10-Point Plan for COVID-19
Response in Berwyn
In early November, Berwyn Mayor Bob Lovero made an executive order, contrary to Governor Pritzker’s, permitting restaurants to be open again for indoor dining while asking them to adhere to modified “Phase 4” guidelines.
This isn’t a theoretical issue for me.
Big Guys has not opened its doors to customers for eight months, we will continue to keep that policy of curbside and delivery because we value the health of our employees, their families and the entire Berwyn community. I understand that this is a complex problem involving public health, economics and education sometimes being in conflict. It deserves real attention, not reality-denying cop outs.
Fifty of our neighbors have died from COVID-19 and rates are skyrocketing in Berwyn with hundreds of new cases reported not even a week into November.
This is one of those times where we need real leadership. Telling restaurants that they have your blessing to open against state orders is not a solution. A wink and a nod is not responsible public policy. Placing all liability on those you are elected to protect is negligent. Putting more essential workers in harm’s way is cruel.
If I were your Mayor today, this would be my 10-Point Plan for COVID-19 Response:
Use CARES Act money for the essentials that Berwyn’s residents need during a pandemic: Food, housing and health and nothing else.
Work with the Director of Finance, the Budget Committee and City Hall staff to provide a report on what non-essential services could be cut in order to deliver essentials so that as many Berwyn residents as possible can stay home, safe, healthy and fed.
Activate City Hall administrative staff to head public/private collaboration to keep Berwyn residents fed, housed and healthy.
Create a City Hall hotline to connect Berwyn residents with public or private resources they need for food, housing and health matters.
Reduce non-essential Public Works and Building Department services in order to support all efforts with vehicles, transportation and manpower.
Dedicate non-call Police and Fire labor toward these efforts to the extent allowed by collective bargaining agreements and without sacrificing baseline public safety and the added mental health and domestic violence burden brought on by this pandemic.
Based on this re-alignment of resources, work with the Township Public Health District and local school district to provide centralized Health/Economic/Educational reporting to our residents at least twice per week. You should know what our local governments are doing, what money we are using and how and what current effects of the pandemic are from both public health, economic and educational perspectives. We would accomplish this with a large outreach to our BIPOC residents who are disproportionately affected by this pandemic.
Use city resources and communication tools to rally our community to support Berwyn businesses for carry-out and delivery, implement vouchers for food insecure families, and reduce or temporarily suspend licensing fees for bars and restaurants.
Charge the BDC with increasing the uses and matching percentage of Finish Line Grants to get funds to businesses who are facing equipment and infrastructural debt in their businesses. Also to help businesses purchase gloves and PPE that are not only scarce but at grossly inflated prices.