Mayor Declares Local State of Emergency
Last Thursday, I asked all Evanstonians to do our part to “flatten the curve” to stop the spread of the Coronavirus. Our efforts to wash our hands and practice social distancing must be taken seriously by all of us to protect all of us, particularly older Evanstonians and those with underlying medical conditions.
Since my last message:
- Two Evanston residents have been confirmed to have COVID-19. They are self-isolating and are being monitored by our Health and Human Services Department.
- The Health and Human Services Department is conducting an investigation of all those who were in direct contact with the confirmed cases. These individuals are required to self-isolate and report to the Health and Human Services Department on a daily basis.
- Additional residents who have come into close contact with other non-Evanston COVID-19 exposures will also be required to self-isolate for 14 days.
- On Friday, the President declared a National Emergency.
- This afternoon, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the closure of all bars and restaurants statewide effective Monday, March 16 at close of business through Monday, March 30. (Restaurants will remain open for delivery, drive-through and pick-up orders.)
In light of these developments and the growing threat to our community, I took the action today of formally declaring a local state of emergency, a proactive measure which will enhance our City’s ability to respond to this infectious disease.
The City has also activated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which will allow for greater coordination and management of our COVID-19 response. The EOC will be led by a Unified Command Team, consisting of myself, the Acting City Manager, the Health and Human Services Director, the City’s Emergency Manager, and the Police and Fire Chiefs.
Additionally, I have assembled an Evanston Coronavirus Task Force comprised of key members of the education, government, business, faith, nonprofit, health, and senior communities. It’s my expectation that members of this task force will disseminate information to their respective communities, as well as share needs and concerns with the Unified Command Team.
Finally, a Special City Council Meeting has been scheduled for this Tuesday, March 17 at 6 p.m. to take care of time-sensitive City business, as our next meeting may not occur until April. (Please watch from home.)
I know this is an unusual, uncertain, and frightening time. Having spent my career helping communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from disasters, I can say that the social fabric of Evanston is strong enough to withstand this threat if we all comply with the directives of CDC and IDPH; continue to organize, lend a hand and help one another (for we all will be impacted by this emergency, but not impacted equally); and understand that our community leaders and organizations will be pressed to make difficult decisions.
I will continue to share with you substantive updates as I learn them. Please be safe, be smart, and be well.