The City of Carbondale has been monitoring the COVID-19 issue closely over the past few weeks and has maintained close communications with our federal and state health officials, the Jackson County Health Department, Southern Illinois Healthcare, Southern Illinois University, regional public transportation agencies, public schools, Amtrak, and the Illinois Governor’s office to maintain the most current and accurate information possible so that we can respond appropriately to this rapidly evolving situation. The health and well-being of our residents, businesses, and visitors to our community is our top priority.
To date, there have been 32 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Illinois. Although none of these cases has been linked to Carbondale, as your local government we must do everything possible to mitigate the spread of the virus. The CDC recommends (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html) implementing community mitigation strategies to slow the spread of the virus, primarily for the purpose of protecting people that are at higher risk for severe illness and to protect the healthcare and critical infrastructure workforces. As such, the City of Carbondale is implementing the following protocols effective immediately:
- The City Hall/Civic Center will be closed to the public through 3/31/2020. City staff will continue to report to work and will be available by phone or email to assist the public. For those residents that need to pay a bill, you can do so at http://www.explorecarbondale.com/411/Online-Bill-Pay, via regular mail, or your payment can be placed in the dropbox on the west side drive at City Hall. The Revenue Office will continue to assist customers with billing questions at 618-457-3265. The City of Carbondale will waive late fees for those customers that have difficulty making payments via these temporary arrangements.
- All current events planned for the Civic Center or Town Square Pavilion will be canceled, except for voting.
- The Carbondale City Council meeting scheduled for 3/24/2020 will be canceled.
- All public safety personnel will operate normal shifts and will provide normal 24-hour coverage.
- Public Works departments will continue to operate as normal; refuse and recycling will collect on normal route days.
- The Civic Center is an official voting location that will remain open for the primary election on Tuesday, 3/17/2020.
Implementing these temporary measures will mitigate the risk of COVID-19 spreading in the community, while also protecting City employees who must be available to ensure that City operations continue to run smoothly. The City of Carbondale encourages other agencies and businesses to implement measures to assist in reducing the spread of the virus. Those measures include:
- Practice social distancing. The virus spreads mainly through person-to-person contact within 6 feet of one another. Avoid large groups and give consideration to limiting group meetings or events.
- Employers should allow employees to work remotely when possible.
- Employers should consider implementing paid sick leave policies to encourage employees that are not feeling well to stay home.
- Clean your hands frequently with warm soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
- Use hand sanitizers with at least 60% alcohol.
- Implement advanced cleaning measures in offices and common areas to disinfect surfaces more frequently than normal.
- Stay at home when you are sick and call your primary care physician if you experience fever, cough, or shortness of breath, which are the primary symptoms of COVID-19.
Most importantly, don’t panic. Most people that contract COVID-19 experience mild flu-like symptoms with only 16% of cases being serious. But, for our family, friends, neighbors, and co-workers that are in higher-risk groups, please join us in doing everything you can to minimize the spread of this virus.
The City of Carbondale will continually reevaluate conditions to keep the community informed of this public health issue.
“Carbondale prides itself on providing its visitors, students, businesses and residents with a unique mix of edge and ease. It’s a cultural town, yet free of pretense, embracing the great outdoors as readily as urban sophistication. Here, we are open to new ideas, experiences, and cultures, so you are encouraged to both express yourself and be yourself, in all ways. That’s Carbondale…All Ways Open… for family, fun, business, new ideas and a bright tomorrow.”