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YORKVILLE – Yorkville city officials are set to discuss the possibility of declaring a state of emergency but are encouraging residents to help each other out in the meantime amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Illinois.
Yorkville Mayor John Purcell wrote in a Tuesday, March 17 letter to residents and business owners that the city has been tracking updates on the coronavirus from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. He wrote that city officials also have been participating in Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker's weekly phone conference for municipal officials regarding coronavirus concerns.
Purcell wrote that the public is encouraged to finish applications or make payments online, over the phone or drop off the payment in the deposit box in the City Hall parking lot. He wrote the police department will remain open and will respond to emergencies and he encourages employees and residents to limit unnecessary social interaction and to check on elderly neighbors or relatives who live alone.
Purcell said the city has not declared a state of emergency due to the outbreak. Part of the reason why cities would declare it was to receive federal or state aid if needed, he said, but he doesn't believe there hasn't been anything that hasn't been addressed by the state at this point in time.
However, Purcell said, the option still is being explored by city officials currently.
"We're going to have it on the agenda for next week's [City Council] meeting," which is scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, March 24 at City Hall, 800 Game Farm Road, Purcell said.
The update comes after the city's public works and administration committee meetings, along with the park board meeting, were cancelled by Purcell in coordination with those who head each committee and board, according to Yorkville Assistant City Administrator Erin Willrett in a Tuesday, March 17 night email.
Purcell wrote in the Tuesday letter that he wants to encourage residents to continue supporting local businesses by using curb-side pickup, delivery or drive-thru services wherever available. He wrote other ways for residents to support their favorite businesses include buying a gift card that covers their usual patronage or to give a gift card as a gift, to keep your subscriptions or memberships running, and to consider ordering specialized goods ahead of time and picking them up later.
Purcell said the Yorkville Area Chamber of Commerce also will be creating a page called Yorkville To-Go that residents can visit to support local businesses that are doing food delivery and pickup services following Pritzker's order to close restaurant dining areas and bars due to COVID-19 outbreak concerns.
Purcell said he is encouraging residents to continue to patronize local businesses because the businesses who are affected by the ordered closures most dramatically are smaller mom and pop establishments, which the city has a lot of.
"And that's, to me, the life blood of the community," Purcell said.
Purcell said he urges residents to remember that the city's parks are still open but to still keep a safe distance away from others and to not congregate in larger groups. He said that, while having children in the Yorkville school system going through the e-learning process as schools are closed for the rest of the month, he personally values teachers now more than ever.
“I'll tell you what, I appreciate teachers more and more every day,” Purcell said.