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COVID-19 UPDATES FROM THE MAYOR

LAST UPDATED JUNE 2, 2020

OUTDOOR DINING

On May 20, Governor Pritzker announced that he will allow bars and restaurants to open for outdoor seating only during Phase 3 of his Restore Illinois Plan. We are on schedule to move into Phase 3 on May 29. We’ve developed Outdoor Seating Guidelines and an Outdoor Sidewalk Cafe Application for restaurants.

Outdoor Seating Guidelines

Outdoor Sidewalk Cafe Application

Health Department Restaurant/Bar Guidelines

Health Department Restaurant/Bar Check List

State Business Guidelines

State Business Toolkit

Tent and Outdoor Cooking Requirements

Here are other ways we’re helping restaurants reopen for outdoor dining:

• Dedicating Public Works and Community and Economic Development Department staff to facilitate an expedite the approval process for all outdoor seating.
• Waiving permit fees associated with establishment of outdoor seating areas for restaurants on public and private property.
• Allowing temporary outdoor seating areas in private parking lots, sidewalks, public lots and alley’s (subject to safety standards).
• Suspending the liquor license approval process for existing restaurant license holders to expand or create outdoor seating areas.

If you have additional questions, please email businessfirst@rockfordil.gov.

HOUSES OF WORSHIP

Health Department Houses of Worship Guidelines

CHILDCARE AND YOUTH SUMMER PROGRAMS

Health Department Childcare and Summer Programs Guidelines

ROCKFORD REGION REBOUNDING WORKGROUPS

In order for us to be ready to both create and navigate our new post-COVID reality, Mayor McNamara established Rockford Rebounding working groups. These groups will develop ideas and recommendations for our City team, City Council and the broader community to act upon and help build a stronger city than we were prior to COVID-19.

For a list of the workgroups, click here

ILLINOIS RESIDENTS ORDERED TO STAY HOME

On March 20, Governor Pritzker issued Executive Order 2020-10 requiring all Illinois residents to stay in their homes from 5 p.m. on March 21 until the end of the day on April 7 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. The order prohibits things like visiting the homes of friends and holding gatherings of any size and closes all nonessential establishments, including most retail, recreation and entertainment businesses. It does NOT prohibit essential activities like going to the grocery store, receiving medical care, or taking your pet for a walk. 

On March 31, Governor Pritzker extended the order through April.

On April 23, Governor Pritzker extended the order through May.

For more information, read the original Executive Order and the new Executive Order (effective May 1).

The City of Rockford has also developed this graphic to help define what is essential according to the Executive Order.

ESSENTIAL AND NON-ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES

Since the Stay at Home Executive Order was announced, we have been working closely with the Winnebago County State’s Attorney and the Winnebago County Health Department to review all complaints and inquiries regarding essential and non-essential businesses. If a business is deemed non-essential, the City Department of Law will issue a determination letter advising the business to close. If the business refuses to close, we will take all legal measure to enforce the Executive Order, including revocation of licenses, condemnation, fine, and criminal or civil sanctions.  

The Winnebago County Health Department will review and investigate complaints that an essential business is not taking proper measures to protect their employees and customers.  

If you have a question or complaint, please call the Winnebago County COVID-19 hotline at 815-319-6705 or send an email to COVID19@wchd.org. Responses will be updated on the COVID19 FAQ document, which is updated regularly. 

CITY HALL PUBLIC ACCESS LIMITED

The City of Rockford is limiting public access to City Hall after the close of business on Thursday, March 19. City Hall will reopen to the public on Tuesday, June 16. During the closure, operations at City Hall will continue. This closure is meant to protect our citizens and employees and minimize opportunities to spread COVID-19 in our community.

For more information and guidance about how to conduct business with the City of Rockford, click here.

CASES

On March 15, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), along with the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), confirmed a case of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Rockford region.

On March 31, the Winnebago County Health Department announced the first death related to COVID-19 in Winnebago County.

As of June 2, there are 2,309 confirmed cases, 63 deaths and 753 recoveries in Winnebago County.

BUSINESS RESOURCES

We’ve compiled a list of resources for businesses. Click here for the list. For the list in Spanish, click here.

The first and second rounds of the Microenterprise Business Loan produced 53 applications. Staff are currently processing those applications and, upon verifying eligibility, will proceed with funding those loans.  

SMALL BUSINESS LOANS

On March 25, Mayor McNamara, joined by members of the local banking industry, announced the creation of the COVID-19 Small Business Emergency Loan Fund. The loan fund, established by the Northern Illinois Community Development Corporation and managed by the Rockford Local Development Corporation, is funded by the City of Rockford, Winnebago County, Illinois Bank and Trust, Associated Bank, WinTrust, Midwest Community Bank, Blackhawk Bank, Northwest Bank, Stillman BancCorp and Sunil Puri. To date, $2 million has been raised with other financial institutions committing to support the fund. For more information, click here.

RESTAURANTS/BARS

On March 15, Gov. J.B. Pritzker ordered all restaurants and bars to close to dine-in customers. He’s encouraging commercial kitchens to remain open for curbside pickup and drive thru services for customers where possible.

In an effort to alleviate the impact the Stay at Home order has had on restaurants, bars and the hotel and tourism industry, the City is deferring collection of our Food and Beverage Tax and our Hotel-Motel Tax.

For more information on recent liquor sale changes, click here.

For a list of local restaurants offering take out and delivery, see the lists from Explore 815 and the Rockford Area Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.

PUBLIC GATHERINGS

On March 12, Winnebago County joined with Boone, DeKalb and Ogle Counties to recommend businesses, institutions, and organizations suspend all public gatherings and events of 25 people or more until further notice as a proactive method to limit the spread of the disease. On March 16, President Trump recommended that gatherings be limited to under 10 people.

SCHOOLS

On March 13, Governor J.B. Pritzker directed all public and private schools be closed from Tuesday, March 17, through Monday, March 30. Please consult your child’s school district for specific plans during the school closure. 

On March 20, Governor Pritzker announced the closure would be extended until at least April 8. On March 31, the Governor extended the closure through April. On April 17, the Governor announced that schools would be closed for the remainder of the academic year.

FOOD FOR CHILDREN

The Community Action Agency of Winnebago and Boone Counties, in partnership with YMCA of Rock River Valley, Rockford Housing Authority, Rockford Park District and Lifescape Community Services, is delivering meals to several developments and community centers.  The COVID-19 shutdown has created barriers for families to access food.  Many local students who received their meals at school lost this service when the schools closed.  Any child age 2-18 are eligible for meals.  Children do not need to be present. For more information, click here.

RPS 205 Nutrition Services staff will also provide prepackaged breakfast and lunch to children via drive-through. For more information, click here.

CDC RECOMMENDATIONS

The CDC recommends some best practices and common-sense steps to prevent infection and avoid exposure:

  • Cover coughs or sneezes.
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds or use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Disinfect frequently-touched objects, such as cellphones, laptops, and countertops.

The CDC also notes that patients with COVID-19 have had mild to severe respiratory illness with symptoms of:

  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • If you have symptoms, please call your health provider or physician’s office BEFORE visiting a clinic or Emergency Department.

BEST RESOURCES

QUESTIONS OR CONCERNS

If you have questions or concerns, call 815-319-6705 or email COVID19@wchd.org.