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Area municipalities declare state of emergency because of coronavirus

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Various McHenry County municipalities such as Cary, Algonquin, Fox River Grove and Woodstock have declared a state of emergency because of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

Cary announced Mayor Mark Kownick's declaration in a news release Tuesday.

"The purpose of a declaration of a local disaster emergency is to allow for a more effective response to the evolving COVID-19 public health crisis by temporarily suspending purchasing policy rules to allow quick response and recovery action, as deemed necessary," according to the release.

Cary residents still will be able to conduct village business by calling 847-639-0003 or by visiting the village’s website at caryillinois.com.

Village President John Schmitt, in a letter posted to Facebook announcing their state of emergency, said this is "truly an extraordinary event in our lifetimes and cannot be ignored."

Like in Cary, Algonquin residents will be able to access some village services online or call or email village staff with questions during regular business hours, but critical public health and safety operations will not be affected, Schmitt said.

"I am confident we will see our way through these unusual circumstances with the spirit of cooperation, integrity and service that has been a hallmark of our community from the beginning," he said in the letter.

In Fox River Grove, Village President Robert Nunamaker declared a state of emergency as of March 17.

"During the existence of the Local State of Emergency, the village president shall execute such authority as provided under the Illinois Municipal Code, the Illinois Emergency Management Agency Act and Section 2-75 of the Code of Ordinances of the village of Fox River Grove," according to the Fox River Grove's Facebook page.

Woodstock formally declared a local state of emergency at 2 p.m. Tuesday.

“Our primary duty and concern is the health and well-being of our citizens and our employees. The declaration of local emergency is not made because a local resident has been diagnosed with the coronavirus or because there is a lack of available medical assistance," Mayor Brian Sager said in a statement.

"A local emergency declaration places a municipality in a better position to access state and federal funds, should they be needed in relation to this public health crisis; allows for greater flexibility to assign and schedule labor; demonstrates to residents and businesses the serious nature of the present health concerns; and, assures them of strong collaborative efforts by city departments to address the situation deliberately and in concert.”

He added that, in Woodstock, primary services such as the police, public works, building and zoning departments, as well as City Hall, will continue without disruption.

However, in Woodstock, city departments have agreed to limit public interactions until Easter Sunday, April 12, pending further review.

City Hall at 121 W. Calhoun St. will remain open on a limited basis, with the front door locked and residents directed to the east side door for access to a temporary lower level reception area.

Water bill payments can be mailed, paid online at www.woodstockil.gov, or dropped at drive-up locations on the east and west sides of City Hall; if necessary, late fee penalties will be waived and payment plans may be arranged by calling the Finance Department at 815-338-4300. In addition, water will not be shut off for non-payment until further notice, the city said in a press release.

In Woodstock, all public meetings will be limited to less than 50 attendees, including City Council meetings, which will take place as scheduled.

These meetings also are livestreamed and archived on www.woodstockil.gov and archived. Those wishing to provide comments on agenda items may phone, write or email their City Council Members or the City Manager’s Office for inclusion in the public record.

All Boards and Commission meetings have been postponed until after April 12, and Adjudication Hearings are postponed until further notice. Other meetings may be arranged through the City Manager’s Office as needed, according to Woodstock's news release.

Woodstock's police department will remain open with access to the building limited to the lobby, and in-person or phone connection to dispatchers will be available 24/7. However, there will be no ride-alongs or public programs offered through April 12.

"Additional police presence may be seen in area restaurants and bars to ensure compliance with their closure for all but take-out, curbside or delivery service from March 17th through March 31st per the Governor’s directive," the city said.

All divisions of Woodstock's public works department remain fully staff but the building on Washington Street is closed to visitors. Calls for service can be made to 815-338-6118 or 815-338-4300.

All programs at the Woodstock Opera House and Stage Left Café have been canceled through April 12. Patrons who have bought tickets for canceled events will be contacted regarding exchanges or the issuing of credits, the city said.

Although the Woodstock Public Library has closed for public use at this time, library materials are available for checkout and curbside pickup arrangements can be made by phone. However, RAILS service has been suspended, so no holds or inter-library loans are available until further notice. The library also is offering amnesty for fines due through the month of April.

Woodstock Recreation Center is open for the time being for individual use but is subject to ongoing review.However, in the Woodstock Recreation Department, all recreation programs, with the exception of Gymnastics, are temporarily suspended, with credits made available if requested.

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