Earlier this month, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) each recommended that individuals wear face coverings while in public to help limit the spread of COVID-19. Our region is supporting the CDC’s recommendations and some of our neighboring communities have implemented local orders to require the use of face coverings while in public.
Rather than requiring an executive mandate to wear face coverings, I believe that Glencoe residents can be counted upon to do the right thing when asked to help slow the spread of COVID-19, including wearing face coverings and being vigilant about social distancing, and so I am strongly recommending – rather than issuing an order – that residents participate in this effort.
In Glencoe, we are a community of neighbors that care about and take care of each other – I see that in small gestures of support and encouragement in the community. I see it in the care and appreciation shown to our neighbors who are health care and essential workers. I am profoundly grateful for the community’s support of our Village staff who are providing critical services, and I recognize that adding additional enforcement expectations would further stretch our Public Safety Department, which is doing everything possible for the health and wellbeing of our neighbors. While only a few of our local businesses are able to serve customers in person, our residents are rallying behind all of our businesses with online purchases, takeout orders and social media support. Simply put, our community is acting as one to take care of each other. For these reasons, I firmly believe that asking for your partnership with wearing face coverings is a better way forward for our community.
As the COVID-19 pandemic is evolving, more data is available and studied by public health experts around the world, and new recommendations are made. According to the CDC, some individuals infected with COVID-19 show no symptoms or very mild symptoms, yet are still contagious, and symptomatic individuals can be contagious even before the onset of symptoms. The CDC indicates that COVID-19 is spread through respiratory droplets that can become airborne when an infected person coughs or sneezes (or even by just talking), and the virus can be spread by touching a surface contaminated with respiratory droplets and then touching one’s eyes, nose or mouth. The CDC is recommending the use of simple cloth face coverings to slow the spread of the virus and help people who may have the virus and do not know it from transmitting it to others. Make no mistake, a face covering is not a substitute for social distancing. It’s another way for each of us to do our part and be good neighbors.
It is in the spirit of being good neighbors and caring for one another that I am urging all Glencoe residents to follow the CDC’s guidance to wear face coverings while in public places such as essential businesses like grocery stores, pharmacies and dry cleaners. I encourage our businesses to require patrons and employees to wear face coverings, and to post the requirement at their doors to ensure their customers comply. I also strongly encourage residents to add another layer of precaution above the CDC’s recommendation and to wear face coverings at all times in public, including while walking, biking or jogging in the community. I believe doing so will further protect our community.
Cloth face coverings do not need to be elaborate. You can purchase a cloth face covering or make one at home, using suggestions from the CDC and following their recommendations for fit and regular laundering. The CDC reminds us that children under the age of two, individuals with trouble breathing or who are unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove a face covering without assistance should not wear face coverings. The CDC and IDPH also recommend that surgical masks and N95 respirators be reserved for health care workers.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to shape our daily lives and cause us to think, act and live differently in efforts to slow the spread of the virus and flatten the curve, and I recognize that lately, it feels like we are being asked to make a lot of changes to our normal lives. It feels that way because we are being asked to do many things differently, for our collective health and safety. The things that we do – as individuals and as a community – can help lessen the spread of COVID-19.
Wearing a face covering doesn’t need to hamper the Glencoe spirit that I’m so proud to see every day in our community. Choose a bright color fabric or a cheerful print. Continue to say hello to neighbors. Smile – even if your smile isn’t visible, the kindness in your eyes will shine.
I know that our residents believe that we are all in this crisis together and that we can each do our part to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Again, I urge you to follow the CDC’s guidance and wear a face covering in public. Let’s continue to be good neighbors and take care of each other.
Reflecting the COVID-19 global pandemic and national public health emergency, at the rescheduled meeting of the Glencoe Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, March 17, Village President Lawrence R. Levin issued an emergency declaration for the Village of Glencoe. This measure provides the Village with the ability to utilize emergency purchasing and emergency staffing protocols and procedures as needed. It further provides direction for staff to continue to closely work with partner governments in Glencoe, in our region and with the state and federal governments to address this emergency situation. Learn more here.