Illinois COVID 19: Gym closures in Highland Park imposed by Mayor Nancy Rotering

Coronavirus restrictions also include a limit of 10 people for gatherings

Jessica D'Onofrio Image
Wednesday, November 18, 2020
Highland Park mayor imposes gym closures due to COVID-19
Highland Park's mayor has shut down all indoor workout facilities.

HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- An alarming surge in COVID-19 cases in Highland Park has led to Mayor Nancy Rotering to impose new restrictions, going further than Governor JB Pritzker's Tier 3 mitigations for the state of Illinois.

Starting Wednesday, the mayor shut down all indoor workout facilities, so places like Orange Theory Fitness have posted signs alerting their patrons of the new closure.

The city is also limiting gathering sizes to 10 people.

RELATED: Tier 3 restrictions announced by Gov. Pritzker

Governor JB Pritzker announced new Tier 3 mitigation COVID-19 restrictions to take effect Friday at 12:01 a.m., as the state reported more than 12,000 new cases Tuesday.

"Let's see what we can do over these next 30 days," Rotering said. "See if we can get our caseloads down. See if we can slow the spread and diminish the loss of lives and potentially be able to be together through the December holidays.

The North Shore suburb recorded 117 new COVID-19 cases over the weekend compared to the 729 cases Highland Park has recorded across eight months.

"That was a wake up call I hope to everybody but we needed to take more direct action to get their attention and say that this is really getting out of control ," Rotering said.

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Dr. Robert Citronberg answered questions on the latest COVID-19 developments Wednesday

Jake Melle is a gym patron at Orange Theory fitness in downtown Highland Park. He's unhappy with the new restriction.

"With the distancing and everything that science tells you, we're six feet apart from one another when we're working out, specifically at Orange Theory," Melle said. "No. I don't know about the other gyms, but I mean you gotta consider these things when you decide to take that away from people, I think."

RELATED: Illinois COVID-19 orders: A legal look at Gov. Pritzker's 10th disaster declaration

Some states require the legislature to authorize disaster proclamations, others allow the legislature to end them. In Illinois, there are no such strings attached.

The mayor's order is meant to complement the governor's new statewide restrictions coming Friday, which is urging residents to stay home. It also shrinks capacity at many businesses.

While the state's guidelines will prohibit indoor fitness classes, Highland Park decided to close gyms altogether, citing them as high risk.

"I think it's good to get this under control, but selfishly I don't want to give up the gyms and things I like to do," said resident Amy Blumenthal.

Mayor Rotering says hospitals in the region will be reaching capacity in the next three weeks and they don't want to be in the position of running out of hospital beds.