West Chicago, Illinois: November 17, 2020  – As concerns rise due to the increases in the numbers of residents who are testing positive for COVID-19, West Chicago Mayor Ruben Pineda would like to address the following message to all members of the community.

Dear Fellow Community Members,

As we approach the holiday season, I feel a great responsibility as your Mayor to share my thoughts about the upcoming gatherings planned for Thanksgiving this year. No doubt, this holiday in particular speaks to all of us for its simple focus on family, friends and gratitude.  Like all holidays and traditions, it is an important marker in our family histories.

With that said, I am not going to mince my words about gathering in these unprecedented times because that is how important what I have to say is to the health and safety of our entire community.

My message to you this Thanksgiving is to stay home. You will be showing your gratitude and love of family and community in a powerful way by doing so. You will be safeguarding the future of those most important to you.

The most recent numbers from the DuPage County Health Department are alarming. As of November 12, 2020, the DuPage County Health Department reported that West Chicago is up to 1,962 cases (an increase of 274 from the prior week) of residents who tested positive for COVID-19; there have been 19 deaths (an increase of three from the prior week) in our community as a result of this disease, eight at our long-term care facilities.

Working with Illinois Department of Public Health and DuPage County, the City was able to secure a mobile testing unit for Saturday, November 21, 2020 from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m., or until tests are exhausted; it will be located at the Metra commuter lots.

Nobody loves the holidays more than we do. My wife Julie and I have extended family that live in the area. Every year it is happily anticipated and expected that we all find ourselves together for lively, sometimes heated, conversation, football watching, and of course feasting on family dishes of which we each contribute to the table.

This year will be different. There was no doubt the invitation received weeks ago would be accepted, but the recent uptick in COVID-19 confirmed cases and deaths has made our decision to stay home the only option.

Speaking as plainly as I can, I will not endanger the lives of my 84-year old mother and 94-year old mother-in-law by attending the larger family gathering. The four of us, and the dogs, will enjoy a quiet celebration at home, a small sacrifice compared with the heartache that exposure to the virus could bring.

The CDC guidelines for holiday gatherings during this time are stringent, and should be followed if you choose to be together in a group of people outside your immediate household. They include:

  • Bring your own food, drinks, plates, cups, and utensils.
  • Wear a mask, and safely store your mask while eating and drinking.
  • Remember that some people without symptoms may be able to spread COVID-19 or flu.
  • Keeping 6 feet (about 2 arm lengths) from others is especially important for people who are at higher risk of getting very sick.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Keep hand sanitizer with you and use it when you are unable to wash your hands.
  • Use hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
  • Avoid going in and out of the areas where food is being prepared or handled, such as in the kitchen.
  • Use single-use options, like salad dressing and condiment packets, and disposable items like food containers, plates, and utensils.
  • Have conversations with guests ahead of time to set expectations for celebrating together.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces and items between uses.
  • If celebrating indoors, make sure to open windows.
  • Limit the number of people in food preparation areas.
  • Have guests bring their own food and drink.
  • If sharing food, have one person serve food and use single-use options, like plastic utensils.

I urge you to review these and other guidelines found at www.cdc.gov and hope you too will decide this is the year to play it safe and stay home.

I wish you all a safe, healthy and blessed Thanksgiving,

Ruben Pineda

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Western DuPage Chamber of Commerce
306 Main St.
West Chicago, IL 60185
Phone: 630-231-3003
Fax: 630-231-3009
Email: team@westerndupagechamber.com

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