Illinois governor issues new guidelines to minimize COVID-19 spread

Coronavirus Watch

A rendering of coronavirus via the CDC.

Coronavirus Resources

Coronavirus Resources from the CDC

SPRINGFIELD, Ill (WEHT) Following CDC guidance and recommendations by local public health experts, the State of Illinois is issuing new guidance to residents to prevent further spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

These new precautionary measures were developed with large events and gatherings in mind, and will promote social distancing practices – a key recommendation to prevent community spread of the disease with the least disruption possible to people’s daily lives.

Specifically, the State of Illinois is issuing the following guidance:

COMMUNITY EVENTS

  • The State and City are mandating all large-scale events exceeding 1,000 individuals be cancelled for the next 30 days. The City of Chicago will be enforcing this ban.
  • Additionally, the State and the City are encouraging that community events of 250 people or more should be cancelled or postponed until May 1. This includes personal and social events. Residents should use good judgment about canceling events in their own communities.
  • For events less than 250 people, residents should closely consider who is likely to attend the event and, if it includes vulnerable populations, strongly consider canceling.
  • All major sporting events with large spectator crowds should be cancelled until May 1. This should include school and college events as well as major league sporting events. The Governor has spoken with the owners of all the major sports teams in Illinois and they are in full support of these measures to protect the health of their fans and will cancel all games until May 1.

SCHOOLS

  • At this time, the City and the State do not recommend that school be cancelled. While schools will remain open, local jurisdictions should develop their own local guidance.
  • The State of Illinois is working closely with school districts around the state on their own guidance and policies, and currently recommends schools do  not hold large assemblies, including sports with spectators exceeding 250 people. While every school district is different, the State encourages school administrators and faculty to make responsible decisions, guided by recommendations from the CDC and the state, that are in the best interest of the health and safety of their students.

GOVERNMENT

  • The Office of the Governor will remain open and operating, as we are fully committed to ensuring that the government will continue to serve the people of Illinois during this time.
  • The Office of the Governor is working closely with all state agencies to ensure essential services will continue to be provided, while taking steps to protect the health and safety of state workers.
  • City Hall will remain open, and there is no plan to cancel meetings of the City Council for the next week. However, the City is strongly recommending, in accordance with guidance from CDPH and the CDC, that residents view next week’s meeting via livestream instead of in-person to ensure City business moves forward safely and efficiently.

BUSINESSES AND WORKPLACES

  • The State encourages businesses across the state to take advantage of teleworking capabilities.
  • Every business that can have employees work remotely should consider doing so immediately.
  • For those who cannot, we encourage employers to take proper precautions to keep individuals safe in the workplace. This includes reminding staff to stay home when sick or with a fever; considering a plan for teleworking where feasible; remaining flexible on leave policies; and promoting robust mitigation approaches, such as hand washing, cleaning, and offering hand sanitizer. The City is also developing an addendum to its sick leave policies, as well as guidance on teleworking for employees.

ELECTIONS

  • The election will proceed as scheduled on Tuesday, March 17. This is a fundamental function of government, and the state is committed to making sure the election proceeds with as little disruption as possible.
  • Local jurisdictions are encouraged to expand hours for early voting over the weekend to reduce the number of people who would need to vote on Election Day.
  • Voters who have not already submitted a vote by mail application can pick up a vote by mail ballot through Monday at their local election offices.

VULNERABLE POPULATIONS

  • The State continues to focus outreach efforts for those most vulnerable to severe illness from the coronavirus, our elderly and immunocompromised residents.
  • Individuals who fall into these categories should take extra caution when attending gatherings of any size and avoid exposure to large groups of people whenever possible.

The state has implemented new staffing procedures and strict guidelines restricting visitors at state-operated long-term care facilities and is also working closely with private nursing home and assisted living associations on the adoption of similar guidelines.

Right now, there are not any confirmed cases of coronavirus in our Tri-State area.

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(This story was originally published on March 12, 2020)

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