NORMAL – Toward the conclusion of Monday’s regularly-scheduled meeting of Normal Town Council Monday, City Manager Pam Reece informed Normal Town Council members of the steps the Town has in place for the next couple of weeks in an attempt to ride out this national medical crisis.

The Town has established a separate website for residents to monitor the situation concerning Coronavirus-19, also known as Covid-19. To do its part to prevent the spread of the disease, the Town announced a decision Monday that as of March 17, there would be no further public access to Town offices in Uptown Station. Reece said while the public will not have access to Town offices on the second and third floors. She did say the first floor, where commuters are able to catch interstate and in-town buses, and Amtrak trains, will remain open to the public.

With the Illinois Primary scheduled for Tuesday, the day after the meeting, the Town did keep three voting precincts at Ironwood Golf Course Clubhouse, Fairview Aquatics Center, and the Community Activity Center running. The only change required under the circumstances was using Fairview Aquatics Center in place of an original polling site, McLean County Nursing Home.

Other municipal facilities operated by the Town, Reece said, would be closed as of March 17. “Until further notice, public facilities will be closed,” she added. “We will be available by phone and online to serve citizens. We just want to limit the public interaction between employees and citizens.”

Reece added the goal of these actions is to “minimizing the quantity and the timeline of patients who are getting ill and needing medical care.”

The Town is taking its cues for informing the public about the disease from the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Reece explained. She recommended residents go to the website of the Center for Disease Control (CDC) which also is continuously updating information to keep citizens current on the disease. Reece said these two sources’ websites can be accessed by going to the Town’s website, Reece added the Town will use its website as its primary source for getting important information out to the public.

“Our goal is to reduce the risk of transmitting a virus. We certainly want to respect the practice of social distancing, and we encourage citizens to adhere to CDC and IDPH recommendations.

She added McLean County Health Department “has been an exceptional resource for us” and that the Town has been maintaining contact with the Health Department as this crisis has evolved. As of Monday, McLean County has had zero positive cases of Coronavirus-19, Reece informed.

She said the Town, in an effort to reduce contact between people in an attempt to reduce potentially picking up the bug “are cancelling a variety of classes and programs, generally in response to CDC guidelines. She said cancellations were also in response to programs Normal-based Unit 5 School district put into play to minimize the potential for spreading the virus. Last week, Gov. J. B. Pritzker ordered schools statewide closed from March 17-30 because of the Coronavirus.

The Town’s Facilities Management department will continue servicing public areas and work spaces, Reece explained, adding, “Many of our operations continue whatever the circumstances,” and public works and water departments will continue to operate. In relation to water use, Reece said the Town would delay shutting off water of those who are behind in payments, and recommended a scheduled utility and waste fee increase slated to begin April 1 be pushed back to July 1.

That last action would take Council approval, Reece said, addressing Mayor Chris Koos, and would most likely be placed on the agenda of the Council’s next meeting scheduled for April 6.

Koos responded to the idea by telling Reece, “That’s the prudent thing to do and sends a good message to our residents. We are mindful of the situations they may be facing personally and we need to do something about it.”

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