Monday, May 5, 2020
I am pleased to report to you today that Governor Pritzker has announced a five-phase plan called "Restore Illinois" to re-open the State of Illinois by region. Currently the state is in Phase II (see charts below), and the earliest any region could move to Phase III is May 29.
Below is information directly from the Governor's office:
"Restore Illinois is a public health plan to safely reintroduce the parts of our lives that have been put on hold in our fight against COVID-19. This is also a data-driven plan that operates on a region-by-region basis, a recognition that reality on the ground looks different in different areas of our state."
"The five-phase plan is guided by public health metrics designed to provide a framework for reopening businesses, education, and recreational activities in each phase. This initial plan can and will be updated as research and science develop and as the potential for effective treatments or vaccines is realized."
"The five-phase plan is based on regional healthcare availability and recognizes the distinct impact COVID-19 has had on different regions of our state as well as regional variations in hospital capacity. The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has 11 Emergency Medical Services Regions that have traditionally guided its statewide public health work. For the purposes of Restore Illinois, from those 11, four health regions are established, each with the ability to independently move through a phased approach:
Northeast Illinois • North-Central Illinois • Central Illinois • Southern Illinois
A 5-Phase Re-opening Plan for Each Region
Each of the four regions described above will be able to separately move through the five phases below to re-opening, based on the data in their region.
Phase 1 – Rapid Spread: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital is high or rapidly increasing. Strict stay at home and social distancing guidelines are put in place and only essential businesses remain open. Every region has experienced this phase once already and could return to it if mitigation efforts are unsuccessful.
Phase 2 – Flattening: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital beds and ICU beds increases at an ever slower rate, moving toward a flat and even a downward trajectory. Non-essential retail stores reopen for curb-side pickup and delivery. Illinoisans are directed to wear a face covering when outside the home, and can begin enjoying additional outdoor activities like golf, boating and fishing while practicing social distancing. To varying degrees, every region is experiencing flattening as of early May.
Phase 3 – Recovery: The rate of infection among those tested, the number of patients admitted to the hospital, and the number of patients needing ICU beds is stable or declining. Manufacturing, offices, retail, barbershops and salons can reopen to the public with capacity and other limits and safety precautions. All gatherings limited to 10 or fewer people are allowed. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
Phase 4 – Revitalization: The rate of infection among those tested and the number of patients admitted to the hospital continues to decline. All gatherings of up to 50 people are allowed, restaurants and bars reopen, travel resumes, child care and schools reopen under guidance from the IDPH. Face coverings and social distancing are the norm.
Phase 5 – Illinois Restored: With a vaccine or highly effective treatment widely available or the elimination of any new cases over a sustained period, the economy fully reopens with safety precautions continuing. Conventions, festivals and large events are permitted, and all businesses, schools, and places of recreation can open with new safety guidance and procedures in place reflecting the lessons learned during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Governor continues:
"Until COVID-19 is defeated, Restore Illinois recognizes that as health metrics tell us it is safe to move forward, health metrics may also tell us to return to a prior phase. With a vaccine or treatment not yet available, IDPH will be closely monitoring key metrics to immediately identify new growth in cases and hospitalizations to determine whether a return to a prior phase is needed."
"As millions of Illinoisans continue working together by staying at home and following experts’ recommendations, the result has been a lower infection rate, lower hospitalizations, and lower number of fatalities than without these measures. As the state’s curve begins to flatten, the risk of spread remains, and modeling and data point to a rapid surge in new cases if all mitigation measures are immediately lifted. The governor and his administration continue to urge all Illinois residents to follow the state’s stay at home order and to follow the guidance issued by the state and public health experts."
I am pleased to see that the Governor has outlined a data-driven and specific plan for re-opening our state in a safe manner. I hope that through our continued efforts at social distancing, we will continue to see a decline in the spread of COVID-19 and thus the ability to continue to move into the next phase sooner than later.
Stay safe and stay well.
Friday, May 1, 2020
Happy Friday everyone,
And still yet another week has gone by in our "new normal" and now it is the first of May. I am always encouraged by the beautiful flowers and trees that begin to bloom at this time of year, and after the rain we've had I think we will be able to look forward to a glorious blooming in the weeks to come.
As the Village of Barrington local government officials and staff follow Gov. Pritzker's stay-at-home order, we have continued to seamlessly provide essential services during this "new normal." At the same time, we are also making plans for re-opening our public buildings in June with a mind toward keeping the public and our employees safe while we adhere to social-distancing and mask-wearing principles.
I am always interested to know not only about our residents, but also how our businesses are managing during this time, and what your plans might be for re-opening your businesses once you are allowed to do so. Additionally, the Barrington Area Chamber of Commerce has provided virtual meetings where good ideas have been exchanged about necessary modifications and changes needed for reopening. There has been much creativity emerging thus far from this unfortunate situation; please let us know if the Village government can further support your business in these efforts.
In talking to our staff, we have discussed reviving the "Curious Questions with Karen Darch" podcast in the near future. We had just gotten this program off the ground when the pandemic forced us to put our attention on other tasks, but I would like to continue to provide this new way of connecting with our residents. I'm mulling over topics, but I would be very interested in your thoughts on what you'd like to know more about during this time, be it pandemic-related or not. If you have a Curious Question or a topic you'd like to know more about, please e-mail me at email@example.com.
I hope you and your family are staying well and safe, and I hope you are finding time to get outside and enjoy our spring sunshine (safely, of course!). Take care and have a great weekend!
Thursday, April 23, 2020
This afternoon Governor Pritzker announced that the state of Illinois will remain under a Stay-at-Home order until May 30. He will be issuing an Executive Order as such to take effect May 1. While I realize that this is not the news many of us were hoping for, it is unfortunately the reality that we must accept in order to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19.
According to data from Governor Pritzker's office, the peak of our curve in Illinois has yet to happen. The Illinois models predict that it will occur sometime in the next couple of weeks. At that time, we should then start down the other side of the curve.
Governor Pritzker also indicated that his office is working on a phased plan to begin slowly re-opening some businesses. His office will be sharing more on this in the days to come, but he did indicate that the following will take place beginning May 1:
- State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.
- Retail stores which are currently designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.
- Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.
- Surgical centers and hospitals will be able to re-instate some elective procedures, while still maintaining enough beds for COVID patients
Perhaps most significantly, Governor Pritzker's new executive order mandates that as of May 1, all citizens over the age of 2 who are medically able to do so will be required to wear a face covering in public where 6-foot social distancing is not possible.
This means that you must be wearing a mask or appropriate face covering (scarf, etc.) over both your mouth and nose when you are doing essential activities such as grocery shopping and so on. It also means that you should be wearing a covering when you are out and about in parks if you cannot maintain a 6-foot social distance.
Our Barrington residents, as well as everyone in Illinois, must comply with the Governor's order and respect these restrictions. As much as this difficult, these measures are for our benefit, for the benefit of our loved ones, and for the benefit of our entire community.
The better our compliance with these restrictions, the faster we will be able to stop the spread of the virus and begin to have a phased a re-entry into the world we have left behind.
Again, I realize that this is a difficult pill to swallow for all of us who are anxious to get back to work and back to normal activities. However, it is important to remember that the threat of this virus is very real and it has impacted many people, even here in our community. So let us all continue to stay the course and respect the stay-at-home order.
Thank you, and please stay well.
Friday, April 17, 2020
Another week has come and gone, and we are still social distancing and trying to adjust to our "new normal." Today Governor Pritzker announced that all schools will be closed through the end of the year, which is not surprising but still another indication that "getting back to normal" may take longer than we hope.
While we have been very fortunate here in the Barrington area in that our active cases of COVID-19 have been relatively low (just 29 cases in the 60010 zip code so far), we know that others have not been as lucky, and so we continue to do our part to bend the curve so that we can all begin to re-open certain segments of our community sooner rather than later.
And that makes me think of summer, and all of the wonderful activities that we normally enjoy in Barrington when the weather warms. While on the one hand the Village is working through the inevitable budget cuts that we will be facing due to reduced revenues, there is no doubt that we will all still need some fun this summer! And so we have been thinking about our summer events and how to adjust them to ensure that our entire community can stay safe, while also trying to work within the realities of our reduced budgets.
While we continue to await more detailed national and state guidance regarding larger gatherings this summer, we have already been proactive in making the decision jointly with Amdur Productions to postpone the annual Barrington Art Festival until September 12-13.
We have also made the decision to forego the Memorial Day Parade in favor of a very small ceremony at Village Hall that we hope to bring you virtually. In addition, all Barrington's White House events in May have been postponed, and we are looking into options for bringing you some of your favorite cultural events virtually until we can be together again.
At this time, we are still working through what our Cruise Nights/Summer Fun Thursdays could look like in the new era of social distancing. We're also considering options for adjusting our July 4th activities, as it is sadly difficult to think about the improbability of having so many people gathering in our downtown, despite our great affection for these beloved annual traditions. We have already been informed by the organizers of the Uncork Barrington Wine Festival and Barrington Brewfest that these events will not be held this summer.
While we have not made any firm decisions yet, we would love to hear your ideas for how you might want to enjoy your favorite Barrington events in the new era of social distancing. We'd also love to hear if you have ideas for other events that could be appropriate for this time. It's going to take a great deal of creativity and new thinking on all our parts to work together to ensure that we can all stay safe while coming together as best we can to take part in our beloved Barrington traditions.
We want to hear from you! Please e-mail your thoughts and ideas to me at firstname.lastname@example.org or to our events director, Patty Dowd Schmitz, at email@example.com. Our Village Board will be discussing summer events at our next board meeting on May 4, after which we will communicate with you about how our summer events will adapt and change in our "new normal."
Meanwhile, please continue to be well and stay safe. We are all feeling the effects of being cooped up in our homes (and today's snowfall certainly did not help that feeling!), but it continues to be critical that we adhere to the stay-at-home guidelines so that we can combat this deadly virus and all come back together sooner rather than later.
Take care of yourselves and your families.