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Lake Bluff Village President Kathleen O'Hara declared a state of emergency for the Village during a special meeting on Wednesday, March 18, in a continued effort to combat COVID-19, otherwise known as coronavirus.
As part of that declaration, all fitness and recreation facilities located within the village are ordered to close as of Thursday, March 19.
The meeting was livestreamed on social media and broadcast on Lake Bluff Channel 19. O'Hara, Village Administrator Drew Irvin and Village Attorney Peter Friedman were physically present, while the six trustees participated by telephone.
O'Hara explained that the declaration also authorizes emergency purchasing and staffing measures, as well as directing Village staff to cooperate with other governmental agencies regarding coronavirus. It also gives her and Irvin emergency spending authority.
Board members were in unanimous agreement with O'Hara on the declaration.
Before the declaration was issued, Zak Rivera, owner of Focused Results Personal Training, asked if an exception could be made for small businesses. He said, at most, eight people are in his facility at once.
"We're relying on our doors being open or at least being able to do virtual sessions in order to pay the trainers for them to make a living, for us to make a living," Rivera said. "We need to operate our business to some degree."
O'Hara was sympathetic towards Rivera.
"I appreciate your concerns," she said. "I truly do."
But she said this was something that had to be done.
"I'm certainly not thrilled about having to do this declaration," she said. "But I am closing them all. And that's under my authority to do so."
O'Hara added that the emergency declaration is something that needs to be done.
"I am hoping that it will not be for a long duration," she said. "And I truly understand how this will affect a lot of local businesses and everything else, both locally and nationwide."
She called measures being taken to stop coronavirus "paramount."
"...and I certainly feel, at this point (it's) the right way to go."
The declaration expires "seven days from the date of this motion (which is March 18, 2020) or until the adjournment of the next regular, special or emergency meeting of the Board, whichever occurs later."
If it became necessary to extend the declaration, the Village Board would have to vote on that at its next meeting.