By Kim Savage

Message #1 Public Health Crisis:
Who would have guessed that we would still be mostly at home in May? This is the month where teachers are traditionally challenged with keeping students focused on school, competing with the lure of warm weather and the anticipation of summer vacation. This year, parents are already experiencing this phenomenon while they are trying to work from home and monitoring e-learning. Teachers are challenged with adapting curricula to keep their students engaged and progressing. Thousands of store clerks, restaurant employees, food processing plant workers, delivery drivers, warehouse workers, transportation workers, sanitation workers, and other essential service employees put their lives at risk every day to keep our country supplied with food and other necessities. Nurses, doctors, and other health care workers, as well as first responders are stretched to capacity and urge us to continue to stay home so they can save lives.

Governor Pritzker finally released a comprehensive plan for re-opening the state called Restore Illinois. While the plan is the result of consultation with public health officials, local elected officials, and business leaders, it is receiving a lot of push-back from elected officials in DuPage County. For years, they have pushed to be considered part of the regional metropolitan economy. Now, they want DuPage County to be treated as its own economic bubble? Really? People in DuPage work, shop and play in Chicago. People in Chicago and surrounding suburbs work, shop, and play in DuPage County. Perhaps, they want to build a wall around the county to keep others out.

I get it. I have a household member whose business has come to a grinding halt during the stay at home order. We are frustrated and anxious. We want to be back at work and back to enjoying our favorite pursuits. We want to be fully engaged in life, but life as we knew it has changed. We need to rely on the expertise of people who have devoted their careers to public health and have the scientific background to help keep us safe. Decisions cannot be made based on minimizing the cost of unemployment benefits by requiring people to return to work in unsafe conditions. We need a smart, rational plan. Like it or not, we are part of a regional economy and the best way to restore that economy is to stay safe and continue to stop the spread of the virus.

Whether we live in Hinsdale, Westmont, Downers Grove, or other communities, we need to support our local businesses that are in operation. Order take out from your favorite local restaurants, make purchases from the businesses that are able to offer curbside pickup or delivery. These are our neighbors who contribute to the community in so many ways. We need each other more than ever! As more businesses reopen, remember to do your part to help keep their employees safe by wearing your mask and not discarding your used gloves on the parking lot.