coronavirus

Mayor Suspends Debt Collection, Ticketing and Towing as Chicago Battles Coronavirus

The move is part of a penalty relief package announced by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Wednesday

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Debt collection and penalties for things like parking violations have been temporarily suspended in Chicago as businesses close and residents largely stay indoors during a coronavirus outbreak.

The move is part of a penalty relief package announced by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Wednesday.

We asked Pulmonologist Randy Orr, MD, ICU and Medical Director at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital to take on comments we’ve seen on social media and let us know what’s true and what’s false.

It also includes penalties for late payments on city tickets, utility bills, parking and red-light citations, booting and other “non-public safety related violations.”

“This is a common sense way that we can help mitigate the burdens and pressures many are feeling. We know that these practices disproportionately impact the residents that are most in need during this crisis,” Lightfoot said in a statement. “We realize that many of our residents are strapped for cash right now as the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus has created difficult economic circumstances for those who are unable to work. We don’t want to further impact people who can’t afford to pay these penalties today and want to provide some breathing room to help them prioritize how to address their financial obligations.”

The plan includes:

  • Ticket Issuance
    • Enforcement will be prioritized for safety-related violations.
    • Enforcement on compliance-related violations will be suspended until April 30, 2020
       
  • Parking, Red Light, Speed Camera Violation Collections
    • Delay assessment of penalty (ticket doubling) until after April 30, 2020 
    • Delay driver’s license suspension until after April 30, 2020
    • No Booting until after April 30, 2020
    • Delay referral of tickets to collection firms until after April 30, 2020
    • No defaults of payment plans for until after April 30, 2020 
       
  • Utility Bills
    • Extend due dates until after April 30, 2020 delaying assessment of penalties
    • Delay referrals to collection firms until after April 30, 2020
    • No defaults of payment plans until after April 30, 2020
       
  • Administrative Hearing Collections
    • Extend due dates until after April 30, 2020 (this will delay assessment of interest)
    • Delay referrals to collection firms until after April 30, 2020
    • No defaults of payment plans until after April 30, 2020
       
  • Other Collection Efforts
    • Extend deadline for TNP and taxi drivers to pay debt to April 30
    • No debt holds on new licenses or permits

Law firms and collection agencies will also cease collection efforts.

Lightfoot is set to give a televised address about coronavirus Thursday. The mayor is expected to address residents from her office in City Hall at 5 p.m. The address will be televised live on NBC 5 and streamed in real-time on the NBC Chicago app and NBCChicago.com.  (More details here)

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