Monday, March 16, 2020 -- On Monday, March 16, Mayor Nancy Rotering issued an Emergency Order, pursuant to the Declaration of Emergency for the City of Highland Park (the City) issued on March 14, directing the closure of all health clubs and recreational clubs, and motion picture and live performance theaters by the end of normal posted operating hours on Tuesday, March 17, 2020. The Emergency Order has been posted to the City website. The Emergency Order will remain in effect concurrently with the term of the City’s Declaration of Emergency and will expire at the next City Council meeting or until rescinded or superseded by order of the Mayor or the City Council. The Emergency Order follows an Executive Order issued earlier the same day by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker prohibiting all public and private gathering of 50 people or more at locations including health clubs, private clubs, and theaters and also the closure of dine-in restaurants and bars.
The Orders from both Mayor Rotering and Governor Pritzker follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that collective groups of people can contribute to the spread of COVID-19 through infected individuals sharing the virus. The CDC has recommended that all events that consist of 50 people or more throughout the United States be cancelled for the next 8 weeks.
“It is difficult to order the closure of businesses within our community, however, theaters, health clubs, and recreational clubs naturally result in individuals interacting in close quarters. As we’ve seen worldwide, an effective method to combat COVID-19 is maintaining significant distances between people,” said Mayor Nancy Rotering. “After discussions with the City Council, City Manager and evaluating guidance provided by the CDC and Illinois Department of Public Health, it became clear that the closure of such facilities was necessary as we work to diminish the spread of COVID-19. For the sake of the community’s public health, it is important that people stay home and limit public interactions.”
Over the past several days, the City has taken steps to proactively protect public health by closing facilities and modifying operations to reduce the spread of COVID-19 within the community. The City has also canceled all public meetings, including board and commission meetings. These important steps allow individuals to work remotely and maintain safe distances as has been recommended by state and federal health agencies. The closures do not impact the City’s police and fire emergency services or water production. While reports have indicated that the COVID-19 may result in minor symptoms for most individuals, the actions taken by the City intend to protect all residents, especially the most vulnerable members of the community.
All questions regarding health and wellness related to COVID-19 should continue to be directed to the Illinois Department of Public Health’s hotline at 800.889.3931 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In an emergency, dial 911. When calling 911, for the protection of first responders and public health, callers must inform dispatchers if the sick individual is experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms or has travelled in the past 14 days.
Additional information about ongoing closures due to COVID-19 and availability of services throughout Highland Park can be found on the City’s website at www.cityhpil.com/covid-19, and is also posted to the City’s social media accounts, and will continue to be updated as information becomes available.