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City issues update on public health guidelines

More Evanston businesses will reopen today -- following strict public health guidelines -- as Illinois and Evanston progress to Phase 3 of Governor J.B. Pritzker’s Restore Illinois recovery plan.

According to the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), the rate of infection among those tested for COVID-19 is stable or declining across all four regions of the state as outlined in the plan, and COVID-19-related hospital admissions are stable or decreasing. Still, residents are reminded to be vigilant about following public health guidelines to continue to reduce the spread of COVID-19 as the city and state make progress towards a safe recovery.

Phase 3 Public Health Guidelines

During Phase 3, non-essential gatherings of 10 people or fewer will be permitted; however, community members must continue to take critical preventive actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including:

-- Staying home if sick

-- Covering coughs and sneezes

-- Cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched surfaces

-- Washing hands frequently for at least 20 seconds

-- Practicing strict physical distancing when in public

-- Wearing a cloth face covering when in a public place where a six-foot distance from others is difficult to maintain

Cloth face coverings slow the spread of the virus and help prevent people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others.

These public health guidelines will be important for residents and businesses to follow throughout Phase 3 and Phase 4 of the State's recovery plan.

The City’s local state of emergency declaration, which enhances the City’s ability to respond to COVID-19, was recently extended through June 8. There are no specific public health guidelines tied to this declaration.

Phase 3 Permitted Businesses

Phase 3 allows additional businesses to reopen while following strict health and safety guidelines established by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the City’s Health and Human Services Department. Guidelines include requiring the use of face coverings by employees within six feet of others, maintaining a six-foot physical distance between individuals unless otherwise permitted, requiring frequent hand washing, and limiting capacity in certain businesses.

Businesses permitted to reopen under these health and safety guidelines and additional industry-specific guidelines include:

-- Retail establishments, such as clothing stores and department stores Service counters, such as dry cleaners, electronics repair, shoe repair, and car washes

-- Personal care services, such as barber shops, hair and nail salons, and spas

-- Health and fitness centers for outdoor training or one-on-one training only

-- Non-customer-facing offices, such as legal offices, accounting services, architectural/engineering design, and other professional services

-- Manufacturing facilities, such as plants and factories

-- Restaurants and bars for outdoor dining, as well as indoor dining where 50 percent or more of a wall can be removed via the opening of windows, doors, or panels, provided that dining tables are within eight feet from such openings. (See City guidelines for outdoor dining here.)

The City is taking action to better accommodate and expand safe outdoor dining options for local establishments. Earlier this week, the Evanston City Council approved a resolution waiving sidewalk cafe permit fees for 2020 and allowing temporary permits to be issued in accordance with public health guidelines. City staff are also exploring options to create more space for restaurants to offer or expand outdoor seating areas, such as in parking spaces or parking lots, during specified hours.

Businesses should review and implement all IDPH guidelines prior to reopening. Guidelines and toolkits can be found here.


So, Evanston, what are YOU ready to do?

Eat out? Get a haircut? Have people over?

Or are you still planning to stay at home a while longer?


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