OAK PARK, Ill. (CBS) –The Village of Oak Park has issued an order requiring residents to shelter in place – effective Friday, March 20 through April 3.
The village said on Twitter that Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb has declared a local state of emergency, and Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley also issued a public order that requires residents to shelter in place.
Oak Park said a handful of businesses would be exempt from the order.
“These include businesses that provide essential services, including grocery stores, banks, convenience stores, pharmacies, restaurants for delivery and pick up only, laundromats, skilled trades essential to maintaining the safety and sanitation of residences, hardware stores, medical service providers, first responders, transportation providers, government activities and essential social service providers and shelters,” the village said.
“We are at war with an enemy that we do not see,” said Mayor Abu-Taleb. “It is not to make people panic. The hope is that people will see this as an impactful way to change their behavior.”
The order requires all Oak Park residents to stay in their homes. To the extent that they must use shared or common spaces, they must maintain social distancing of at least six feet from any other person.
People are allowed to leave their homes only for “essential activities, essential government functions, or to operate essential businesses.” Those experiencing homelessness are exempt, but are strongly urged to find shelter – and governmental and other entities are strongly urged to make it available.
Public and private gatherings in homes are not allowed. Travel – whether by foot, bicycle, scooter, motorcycle, car, and automobile except for essential travel and activities, is not allowed.
There are a handful of exceptions that allow people to leave their homes – such as obtaining medical supplies or medication, visiting a health care professional, getting supplies needed to work from home, and buying groceries. Walking, hiking, and running remain permitted provided that people comply with social distancing requirements.
The order was announced hours after the village’s message about its first confirmed case of COVID-19 – a man in his 30’s recovering at home.
No other Illinois jurisdiction has issued such an order.
As CBS 2’s Tara Molina reported, people who live in Oak Park said they are not surprised by the move and think it is a lead others will follow.
Oak Park is quiet already and about to get quieter.
“It’s crowded and just weird,” said Amara Hansen.
For families like the Hansens, who are already all together at home, Tina Hansen said, “I don’t think much is going to change from what we’ve been doing.”
She added, “We want to make sure we are doing the right things.”
Others we talked to agreed with the Hansens, calling the order a smart choice.
“I think it’s kind of nice for those who aren’t doing it for it to be mandated, to you know, help people who are more vulnerable,” said Amy Priebe.
The mayor hopes it sends a message to everyone, not just the people he represents.
“We all need to come together and stop or at least reduce the spread of this virus,” he said.
The order can be enforced by the health department and the police department.
The mayor said schools will not reopen on March 30 as state guidelines now dictate, but when the shelter in place order ends on April 3.