An order to shelter in place in west suburban Oak Park begins Friday as the village's mayor and health officials try to stop the spread of the deadly coronavirus amid a global outbreak.
Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb declared a local state of emergency under the Illinois Municipal Code Wednesday and the village's health director issued a public order directing residents to shelter in place from 12:01 a.m. March 20 through 11:59 p.m. on April 3.
"All individuals currently living within the Village of Oak Park are ordered to shelter at their place of residence," the order reads. "To the extent individuals are using shared or outdoor spaces, they must at all times as reasonably possible maintain social distancing of at least six (6) feet from any other person when they are outside their residence."
While all residents were encouraged to stay in their homes at all times, the order does provide for multiple exceptions: businesses that provide essential services, including banks, convenience stores, pharmacies, grocery stores, laundromats, hardware stores and more.
Those who work in “skilled trades essential to maintaining the safety and sanitation of residences” are also exempt, along with medical service providers, first responders and transportation providers.
Residents may also still go to restaurants, but for delivery and pick-up only - in line with a statewide order from Gov. J.B, Pritzker.
Full details on the order can be found on the village’s coronavirus response website here.
This makes Oak Park the first municipality in Illinois to issue a shelter-in-place order, though leaders in neighboring River Forest and Forest Park were also urging people to stay home, but hadn't issued a mandate. One Oak Park man said he thought other communities should go on lockdown as well.
"If we all did this together at the same time, our chances of eradicating this would be much higher," said Chris Bremer.