coronavirus

Yes, You Still Have to Pay Parking Meters in Chicago During Stay-at-Home Order

Officials said they wanted to clear up any "confusion about the city's parking enforcement measures" after the mayor's announcement sparked questions for residents

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Despite Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot's announcement that the city will not be collecting debt for things like city tickets as residents are urged to stay indoors during the coronavirus outbreak, the city wants residents to know they must still pay their parking meters.

Officials said they wanted to clear up any "confusion about the city's parking enforcement measures" after the mayor's announcement sparked questions for residents.

The plan states that "enforcement will be prioritized for safety-related violations" and "enforcement on compliance-related violations will be suspended until April 30."

But the city says that doesn't mean free parking.

"While the city's [sic] is prioritizing safety-related violations, that doesn't mean we're not enforcing parking meter violations altogether," Kristen Cabanban, spokeswoman for the city's Department of Finance, said in a statement.

Officials are scaling back on ticketing for violations such as parking, street sweeping, residential permit parking and expired licenses, but such citations will not be suspended entirely.

The move is part of a penalty relief package announced by the mayor last week.

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.

The plan also postpones penalties for late payments on city tickets, utility bills, parking and re-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.

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