Mayor Rotering delivered these remarks at the May 11, 2020 special City Council meeting. Video of the meeting is available on the City's website. For important information, resources, and news regarding the City's response to COVID-19, visit cityhpil.com/covid-19.
Since the onset of COVID-19, our daily lives have changed profoundly. It is important to note that our resilience, compassion, and perseverance have not. COVID-19 is still with us and continues to impact our lives and livelihoods, while posing tremendous health and safety challenges for all of us. But Highland Park’s true character grows stronger as we continue to confront these challenges together.
We recognize that COVID-19 will be with us for the foreseeable future. It has not gone away or changed since the very first Stay at Home order was put in place. What we know now is that as we move forward, things will be different. As we look to the future, changes will impact how we interact with each other in our neighborhoods, conduct business around town, and manage daily tasks like going to the grocery store or visiting the Library. With an eye on protecting our public health, we are planning for how to make this happen.
Public health officials are vital to helping us through this pandemic. By testing, contact tracing, and supporting each case, we are working to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Safety resources, data, reopening plans, and more continue to be emailed and posted by the City. If you have not done so already, please sign up for the City’s e-news by visiting our website at www.cityhpil.com and following-up on social media. We understand that there is a lot of information and some of it can be confusing. The City has put the information you seek with links and summaries in one place.
As a reminder, the City receives data and guidance from the Lake County Health Department and the Illinois Department of Public Health. Due to our proximity to Cook County, we also look at their data. We are also following Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois: A Public Health Approach To Safely Reopen Our State. The plan, which can be found on the State of IL website and our website, outlines steps that will need to be achieved to reopen the state and our hometown.
For reference, the state is split into healthcare regions. We are in EMS Region 10 in the Northeast Region of the state. The plan explains the data-points we need to reach to move through the varying stages of reopening. While the state as a whole is in Phase 2, localized data shows that our curve is not flattening yet, so it isn’t clear that our area is truly in Phase 2. Today, the Governor reported that the Central and Southern regions of the state are all hitting the metrics required to move into Phase 3 of the plan later this month, but the Northeast region which includes Chicago and most of the city’s suburbs, is not. Again, more details may be found on the City’s website and in our regular communication. Also keep in mind that Phase 3 does not fully open the state. Health and safety measures will still be in place.
My council colleagues and I share everyone’s frustration and wish for more flexibility. We want to be together again. Thank you for all of your continued hard work. The vast majority of us are socially distancing and wearing face coverings as we go about our lives. We are working together to figure out how to move forward despite this threat. Thank you for your continued participation, patience, and strength. Please continue to follow the orders, if not for yourself, then for our essential workers who have been fighting for us since the beginning and for those we love. We will get through this together.