Mayor Lightfoot issues new plan to fight coronavirus
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot described a plan to keep the city safe through the coronavirus pandemic during a press conference at City Hall this afternoon. In her second live television appearance since taking office, Lightfoot revised Chicago’s official guidelines for wellness.
The address emphasized three main themes: people who are sick are ordered to stay home; public schools will remain closed until April 21; the local economy will be fine.
The Mayor began by describing how Windy City residents have worked together to overcome historic struggles like the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. “Resiliency and resolve are baked into our DNA,” she declared. “We will never be broken.”
The order to stay inside applies not only to people who are sick but also to those showing symptoms like cough or aches. It will be enforced accordingly.
“If you violate this order,” the Mayor advised, “there have to be consequences.”
While acknowledging that these restrictions create real hardships, she noted that they have also helped create positive outcomes in places like Singapore, where “the arc of the virus is starting to bend.”
Schools closed until April 20
The Mayor knows that school closures cause anxiety, but felt obliged to notify Chicagoans about the extension as soon as possible. “We need to give parents and guardians plenty of advanced notice,” she explained.
Chicago’s economy will be fine
Although people and businesses are suffering from the effects of the virus, especially those involved in the hospitality industry, Chicago has “the incredible benefit of being a strong and diverse economy.”
According to Mayor Lightfoot, the city will rebound as strongly as it did after 9/11 and the Great Recession. “We are prepared for an economic downturn,” she explained. “We have received a one million dollar windfall from refinancing our debt. We continue to monitor this situation on a daily basis.”
The actions that city hall has taken to ease financial stress on individuals include suspending debt collection on violations for parking tickets, red light cameras, and the boot; limiting ticketing, towing, and impounding of vehicles; refraining from sending debt collectors after delinquent accounts. Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart has also delayed eviction activity until April 30.
For the business community, the mayor described actions such as a deferment of tax payments for water, restaurants, and other businesses; and the Chicago Small Business Resiliency Loan Fund, a public/private partnership offering funds to severely impacted small businesses.
Mayor Lightfoot concluded the speech with a personal touch. “I am a mayor, but also a wife and a mom,” she said. “Chicago, we need to love each other with all our hearts today and everyday.”