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Mayor Lightfoot

Taken from the mayor's office.

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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Dr. Allison Arwady, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health, Interim Chicago Police Department Superintendent Beck and Superintendent Kelly of the Chicago Park District to remind Chicagoans of the critical importance of complying with the State of Illinois’ Stay At Home order regarding the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19).

With spring temperatures warming up, City officials reminded residents of key guidance to keep them safe and to comply with the order.  This guidance includes urging residents continue to practice key social distancing techniques, shown to prevent the spread of the virus; as well as encouraging residents to take precautions outdoors, including ensuring that trips outdoors are brief, individual and avoiding congregate settings and close contacts, which could further transmission.

“I want to remind everyone of how critically important it is for all Chicagoans to adhere to the State mandate during this time, which was implemented to stop the spread of COVID-19 and save lives,” said Mayor Lori Lightfoot. “In the face of this global pandemic we all must play our part in flattening the curve locally, and that means staying at home as much as possible during this time. I want to be clear we are not saying that you cannot go outdoors, but everyone must implement social distancing when doing so and exercise increased caution.”

Since Governor Pritzker’s ‘Stay at Home’ Order went into effect on March 21, residents of Chicago and across the state are mandated to stay at home as much as possible, and to limit occasions for leaving their homes, unless it is to: retrieve essential goods or services, go work if they are an essential employee, seek medical care, or to get fresh air. The order was issued out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health and prevent further spread in the community, and is expected to last through April 7, unless otherwise directed.

Chicagoans are still able, and encouraged, to do the following during this time:  

  • Go for a walk or run but maintain physical distance from others while doing so.
  • Walk their dog, but not congregate at the dog park or beach.
  • Visit one of the City's public parks and outdoor recreation areas that remain open for use during regular operating hours but avoid clustering in groups.
  • Shop at the grocery stores that remain open, as long as you are not sick, and practice social distancing.
  • Continue visiting the restaurants that remain open for pick-up and delivery.

“In order to flatten the curve of COVID-19, we need people to stay at home and avoid congregating in crowds during this time,” said Dr.  Arwady. “This virus spreads through droplets, meaning coughing and sneezing, which is why it is so important to socially distance yourself from others.  We want to make clear it is essential for people to be using these extra precautions, especially when leaving their houses, if we want to be successful in stopping the further spread of COVID-19 in Chicago.”

Additionally, under an order released by CDPH last week, any Chicago resident that has COVID-19 must stay at home during this time unless seeking emergency medical care. This order was issued out of an abundance of caution to safeguard the public health and prevent further spread in the community.

While the Chicago Police Department are empowered to enforce the Governor’s order through citations and additional measures, the Department is primarily focusing on educating residents about the new state order and providing warnings to individuals not abstaining from non-essential activities, and especially those congregating in large gatherings. To further ensure compliance with the State’s mandate, the Department will move forward with issuing citations if individuals don’t adhere to warnings from police officers.

"The number one tool our officers have is education, and we'll be working to ensure our residents have the most up-to-date information and guidelines to prevent COVID-19 and keep them healthy and safe during these difficult times," said Interim Superintendent Beck. “Adhering to this order will save lives and it is the responsibility of every Chicagoan to do their part to help keep each other safe.”

Chicago Park District’s facilities and fieldhouses will remain closed for the duration of the stay at home order.  However, while the district’s green spaces and parks remain open during this time, the it is taking the following public safety measures to ensure the safety of residents and communities:

  • Posted signage reminding residents that all field houses are closed and along the lakefront reinforcing social distancing along the lakefront reinforcing social distancing and reminding residents what that means.
  • Securing playgrounds, which are closed under the State order

"While Chicago Park District green spaces are open, we should not all rush out at once," said Chicago Park District General Superintendent and CEO Michael Kelly. "Parks are not gathering spaces for normal park activities. They should be used as resources for a brief respite, in accordance with social distancing and other CDC guidelines. We are relying on our residents to police themselves to keep our city safe."

The Chicago Department of Public Health continues encouraging everyone to take the following preventative measures in order to ensure the health and wellness of the general public:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick and stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces, such as doorknobs, countertops and phones.

For more information and updates on COVID-19, text COVID19 to 78015, email coronavirus@chicago.gov or visit Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E.  Lightfoot and Chicago Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) Commissioner Rosa Escareno today announced guidance for Chicago’s residents to be aware of and avoid consumer fraud related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak, including false advertising, phishing and price gouging. Following an increase in reports offraudulent practices, BACP is reminding consumers to report suspicious consumer fraud activity to the City by calling 3-1-1 or through the City's CHI311  

“While a reasonable price escalation due to increased demand or decreased supply may occur in the current environment, price gouging on things like medicine and other essential items will not be tolerated by the City of Chicago,” said Mayor Lightfoot.  “Today we are reminding residents to report activity immediately, so the City can take action immediately. We are sending a clear message that those who prey on the fears and vulnerabilities of our residents to profit during this time of crisis will be penalized to the fullest extent possible.”

Price gouging is an intentional price increase that goes beyond what would be considered fair or reasonable. In the month of March, BACP has received 190 complaints of price gouging, compared to only two in all of 2019. The majority of complaints are for household or health items such as toilet paper, tissues and hand sanitizer--with some complaints related to food and beverage products, as well. BACP evaluates each complaint based on relevant factors, such as prices prior to the Illinois Disaster Declaration and prices at nearby stores, and will impose fines of up to $10,000 per offense.

“Now is the time for all of Chicago to come together for the health of our community,” said BACP Commissioner Rosa Escareno. “We will not tolerate bad actors that think of their bottom line instead of their fellow Chicagoan during times like this. I will not hesitate to hold these businesses accountable.”

To ensure Chicago’s residents are protected from fraudulent practices, BACP recommends the following tips to keep scammers at bay:

  • Report businesses and third-party sellers of face masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes, toilet paper and other essential goods that are being charged for a high mark-up.
  • Ignore offers promising vaccines, tests or treatments for COVID-19.  At this time, there are no FDA-authorized home test kits for COVID-19. Similarly, there are currently no vaccinations nor treatments for COVID-19.
  • Never share your personal or financial information over email, text message or over the phone.
  • If considering charitable donations, residents should stick with familiar or reputable organizations.  
  • Be suspicious of unfamiliar businesses or online sellers who claim to have in-demand products, like cleaning, household, and health and medical supplies.  Products may be counterfeit.

“During this unprecedented crisis, we have to take every action possible to ensure Chicago’s residents are not exploited through misinformation on fake vaccines or price gouging for essential resources our communities need,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Arwady. “For the most-up-to-date information on how to prevent COVID-19 and keep yourself safe, residents should adhere to the advice of public health experts, not the scammers seeking profit from fear.”

In addition to BACP, consumers can also submit complaints to the Illinois Attorney General’s Office’s website  or by calling the Consumer Fraud Hotline (1-800-386-5438).

To learn more about COVID-19, including how to stay healthy during the outbreak, please visit  www.chicago.gov/coronavirus .

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CHICAGO - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Chicagoland area transit and transportation providers today announced assistance to help alleviate the cost burden of transportation during the State’s recently enacted Stay at Home Order. While the City continues to encourage all who can to stay home during this time, first-responders, healthcare workers and others need to have access to reliable transportation to get to and from work, while residents must maintain access to essential services. These transportation relief measures ranging from passenger credits to discounted usage fees will be in place through the duration of the Order, anticipated to last through April 7.

“During this unprecedented event, it is essential we provide needed transportation relief to the dedicated individuals working on the front-lines of this crisis, as well as ensure our city’s families and residents still have access to essential goods and supplies,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Despite the challenges we face, Chicago is committed to ensuring reliable and accessible transportation for every neighborhood and community, and we are taking every measure possible to provide the pricing support needed to keep our residents mobile and our city moving forward.”  

First, to ease the burden on workers in the taxi and ride-hail industries that are getting Chicagoans to and from critical services, the City previously announced that it will be delaying collection for several fines and fees through April 30, which includes the collection of the Ground Transportation Tax for taxicabs, Transportation Network Providers (TNPs, or ride-hail) and other public passenger vehicles. Furthermore, the City has also already announced an extension of the deadline for debt checks for TNP and taxi drivers until April 30. BACP is also deferring collection of the accessibility fee for taxicabs and TNPs until April 30 and deferring inspections of vehicles and renewals of licenses while BACP offices are closed.

Second, the CTA will continue to operate its regular service schedule so that riders can conduct essential travel. CTA will continue performing rigorous cleaning for buses and trains, which includes both daily cleanings and routine deep cleanings. In order to help residents that for the duration of the Stay at Home Order no longer need their CTA pass, CTA will be offering them a prorated credit for any unused days on active 7- and 30-Day passes. Customers with an active Ventra pass that they are no longer using are eligible to receive a prorated credit for any remaining days, based upon when the pass was last used. Prorated credits will be issued as a “Transit Credit” that will be automatically added to the cardholder’s Ventra account. Transit Credit can be used to purchase a pass at a later date or to pay for CTA travel on a pay-as-you-go basis. To learn more and request a credit, riders can visit: https://www.ventrachicago.com/

“Transit services are critically important to Chicagoans who need to get around for essential services,” said CTA President Dorval R. Carter, Jr. “We are committed to making sure our customers—and the people they serve during this difficult time—continue to have the bus and train service they need.”

Third, BACP is working to further assist the taxi industry with a direct subsidy while a short-term financial subsidy is being considered for Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle operators and taxis that provide rides for the Taxi Access Program (TAP). These measures are being taken to support taxi drivers and operators while ensuring transportation options remain available for those that need them, particularly the most vulnerable that rely on ADA and paratransit services for essential trips.

Fourth, because of the State mandated Stay at Home Order, ADA Paratransit passengers must limit travel to essential activities only. To help alleviate costs for paratransit riders, Pace is waiving its $3 fare collection on its TAP rides starting Monday, March 23. Riders are still required to present a TAP card to the taxicab operator at the beginning of the trip, and if the fare extends beyond $30 the rider will still be responsible for the remaining amount. This policy will be in place until further notice.

Fifth, the Chicago Department of Transportation (CDOT) is working with the City’s bikeshare partner, Divvy, to offer steeply discounted memberships through April 30, 2020. An annual Divvy membership will be cut in half from $99 to $49.50; and "Dollar Divvy" single rides, for 30 minutes, will be offered at a 66% discount from the $3 regular cost. Divvy is also launching a 30-day program to give critical healthcare workers free bikeshare rides; starting today and continuing through April 30, eligible healthcare workers can sign up through their employer to access unlimited 45-minute trips on classic bikes for 30 days. Interested health care companies can email herobikes@lyft.com to learn how to receive free memberships for employees.  

“CDOT is committed to ensuring Chicago’s robust and expansive transportation system works for all residents, particularly as we collectively navigate the uncharted waters of the COVID-19 health crisis,” said CDOT Commissioner Gia Biagi. “While many Chicagoans are working from home, there are still many of us who need to get around the city, and these price reductions are aimed at keeping everyone mobile as they continue commuting to work and seeking essential goods and services.”

Divvy provides essential connections to CTA and Metra, which remain the primary transit systems for commuting. The company is taking additional action to help protect the safety of the community by disinfecting bikes each time they arrive at the depot and doing additional cleanings on high-contact surfaces and vans used for transport.

“Thousands of front-line workers rely on public transit to get to work and many Chicagoans need trains and buses to get to essential businesses. We’re thankful City leaders and CTA workers are keeping the system running,” said Amy Rynell, incoming executive director of the Active Transportation Alliance. “While practicing social distancing, Chicagoans need to walk and bike to get around and lower Divvy rates makes that easier.”

The Chicago Department of Health continues to recommend social distancing for everyone when leaving their homes. These different plans and offerings will ensure that those who need to commute to work or travel within the city during the Stay at Home Order and who are low-income continue to have reliable and accessible transportation at more affordable rates. The City continues to monitor the needs of the transportation system on the ground and formulate policies to assist residents and brave front-line workers to help combat the spread and impacts of COVID-19. To keep up with the latest information on the City’s response to COVID-19 visit chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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CHICAGO—Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced new measures as part of the City of Chicago’s ongoing efforts to coordinate resources and emergency response for the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Working collaboratively across health and private partners, the City is increasing resources to improve safety and take the burden off of hospitals amid this unprecedented pandemic, and to allow residents impacted or at-risk for infection to safely seek shelter and recover from COVID-19. 

Today’s announcement includes two key new measures that will provide relief to hospitals and unlock new capacity to aid in the City’s fight to prevent the spread of COVID-19. First, the City has reached agreements with local hotel operators to provide more than 1,000 hotel rooms for those exposed to or mildly ill with COVID-19 but who are not in need of hospital care to safely quarantine or isolate themselves if they cannot be at home.  Second, the City has built upon existing social service partner agreements to provide emergency homeless shelter space that will better protect residents experiencing homelessness, who are more vulnerable to the spread of the virus.

“I applaud the commitment and dedication of our city’s partner organizations as we work together to meet this moment brought by COVID-19 crisis,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “By working in tandem with healthcare experts and local organizations to increase capacity for those affected, we have been able to develop innovative solutions to ensure every resident – regardless of status or where they live – are able to obtain the care and refuge needed to prevent the spread of this disease and keep every Chicagoan safe and secure.”

HOTEL SUPPORT

Beginning today, individuals who either have a COVID-19 diagnosis or who are awaiting test results, but who cannot safely return home and do not need hospital care can be transferred to downtown hotels rented by the City of Chicago. This will ensure these individuals do not put unnecessary strain on local hospitals and healthcare workers and will free up beds needed for more seriously ill patients. It will also decrease spread of disease in the community. Individuals will complete their quarantine or isolation period in their hotel room, under monitoring by City staff led by the Chicago Department of Public Health. 

“The importance of social distancing measures in helping to contain the spread of this virus cannot be overstated, and when individuals don’t have a stable housing situation or can’t go home without risking spreading it to others,  that can obviously exacerbate the problem,” said Allison Arwady, M.D., Commissioner of CDPH. “It’s especially important right now that everyone has a safe and secure place to stay.”  

The City of Chicago has reached agreement to provide availability of 200 rooms for individuals impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, expanding its existing capacity for quarantine and isolation. This is the first step in a series of agreements, which are expected to free up capacity at multiple hotel locations, spanning over 1,000 rooms by the end of this week.

“These companies and workers stepping up at this time should be held in the highest regard,” said Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Marisa Novara. “They are playing an incredibly important role in slowing the spread of this pandemic.” 

The City's hotel agreements represent a unique approach taken by the City of Chicago to work with hotel owners, operators and workers to expedite the availability of safe spaces for individuals with mild illness from COVID-19 to recover.  Chicago is leading the way by using underutilized hotel space to provide quarantine and isolation capacity as part of a broader public health response.  The hotel space leased in Chicago will be reserved only for individuals who do not require hospital care but who must quarantine or isolate after being exposed to, or having tested positive for, the virus. 

All hotel workers who work during any quarantine operations will be properly trained and will not directly interact with guests, who will be monitored by City staff, led by the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). As part of securing the first hotel agreement, the City worked with the hotel owners and Unite Here Local 1 to end an 18-month labor strike
The first hotel to come online is Hotel One Sixty-Six, which as part of the deal, resolved an 18-month strike by hotel employees represented by Unite Here Local 1.

Many of the hotel’s employees will return to work with raises, healthcare, and no increase in workload for hotel housekeepers.

“I’m proud of the strikers for standing strong over these last 18 months,” said Karen Kent, president of Unite Here Local 1, representing hotel workers. “I’m grateful for the unwavering support of the entire Chicago labor movement. And I’m thankful for the Mayor’s leadership in taking this important step to protect Chicagoans during the pandemic.” 

The City’s plan to leverage hotels in its efforts to supplement the capacity of its local healthcare infrastructure will also create new revenue-generating capacity for local hotel operators, which have experienced revenue losses as fewer travelers have come into the city, with fewer rooms booked.

“We are honored to help the City of Chicago provide safe accommodations for its residents,” said Ronald E. Silva, founder, president and CEO of Fillmore Capital Partners, the San Francisco-based firm that owns the Hotel One Sixty-Six.

HOMELESS INTERVENTIONS

Over the weekend, the City of Chicago reached a new agreement with the YMCA of Metro Chicago to protect those experiencing homelessness by providing increased access to emergency shelter at select YMCA locations during the Stay-at-Home Order issued in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This expanded partnership will create approximately 400 additional shelter beds and enable current shelters to abide by social distancing practices, requiring individuals to be spaced at least six feet apart. An additional 500 beds at other sites are anticipated later this week.

“The health and safety of all those we serve are among our highest priorities,” said DFSS Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler. “I applaud the YMCA for coming forward to help address a very critical need for homeless residents. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready, staying healthy and making sure the most vulnerable residents get the support they need.”

The agreement with the YMCA is the first step in a series of efforts to bolster the City’s response to COVID-19 for homeless populations, who are particularly vulnerable to contracting COVID-19. With shelter capacity at city-funded shelter agencies currently at nearly full at 99 percent, the Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) has temporarily suspended additional referral into the shelters as it works to reconfigure congregate shelter settings to observe mandatory social distancing techniques. 

"Like so many Chicago institutions, nonprofits like the YMCA face an uncertain future. But that concern is secondary to the health and safety of Chicago's citizens - especially the most vulnerable in our community like displaced and homeless individuals," said Richard Malone, President and CEO of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. “In partnership with the City and other community-based organizations, the Y is proud to step up to provide needed shelter in YMCA locations across the city that have been shut-down by COVID-19.”

DFSS in recent weeks has also accelerated the work of its Homeless Outreach Program (HOP) team: increasing visits to encampments to provide resources, working to identify residents at higher risk for COVID-19 due to older age and severe chronic health conditions, and gauging interest in shelter placement.  The HOP team has also deployed hand-washing stations to the city’s larger encampments and has made sure hygiene kits, hand sanitizer and wipes are available. This outreach has been in partnership with multiple city-funded agencies that provide wraparound services for unsheltered residents year-round.

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Chicago — AARP Illinois and Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced they will cohost a telephone town hall next week joined by Commissioner Lisa Morrison Butler from the City’s Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) to engage directly with the City’s senior population. The town hall was developed to address to growing questions and concerns about health, wellness and service offerings in response to the novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-190, and it will address thousands of Chicago residents on Thursday, March 26 at 7 p.m. In advance of the Telephone Town Hall, AARP and Mayor Lori Lightfoot will host a Facebook Live Monday afternoon at 3:30 p.m.

The sessions will offer listeners a chance to learn how to access the resources in place throughout Chicago, including those made available by the City to offer assistance older people, as well as those caring for them. DFSS is communicating with nearly 40,000 seniors across the city via ongoing robocalls with information and guidance from the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) regarding COVID-19. The department has also taken several steps to help the senior population including delivery of boxed meals food, arranging for transportation options and helping those most in need continue to have care in place.

“It’s times like these that it is critical for organizations to band together in helping keep members of the general public, specifically those at a higher risk, healthy and informed,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “I am pleased to join AARP in doing just that. Safeguarding the health and wellness of Chicagoans is our top priority during these difficult times, and I want to thank AARP Illinois for their partnership in creating an event that will help us to communicate the robust response plan put in place by the City along with its public and private partners.”

The town hall will be available to 41,000 AARP members in Chicago as well as members of the general public through a Facebook and Twitter Livestream. Data shows that members of the older population, specifically people that are age 60 or older are more vulnerable to COVID-19, which causes a respiratory illness that can lead to serious cases of pneumonia. 

“People who are 60 and older are at an increased risk for serious illness from COVID-19, especially those living in long-term care settings where patients are grouped in a communal space and the virus can easily spread,” said AARP Illinois State Director Bob Gallo. “AARP has been working to promote the health and well-being of older Americans for more than sixty years and is more committed to do so than ever during this worldwide pandemic.”

In addition to working to ensure that older adults, their families and those caring for them have the most accurate and up-to-date information to protect themselves from COVID-19 and prevent the spread to others, AARP has also been working with City leaders on other concerns related to the outbreak, including:

  • The need for robust support and resources provided to states and local communities, including health care professionals and first responders, who are on the front lines of this effort.
  • The potential for fraud as scammers prey on older adults during this time – using headlines as opportunities to steal money or sensitive personal information.
  • Social isolation and the risks associated with leaving vulnerable older adults without access to food and regular human contact during this time.
  • Worries about financial security during uncertain economic times with markets reacting (or overreacting) to coronavirus news of the day.

The town hall will offer participants clear guidance on actions they can take to protect themselves from COVID-19 and reduce the spread throughout the city. After the town hall, an information packet that outlines the services put in place throughout Chicago to assist older residents will be e-mailed to as many of the call’s participants and AARP Chicago’s 250,000 members as possible.

The town hall will be carried live by AARP screeners to ask questions directly to AARP Illinois, Mayor Lightfoot and Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner of the City’s Department of Family & Support Services.

“Supporting our vulnerable populations is more important now than ever before,” said Lisa Morrison Butler, Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services. “We all should call older loved ones, neighbors and friends to check up on them. Everyone has a role to play in getting ready, staying healthy and making sure seniors have the support they need.” 

AARP Illinois members in Chicago who opt to receive telephone town hall calls as part of their membership will receive a phone call shortly before the start of the March 26 event. Those who wish to join the tele-town hall through Facebook and Twitter can do so from the AARP and Mayor’s Office pages.

You can find AARP's coronavirus resources at www.aarp.org/coronavirus

CHICAGO— Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Sittercity, America’s first online resource for in-home care, today announced a new initiative to help Chicago’s most essential workforce – healthcare workers, first responders and the teams who support them – continue to work on behalf of the City amid coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). A new, dedicated website – sittercity.com/chicagoresponds – will make it easier for workers deemed an essential part of the infrastructure helping Chicago stay safe, to find reliable childcare that will allow them to continue their crucial work. 

Through this initiative, Sittercity will provide three free months of the Sittercity Premium service and will connect those on the frontlines of fighting this crisis with volunteers to help care for their families during this time.

"During this unprecedented challenge to our city, we need everyone stepping up and doing their part," said Mayor Lightfoot. "I applaud Sittercity for doing just that by providing a gateway to the critical childcare needed by our fellow Chicagoans working on the front-lines to stem the spread of COVID-19 and maintain essential services for our communities. As we have throughout our history, we will get through this crisis together as a united people, and ultimately grow stronger as a result."

The website offers a way for thousands of Chicagoans who dedicate their lives to caring for children and who are unable to work while their primary workplaces are closed to pitch in. By connecting these residents with the families who need them the most, this program is building a bridge of care that will provide help in a time of great need.

“As a company full of working parents and former sitters, we understand the challenges facing first responders with schools and daycares closed,” said Elizabeth Harz, CEO of Sittercity. “By facilitating and managing the connections between families and caregivers, we are happy to do our part in supporting the work of the Chicagoans on the frontlines in the fight against this pandemic.”

Both those interested in volunteering, and those in need of childcare, can register on sittercity.com/chicagoresponds. Sittercity provides tools to help families build a childcare support network with detailed profiles, secure messaging, interview scheduling and background check options. Care seekers simply post a job to the platform detailing their needs - including dates, times, and the number and age of children. The job post is shared with available caregivers in the area who can choose to apply.

Mayor Lightfoot’s administration has started working with public and private partners, nonprofits and the philanthropic community to provide resources to all of Chicago’s residents, especially the most vulnerable of them. To ensure residents have access to basic services, the City of Chicago, working with the United Way of Metro Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust, launched the Chicago Community CVOID-19 Response Fund. The fund, which raised over $13 million in its first week alone, will direct emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, and utility assistance to areas with the greatest need.

As COVID-19 escalates, the Lightfoot administration will continue to call on external partners to work in tandem with the local government to ensure the entire city is supported during this time. There are a number of ways the general public can get involved and help the COVID-19 response. Residents looking to volunteer or lend support can visit the City’s website.

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HICAGO — Following Governor JB Pritzker’s statewide order for Illinois residents to stay at home or in place of residence to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined The Salvation Army, Greater Chicago Food Depository, Illinois Retail Merchants Association (IRMA) and the United Way as part of a new partnership to further ensure access to food and services while operations are limited and more residents are at home.

To combat the impact of COVID-19 on Chicagoans, Mayor Lightfoot and her administration have worked with dozens of private and philanthropic partners to coordinate a menu of options to ensure that residents maintain access to food and basic services. The City today is reminding its residents about where they can go to access these resources, including food, which remains a top concern for Chicago’s most vulnerable populations, especially seniors.

“As difficult as things are now, we are seeing the resiliency that is in Chicago’s DNA. I want to personally thank each of these organizations for stepping up and doing their part to support our countless families who find themselves in need,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Ensuring our residents – particularly those most vulnerable – have vital resources and supports during these times of uncertainty starts by working together in collaboration with our local organizations, non-profits and private partners to lend a helping hand to our communities.”

During the stay-at-home order, grocery stores, pharmacies, and convenience stores will remain open as they are essential services for residents. To ensure residents have access to goods they need from groceries, pharmacies and convenience stores, the City joins IRMA in urging all residents to maintain normal shopping routines and avoid stockpiling food and other necessities.  

IRMA has also directed retailers to help support access to groceries and shopping, with more local grocery store chains stepping up and providing special hours for seniors to shop. A full list of those locations can be found here.

“One of the hallmarks of the retail industry is to manage the supply and demand chain on a constant basis to meet customer demands and we are doing that during these extraordinary times. In fact, the supply chain is working from the farm to your local grocer and while demand is high your needs will be met. We are working around the clock to ensure customers throughout Chicago will have the products it needs for you, your families and businesses,” said Rob Karr, president & CEO, IRMA. “However, it’s imperative that consumers maintain their normal shopping patterns for the health and safety for both the employees who work at our stores and fellow consumers. Many grocery stores throughout Chicago have established early morning hours to accommodate seniors and our most vulnerable citizens and this list can be found at www.irma.org. We urge both families and loved ones to review this site, which is being updated constantly. I would be remiss to not thank the leadership demonstrated by Mayor Lori Lightfoot and her team in working with our industry every step of the way.”

As part of the City’s efforts to ensure residents have access to basic services, the United Way of Metro Chicago and the Chicago Community Trust, in partnership with the City of Chicago, launched the Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund to support communities affected by COVID-19. This fund will direct emergency food and basic supplies, rent and mortgage assistance, and utility assistance to areas with the greatest need. As of today, the fund has raised $13.5 million to support those most in need during this time. 

“The events of the past few weeks have significantly impacted all of our lives, while also encouraging us to come together to make a difference,” said Sean Garrett, President and CEO of United Way of Metro Chicago. “The Chicago Community COVID-19 Response Fund was created to increase access to emergency food and basic supplies, ensuring that our friends, families and neighbors have the essential resources they need during this unprecedented time.”

As COVID-19 escalates, the Lightfoot administration will continue to call on external partners to work in tandem with the City to ensure all of Chicago’s communities are supported during this time. Last week, Citadel and Citadel Securities mobilized $2.5 million in aid to help Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Greater Chicago Food Depository combat food insecurity amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak, including sustaining the food distribution locations at more than 500 CPS schools.

“We know this is an uncertain time for many people in Chicago,” said Kate Maehr, executive director and CEO of the Greater Chicago Food Depository. “But in collaboration with the City of Chicago and other strong partners, we are working hard to make sure those who are most affected by this pandemic will have the food that they need. If we work together, we can help ensure that no one goes hungry in this great city.”

A strong partner in the City’s targeted outreach to vulnerable populations, the Salvation Army’s food pantries at their individual corps community centers remain open to ensure Chicago’s neighborhoods have the food and essentials they need. 

"The Salvation Army is dedicated and uniquely positioned to meet the needs of people affected by COVID-19, whether they need food and emergency assistance, or hope and support,” said Major David Dalberg, Emergency Disaster Services Director at The Salvation Army Metropolitan Division. “We're prepared to provide that help today and into the future.” 

For residents seeking assistance with meals or other necessities, the administration encourages residents to visit its website, call 311 or contact directly any of these designated partners:

Greater Chicago Food Depository

  • Anyone in need of food assistance can turn to the Food Depository’s network of agencies and programs. Find a nearby food program here
  • With some exceptions, their network of 700 partner agencies and programs remains open. These sites are modifying their distributions to promote social distancing, including offering pre-packaged boxes of groceries. 
  • The Food Depository’s benefits outreach team is available by phone to help Chicagoans apply for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Medicaid benefits. SNAP benefits can be used to purchase groceries from local stores. 
  • For benefits outreach assistance, call 773-843-5416 on Mondays-Fridays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. or apply directly with the Illinois Department of Human Services at abe.illinois.gov. 

The Salvation Army

  • The Salvation Army’s Metropolitan Division Emergency Disaster Services (EDS) will be providing mobile feeding services. The Salvation Army can prepare 50,000 meals in 24 hours, 75,000 meals in 48 hours, and 100,000 meals in 72 hours. 
  • The Salvation Army is prepared to serve identified individuals who are in quarantine or isolation. The Salvation Army will deliver meals to City-designated sites for distribution. The Salvation Army is also prepared to feed first responders and individuals in shelters across the City of Chicago.
  • The Salvation Army’s 19 Chicagoland food pantries remain open to provide curbside service and will continue to serve as a resource for anyone who needs assistance. The Salvation Army is already helping those families affected by income interruption caused by COVID-19. For more information on emergency assistance, please call  (773) 725-1100 or visit salarmychicago.org/coronavirus.

Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS)

  • Until March 27, DFSS will provide daily quantities of take-away boxed meals to senior citizens in need at six senior centers, 15 satellite centers and 30 community sites.  
  • Meals will be home-delivered instead of provided onsite. Seniors who find themselves in need of such supports can call 312-744-4016 any time between 9 a.m. – 5 p.m., Monday-Friday.
  • In addition, Meals on Wheels will continue to operate, and will provide meals to homebound seniors ages 60+. 
  • For more information, visit: https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/fss/provdrs/serv/alerts/2020/march/dfss-response-to-covid-19.html

Chicago Public Schools (CPS)

  • All schools – representing around 600 district schools and 27 charter schools – are open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m., to provide grab-and-go meals (breakfast and lunch). Families will receive three days a meal for each young person in the household.
  • If families have trouble getting to a site, they can call 773-553-KIDS or email at familyservices@cps.edu to make a request for food delivery. For more information, visit cps.edu/coronavirus.

Archdiocese of Chicago/Catholic Charities

  • The Archdiocese of Chicago offers 120 sites to support residents, which includes schools open for drive-by meal pick up Monday-Friday. 
  • Catholic Charities will continue to serve residents at their Food Pantries and Evening Meal Programs. Locations and phone numbers can be found here: http://www.catholiccharities.net/Home/Search.aspx?search=emergency+services. To access other services please call 312-655-7700.

Over the past several weeks, Mayor Lightfoot has worked tirelessly to build public-private partnerships to scale resources and provide economic relief during COVID-19. Recognizing the burden of COVID-19 on individuals, particularly low-income households, the Mayor temporarily halted debt collection practices, including ticketing, towing, booting and impounds. The Mayor also announced a small business relief package, headlined by a $100 million loan fund to be deployed to provide much-needed local cash flow and stopgap relief for small businesses. These measures are necessary as Chicago, like other municipalities, awaits federal support.

More information and updates on COVID-19 can be found on CDPH’s “The Doctor Is In” Livestream Monday-Friday at 11am, by texting “COVID19” to 78015 or by visiting Chicago.gov/coronavirus.

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CHICAGO--Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today joined Governor JB Pritzker to announce a statewide order for Illinois residents to stay at home or place of residence.  The order requires all residents to stay home, unless traveling for essential needs or business, and requires businesses not engaged in essential activities to cease all activities except for minimum basic operations.  The order will take effect on Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m., across the State of Illinois and will remain in place until the Governor’s Disaster Proclamation expires on April 7. A copy of the order may be found here.

These latest guidelines build on measures taken by the State and City over the past several weeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and to scale services and operations to ensure the health and safety of residents.

 “Every action we’ve taken so far is based on the latest science and data from health officials as we combat the dynamic spread of COVID-19, and this is no exception,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “This decision was not an easy one, but Governor Pritzker’s order for Illinois residents to stay at home is the right thing to do to ensure we are protecting the health and wellbeing of our residents. We strongly encourage our residents to follow the guidelines and ensure the safety of their neighbors as we work to confront this crisis together.”

“We are doing all that we can to maintain as much normalcy as possible while taking the steps we must to protect our residents,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people’s lives and saving their livelihoods.  But ultimately, you can’t have a livelihood without a life. This will not last forever, but it's what we must do to support the people on the front lines of this fight, and the people most vulnerable to its consequences.”

To ensure the protection of all residents during the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic, the State’s order requires all residents to stay at home, unless they are engaged in essential activities, like going to the grocery store or the pharmacy.  Under the order, individuals will no longer be able to engage in public or private group activities, participate in social activities at bars or nightclubs, or take unnecessary trips.  The order also closes non-essential businesses from any activity except minimum basic operations, which includes activities to preserve inventory, process payroll, or facilitate working from home.  For more information on the order, please see the City’s FAQ here.

During the order, individuals can still fulfill all of their essential needs, including:

  • Traveling to obtain necessary supplies, including food, pet supplies, medicine, or take-out food;
  • Attending appointments at a hospital or mental health provider;
  • Visiting private businesses that offer essential services, including pharmacies, hardware stores, banks, and laundromats; and
  • Using city or state governmental services, including fire and police.

If someone must leave their residence for one of the allowable activities outlined in the order, the individual is asked to comply with social distancing guidelines to the maximum extent possible. 

The order explicitly defines “social distancing requirements” as maintaining at least six feet of distancing from other individuals, washing hands, covering coughs or sneezes, regularly cleaning and disinfecting high-touch surfaces, and not shaking hands. Residents are still advised to refrain from participation in gatherings over 50 people or more, according to earlier guidance provided by the State of Illinois in consultation with CDC and health experts.

Residents who are sick must continue to stay home under the directive issued yesterday by the Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH).

 “This is an unprecedented and challenging moment for every single Chicagoan,” said CDPH Commissioner Dr. Allison Arwady. “Though difficult, these bold measures are critical to stemming the spread of COVID-19 and securing the health of Chicago’s residents and families. No one is immune from this virus and everyone has a role to play in this fight, starting with adhering to the stay-in-place order, practicing social distancing when out, maintaining basic hand hygiene, as well as remembering to be especially mindful of our elderly residents and those with underlying medical conditions.”

The order does not interfere with the operation of essential businesses.  Many businesses that provide essential services – including hospitals, banks, grocery stores, utility companies, and home-based care services for seniors and people with disabilities—will remain open to ensure all residents, including the most vulnerable populations, will have continued access to care. 

The Lightfoot administration has taken a series of measures in recent weeks to protect residents and prevent further spread of the virus. This includes steps taken to limit access to public facilities, protect workers, reduce non-essential services and provide economic relief to those residents and businesses that are most financially vulnerable to the impact of COVID-19.

The City has expanded public-private partnerships to ensure ample resources are in place. Yesterday, the Mayor announced a new small business relief fund, which will direct $100 million to provide cash flow for small businesses, allowing them to keep workers on the payroll. The City has also secured a $2.5 million donation from the partners at Citadel and Citadel Securities to help Chicago Public Schools (CPS) and the Greater Chicago Food Depository combat food insecurity amid the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak.

“Chicago’s businesses and residents should rest assured their first responders, including CPD, CFD, paramedics, and other public safety personnel, will continue to be on the job and working around the clock to ensure our communities and neighborhoods remain safe during this crisis,” said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. “Meanwhile, we encourage everyone to continue to practice vital safety measures as directed by our City and State’s elected leaders, and help their fellow residents do the same.”

Notwithstanding the State’s order, City will also maintain core government services to meet the needs of its communities, preserving key functions of public safety agencies, including CPD, CFD, OEMC and the Department of Streets and Sanitation. To comply with guidance by health experts, the City has also announced the following changes to non-essential services and operations:

  • Extended the closure of Chicago Public Schools until April 21
  • Chicago Park District locations will be closed at the close of business today
  • Chicago Public Library locations will close as of 12 p.m. tomorrow
  • City Hall will remain closed to the public until further notice
  • The City will continue to offer essential services (public safety, health, sanitation, water)

At the beginning of the month, Mayor Lightfoot, CDPH and the Office of Emergency and Management and Communications (OEMC) began spearheading the City’s COVID-19 Taskforce to put Chicago in the best position possible as the situation evolves.  Under the Taskforce, 12 unique subcommittees are vigorously working to continuously address and update the City’s response tactics in the wake of this fast-moving and evolving situation.

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Illinois that is billions of dollars in debit has decided that adding a few more dollars to that debit is good PR.

 

 


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