On the heels of the governor’s announcement extending the statewide stay-at-home order through the end of April as a way to limit the spread of COVID-19, North Riverside Mayor Hubert Hermanek Jr. announced on Wednesday that the village is extending its orders that closed village offices and parks and has canceled additional programs.
“I understand this extension is very stressful and difficult, but I believe it is absolutely necessary,” said Hermanek in a Code Red message he sent to residents April 1. “The next two to three weeks are crucial. Healthcare experts estimate that the number of positive infections will continue to rise until the middle of April and will stay elevated through the early part of May. Staying home and avoiding other people is the best way to stay safe and flatten the curve.”
The Cook County Department of Public Health on April 2 reported that there are at least five positive cases of COVID-19 in North Riverside, but there are more cases in neighboring towns, including Riverside (7), Brookfield (7), Forest Park (18), Broadview (8) and Berwyn (41).
Hermanek also announced that the vehicle sticker renewal period would be extended to May 31 and that renewal notices would be mailed to residents.
Meanwhile, North Riverside’s recreation director, Teresa Mrozik, announced that all indoor and outdoor recreation programs were canceled through the end of April.
The Earth Day Shred Event has been postponed to June 27, while the annual Senior Fair has been postponed to a future date that has not yet been chosen.
The Transportation Exploration Day has been canceled and the star-crossed Spring-Autumn Fest – washed out by storms last September and rescheduled for May 8 – has also been scrapped.
Mayor’s emergency powers codified
On March 30, the North Riverside Village Board voted unanimously to amend the village code to more clearly describe the mayor’s emergency powers during extraordinary circumstances.
The village board vote was taken during the first virtual meeting of trustees, who used the video conferencing app Zoom – with a few glitches – as the platform. Other parties wishing to attend the meeting, such as the Landmark, were able to listen in by phone.
The emergency powers amendment passed by trustees grants additional powers to the mayor, including allowing the mayor to declare a local state of emergency, the power to set a curfew, approve previously appropriated expenditures and make emergency purchases, order the closing of retail liquor stores and taverns, order sales or distribution of gasoline to be halted and prohibit the sales of firearms and ammunition.
While the mayor has the power to declare a state of emergency, he has not done so at this time.
The village board will meet just once per month for the time being, with the next village board meeting taking place virtually at 7 p.m. on April 13.