is the "latest" from the Worldometer website that tracks coronavirus cases. Of the 254,698 known cases, 10,447 have died, a roughly 4 percent death rate. With a US population of 328 million people, 70 percent is approximately 230 million. And 4 percent of that is 9.2 - meaning 9,200,000 people DEAD under a "herd immunity" scenario. Thanks for sharing, Greg.

Gregg Kuenster from RF CPA  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 8:20 AM

Here is the latest from AlJazeera https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/03/herd-immunity-slow-coronavirus-pandemic-200320092928984.html

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 20th, 2020 7:59 AM

You all need to stop posting here like you know what you're laking about, because you don't. I don't. Even the experts aren't sure about certain aspects about this disease. Herd Immunity? That would require, conservatively, more than a million people in the US DYING. "30 percent (the young) will become infected with zero outward reaction"? Based on what studies? Current stats indicate the exact opposite, that many "young people" are becoming seriously ill from this disease.Really, stop spouting off about a deadly disease you know nothing about.

Jack Canoy from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 10:56 PM

To William Kunz, the directive says an exempt 'Essential Activity' is "To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running" (10-a-iii), so just maintain that it's your outdoor activity. I assume working in my yard is also an outdoor activity. As I read the directive, doesn't seem I'm allowed to leave the village (all travel except for essential activities) to visit my sister in Oregon, though. Or, leave the village for any non essential activity at all! But, there is a provision for non residence to leave to return to a residence outside the village. I assume my sister would not be allowed to come into the village to visit me either. For that matter, I assume folks from surrounding communities are also not allowed into the village (like for grocery shopping) to potentially bring in the virus to reinfect us.

Gregg Kuenster from River Forest CPA  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 9:08 PM

Human Herd Immunity ... Good Question Terence Jones. I spent 1981-1991 disinfecting infectious HIV, ICU and ER rooms at ICU Hospital. I never felt sick then. I believe became immune from over exposure to disease, Herd Immunity was explained to me as follows. Lets say instead of billions of humans interacting there are only 100. All 100 humans will need to process the new Corona virus because it is "new". All 100 have the potential to be infected. 30 percent (the young) will become infected with zero outward reaction. Their blood cells will form new antibodies that will kill the Corona virus quickly. They will only be infectious for a short time. They will not cough but others infected from spit, kissing or diapers. Their blood cells will produce antibodies to kill the Corona virus. A personal immunity is created. Much like measles. 70 percent of the herd will have the potential to become infected with symptoms ranging from a mild cold to pneumonia/death(poor heath&aged). They will cough and be infectious longer. 99 percent of the infected human herd will not die but create antibodies that will cure them and create a personal immunity. Much like measles. If one member of the herd becomes immune that is one less member able to spread the disease. When somewhere over 50 percent of the herd becomes immune the infection rate declines rapidly. The herd will become more immune as a group. The medical community will be able to treat the Corona virus like past epidemics. MERS, swine flu and other epidemic viruses are still active in the human herd but the infection rate is very very low. I think this is mostly correct. If someone knows different, please correct me, If you have poor health or are over 50 years old, we need to act as if we are infected and do not want to infect others. Stay at home. The Human Herd needs to become more immune as a group. Less virus transmitted now = Lower deaths. God Bless us all.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 7:00 PM

Terence Jones Good thought although think of it this way. The virus eventually dies unless it has a carrier. We need people to stay away from each other and stop being carriers so the virus dies and researchers will continue working on finding a cure because just like the flu and and other virus, it can return and when it does, researchers will have found an answer to it. So continue limiting your movements and wash your hands or use sanitizer while out and keep a distance. We will win when everyone joins in

Terence Jones  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 5:38 PM

I am majorly confused by this whole Covid 19 scenario. I realize that isolation and social distancing is a good way to flatten the curve of spreading infections. However, once the 2, 3, 4 or however many weeks of this have elapsed and life starts to return to "normal", won't the infections spike again? Will the virus have died out?

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 4:40 PM

Kline Maureen I agree because the incubation period is from 2 to 7 days before showing signs and from there the symptoms are not all the same. The testing is important to get a base line which then can determine if the distancing is working although as of now there are people out who seem to be very casual and not thinking about others. Once the baseline is established then we can have results to work from. The most important think and positive news is that people do recover and they will learn about how they recovered which will also be very helpful. There are a lot of very positive things going on and I urge the important to keep distance and keep clean from spreading and remember we all want to stay healthy so put another person first and help each other

Kline Maureen  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 2:52 PM

just a reminder, those folks testing positive this week were probably exposed at least a week ago - - before all these extra precautions were ordered. What will be helpful information is to see what the rate is like in another week or so.

Newoka Stitt-Scott from Oak Park  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 12:31 PM

This is spreading because people are NOT taking this serious enough. China is already back on the road to recovery and we are not even close. It's not about rights being threatened or not enough information given, JUST STAY HOME if you can. It literally only takes 2-3 weeks. This is spreading because we are not complying with the suggestions.

William Dwyer Jr.  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 10:21 AM

I'd bet my $1,000 check from the feds that the VOP's order will be superseded by a statewide shelter in place order from Governor Pritzker within the next 24 hours. Stand by.

Michael Nevins  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 9:47 AM

For better and/or worse, this is soooo Oak Parkish. We are not an island. I just checked this site: https://www.cookcountypublichealth.org/. Nothing like what OP has just done. Isn't Rush/OP closer to FP or RF than most areas in OP? Brookdale is closer to RF, EP, Chicago than to my house in OP. Either this is the apogee or just another brick in the wall of this matter. One thing I know for certain - the financial impact of what OP is advocating is enormous to many local businesses.

Kim Dziedzic Chesta  

Posted: March 19th, 2020 8:43 AM

The shelter in place makes more sense in the context of the two cases of COVID-19 in health care workers at Rush Oak Park: https://wgntv.com/news/coronavirus/2-suburban-er-doctors-test-positive-for-covid-19/ There's definitely going to be more cases in Oak Park?"they don't even know how these workers acquired the virus.

William Kunz from Oak Park   

Posted: March 18th, 2020 10:47 PM

Well props to OP for taking this initiative. That said. I'm a 65 year old serial bike rider and nothing, I repeat, nothing will prevent me from saddling up weather permitting.

Jim Kelly  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 10:30 PM

Susan M. Bending-Wienke Roberts -- First of all, it's COVID-19, not CORVID -19. You ARE in danger, and NOT because of the first confirmed person. There is NO WAY to know how many other people are contagious, even though they asymptomatic and haven't been tested. It's smart to shelter in place. It's dumb to think you might be safer if you know more about the first diagnosed person.

Susan M. Bending-Wienke Roberts  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 9:46 PM

Why don't they tell us more info on the person with Corvid 19 so we can for ourselves decide if we might be in danger.

Debbie Dilworth-Weeks from Oak Park  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 9:01 PM

Ah, got it, Lisa. I don't think they're trying to scare people though. I think they recognize that people aren't taking the situation seriously enough, so they're making things more restrictive for them. I personally wish the nation would have to shelter in place right now.

Tommy McCoy  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 8:35 PM

Lisa Saxon Reed the best you can do is know we need to distance each other and behave in a civil manner. If we can do that, we will get through this in a much better way. As for kids playing, that is a very tough things to separate kids, although it will be up to the parents and what regulations are set for the parents. Lets let our leaders make the decisions with our best interest in mind and do our part and learn all you can on how not to spread any germs to others. If you have wipes use them on gas pumps, door handles, etc.. Really think what we can do to help not only ourselves, also how we can help others. Take time to refresh your mind and enjoy music, read, meditate or whatever bring peace to your mind. We all need this

Lisa Saxon Reed  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 8:21 PM

And that's my point Debbie!!! Be specific and measured for the situations you described. Don't scare ppl.

Debbie Dilworth-Weeks  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 8:05 PM

With all due respect, I don't feel a more measured response is what's called for right now. We have a public health emergency and not everyone realizes that and/or is choosing to respect that. When I was driving to a grocery store yesterday afternoon, I witnessed loads of kids and parents at Irving School's playground and a pick-up soccer game of at least twenty boys on Irving School's field.

Lisa Saxon Reed  

Posted: March 18th, 2020 7:54 PM

Pls join me in contacting Anan and the trustees to ask for a more measured response. If we want to keep teens from congregating during Spring Break, then institute that. The trustee number is 358.5784. The website is down so I can't find the email addresses.

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