Coronavirus IL: Oak Park shelter-in-place order takes effect; 2 Rush Hospital ER doctors test positive for COVID-19

OAK PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- Oak Park's shelter-in-place order took effect Friday morning.

The shelter-in-place order is not a travel ban, but residents are only allowed to go to grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, gas stations and laundromats. Restaurants can be open for delivery and pickup only.

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The order is scheduled to remain in effect until April 3.

Oak Park officials provided clarifications on the order Thursday, saying it's intended to "focus attention on the importance of social distancing."

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Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Tlab said it was not an easy decision to make.

"I know how hard it is to be restricted in our movements and how hard it is to give up our freedom, but we must think about your health first, and i think the financial hardship will take care of itself," the mayor said.

Village police won't stop motorists at the border, and it shouldn't be considered a travel ban to or from one's business or job, Oak Park officials said.

"If your business is still open, you can go to work. You do not need a work pass or other document from the Village," officials said.

The village clarified that residents can still exercise outdoors and walk their pets.

"It's about having residents assess their movements in terms of what is essential," Oak Park officials said.

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"It's a weekly business, the grocery business," said Arthur Paris, owner of Carnival Grocery. "You buy groceries and sell them every week, so this is a new beast but you take it one week at a time."

The order is changing the way stores are managing their supply and their workforce.

"We've got about four times the volume than we have typically, which has been a challenge, but we have been able to absorb it," Paris said. "We're all scrambling to restock the store, everybody in my business right now is running low on goods and we are receiving regular deliveries. It's been a challenge though to get paper products and cleaning products and sanitizers. Those things have really gone off the shelf quickly."

On Thursday, Rush Oak Park Hospital announced that two ER doctors tested positive for COVID-19. Rush said the doctors are quarantined at home and one had not been seeing patients for several days prior. The other doctor may have had patient and peer contact.

The hospital said it is working with the Illinois Department of Public Health and advising patients and staff.

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Meanwhile, the number of COVID-19 cases continues to grow as Governor JB Pritzker announced three more deaths: a Will County man in his 50s, a Cook County woman in her 80s and a Florida woman in her 70s who was visiting Illinois.

Illinois now has 422 total case, with five new counties affected.

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The sharp rise in numbers is in part because of more testing. More than 1,000 people here are being tested every day. Officials hope to double that figure in the coming days. The governor also recommends parents prepare for longer school closures. Businesses should prepare for that too.

More details about the shelter in place are available on Oak Park's website: https://www.oak-park.us/

The Illinois Department of Public Health has created a hotline at 1-800-889-3931. More information can be found at the IDPH website and the Chicago Department of Public Health website.
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