A day after Oak Park issued a village-wide lockdown following its first COVID-19 case, officials were forced to deliver a clarification on what its shelter-in-place order looked like for residents.
The order came hours after announcing the first confirmed COVID-19 case in Oak Park. Two doctors at Rush Oak Park Hospital have since tested positive for coronavirus.
In its statement, Oak Park assured the public the order isn’t a travel ban, and police officers won’t stop drivers at its borders. Rather, according the village, the order was intended to “focus attention on the importance of social distancing.”
Residents are also free to go on walks.
The clarification shows the lockdown is nothing more than what is already being implemented in Chicago. The village won’t require any kind of “work pass” or village documentations for people traveling to and from work.
Residents are urged to stay home, but businesses providing “essential services” are exempt, according to the village.
That includes “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,” officials said.
Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb declared a local state of emergency and Public Health Director Mike Charley issued the public order requiring residents to shelter in place beginning Friday through April 3, the village had announced Wednesday evening.
Earlier Wednesday, Oak Park officials said a man in his 30s was the village’s first confirmed case of the virus. He was recovering in isolation at home.
“The Oak Park Department of Public Health is working closely with officials from the Illinois Department of Public Health, investigating and notifying anyone who may have had exposure to the individual who tested positive for COVID-19,” officials said.
Violating the order will be treated as a violation of the Illinois Public Health Act, a Class A misdemeanor, according to a copy of the order obtained from the village.
The village’s website crashed in the minutes after the order was issued.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker, who has pleaded with residents to stay home but thus far stopped short of a statewide lockdown, announced Thursday that 422 people in Illinois are so far confirmed COVID-19 patients. Four people have died.
The tally is expected to grow exponentially in the weeks ahead with expanded testing.
Thank you to everyone who has reached out regarding the shelter-in-place order issued Wednesday by the #OakPark Department of Public Health. We hope the message below will help clear up some misconceptions. The official shelter-in-place order is posted at https://t.co/KxVAzei5j1 pic.twitter.com/CkTScyB0QO— Village of Oak Park (@vopnews) March 19, 2020
Read the full text of the order below: