On Friday, March 20, Governor J. B. Pritzker issued an executive order for all Illinois residents to stay home to prevent the spread of COVID-19, except to conduct essential activities and business. You may be wondering: Which restaurants are still open? How can I support my favorite local businesses? What businesses and activities are considered essential?
“The information for businesses is changing so fast, and there’s so much information out there,” says Business & Government Librarian Bridget Optholt. Below, find some state and local resources for clarification and further help.
What’s considered essential?
According to the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, essential businesses and operations include grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies, hardware and supply stores, restaurants for consumption off-premises, laundry services, and more. Read a full FAQ (PDF) »
What local businesses are still open?
Carry Out Oak Park is a site created by the Oak Park Economic Development Corporation that lists restaurants and retailers that are open for delivery, take-out, and pickup. See the Carry Out Oak Park list »
Downtown Oak Park also has current specifics on businesses in the Downtown Oak Park business district. See the Downtown Oak Park updates »
Where can local businesses get help?
The Oak Park Economic Development Corporation (OPEDC) aggregates resources and information for businesses affected by COVID-19. See OPEDC’s links to resources for businesses »
The Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce is also providing important resources and updates available to all businesses. Highlights include guidelines on childcare for essential workers, Small Business Administration loans and online trainings, and financial assistance from the Illinois State Treasurer’s Office. See resources from the Chamber »
‘This is not business as usual’
In one of her recent email updates to members of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce, Executive Director Liz Holt shared messages of support, kindness, and patience alongside the lists of resources. With permission, we’re sharing part of her message here, for anyone else it may resonate with:
“I am very conscious of the completely unprecedented circumstances that we are all experiencing in both our personal/family and business/professional lives … This is NOT business as usual. Please do not expect that you will be able to ‘produce’ at your usual rate or level. Please be conscious that your staff (or spouse, or kids, or family) may also need extra time to get their work done, or in the case of those you are quarantined with, just simply get out of bed. We all have a million things on our minds and many of us are struggling to keep it together. Be kind to yourself and one-another. Reach out to your friends (virtually!) and LOVE those closest (literally quarantine-close!) to you. We will persevere and together we will get to the other side of this.”—Liz Holt, Executive Director of the Oak Park-River Forest Chamber of Commerce
‘Incredible resources and support available now’
For anyone struggling or needing extra support, Holt points to a resource guide created by the Community Mental Health Board and the Oak Park and River Forest townships, in collaboration with the Village of Oak Park.
“If you need a little extra helping hand,” Holt continued, “see the incredible resources and support available now in this community. We are all here for you.”