Kankakee County plans reopening for June 1st, asks for Community Assistance in effort


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The creation of the Kankakee County Coalition for a Responsible was announced during a press conference on Friday morning with a target date of June 1st set for reopening businesses now reemerging from a pandemic in the County.

The announcement was made by Kankakee County Chairman Andrew Wheeler.

“It’s time to start getting our collective act together as far as coordinating and building for when we do reopen,” said Wheeler during the press conference.  “We want to hit the ground running.”

The Chairman stressed the fact the effort would be lead by the Health Community. The date set for reopening is one day after the Governor’s current stay-at-home order is set to expire on May 30th.

“We’ll need people of particular skill sets from the community,” Wheeler stressed.  Kankakee County’s Chairman added people from the community will be needed to address concerns from a variety of viewpoints, including HR prospective, graphic designers, webmasters and more to aid in the community’s efforts to reopen.

“People that are able to come to the table to bring actionable information and training to these businesses as they start to look at reopening and how to do it safely.  How to do social distancing within a restaurant environment when they reopen.  What are those best practices?  It’s better that we do that now instead of waiting until we are open, to have that happen.”  Wheeler asked.

The Chairman announced anyone feeling they could actively aid in the efforts is welcome to participate in the County’s efforts to reopen.

“It’s really all hands on deck.” Wheeler said.

Kankakee County has announced over 40 new cases of COVID-19 in just the past three days.

During the meeting, it was also announced the Clerk’s office plans to reopen their downtown facilities to the public during the stay-at-home order, beginning May 11th.   

The Clerk’s office stressed masks would be required upon entering the Clerk’s office, but questions surround who will enforce those measures. Last Monday, Kankakee County Sheriff Mike Downey said he would not enforce the Governor’s latest stay-at-home request, staying it comes with too much liability.

Downey was schedule to speak during Friday’s press conference announced Thursday and and was noticeable absent from the community engagement opportunity.

Currently only essential business is allowed under the current stay-at-home order in government entities. The Clerk’s office would not be the first to allow community members into the building during the pandemic, Dupage County currently allows in person visits, however that’s with an appointment.

As of Friday, there had been nearly 400 cases of COVID-19 in Kankakee County with 29 deaths from the pandemic.


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