Cross-Cultural, Urban, Reformed, Ecumenical

Update 5/1/2020

Dear Chicago Residents and Partners,

As Governor Pritzker's modified Stay at Home order goes into effect today, Friday, May 1, local municipalities and cities are permitted to enact stricter provisions than those in the Executive Order. To ensure Chicago continues to flatten the COVID-19 curve and slow the rate of increase in total cases in the city, the City of Chicago is announcing local modifications to the order that will build on our progress.

Starting today, all Chicago residents and visitors over the age of two and for whom wearing a face-covering is medically feasible will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can't maintain a six-foot social distance. As part of the City's efforts to ensure residents have access to cloth masks, the City will partner with diverse local vendors to create and distribute one million reusable cloth masks. As part of this effort, a total of 250,000 will be distributed to Aldermanic offices over the coming weeks to provide to their constituents and an additional 750,000 reusable cloth masks will be provided to vulnerable populations this month through our Racial Equity Rapid Response Team.

Under the modified order, the Lakefront, including its adjacent trails, green spaces and park facilities will remain closed throughout the month of May. Recognizing that Chicago still has further to go to bring down the curve, golfing is not yet permitted. Additionally, fishing and boating will not be permitted by individuals, though individuals may access their boats for maintenance and de-winterization, consistent with the guidance of the Chicago Park District.

In accordance with the modified Stay at Home Order, Chicago's animal grooming services, greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries will now be considered essential and may re-open beginning May 1. Additionally, retail stores in Chicago that are not designated as essential may re-open to fulfill online or telephone orders, for delivery or curbside pickup. All essential businesses and non-essential businesses that are engaged in minimum basic operations will be required to provide employees with face coverings, gloves and other protective equipment as needed as well as adhere to social distancing guidelines.

In addition to these new protocols and modifications, the State has issued further requirements and guidance for businesses, hospitals, schools and residents in the state. For more information on the modified Stay at Home order and how it affects Chicago, please visit

What's New

Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge - Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, Department of Housing (DOH) Commissioner Marisa Novara and Chicago’s leading housing lenders and landlord associations announced the Chicago Housing Solidarity Pledge, an effort to provide relief to beleaguered tenants and building owners negatively impacted by COVID-19. The pledge affirms lenders and landlords may offer eligible renters and mortgage holders deferred payment agreements and other financial relief, including:

  • Grace Period for Rent and Mortgage Payments: Offer deferred payments with repayment terms that avoid immediate repayment at the end of the deferral period.
  • Written Repayment Plan: Permit renters with a missed rent payment to amortize the payments over time.
  • Suspension of Foreclosures: Provide relief from foreclosure filing until May 31, 2020.
  • Neutral Reporting to Credit Agencies: No reporting late payments to credit reporting agencies, consistent with applicable guidelines, for residential borrowers taking advantage of COVID-19 related relief, provided that loans that were delinquent prior to deferral will continue to be reported as delinquent.
  • No Late Fees for Missed Payments: Provide relief from mortgage- and rent-related late fees.

Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program – The Department of Business Affairs and Consumer Protection (BACP) will provide grants to up to 1,000 microbusinesses in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods that have been impacted by COVID-19. Designed for businesses that may not be able to obtain funding through federal and other financing programs, the new $5 million Microbusiness Recovery Grant Program will award businesses with grants of $5,000 which will be distributed via lottery. Businesses must meet the following requirements to qualify:

  • Four or fewer employees
  • Less than $250,000 in annual revenue
  • 25 percent decrease in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak
  • In business for at least one year
  • Located within a low- or moderate-income area of the city. A map of the eligible Community Areas can be found here.

Applications will be open until Monday, May 4. To apply, visit Grants will be awarded by Monday, May 11.

Virtual Board and Commission Meetings – The Department of Planning and Development (DPD) has established guidelines for Virtual Board and Commission meetings. Chicago Plan Commission (CPC), Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), and Commission on Chicago Landmarks (CCL) meetings held during the COVID-19 public health crisis will be conducted remotely by video conference and streamed live through YouTube. Links to the stream will be provided through each commission’s respective website on the day of each meeting. More detailed information is available at and


Accommodations for Residents Fleeing Violence – The City of Chicago is partnering with Airbnb to provide residents needing to flee violent situations with a safe places to stay. After a resident calls the Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline, the operator will then coordinate with HotelTonight (a member of the Airbnb family) and The Network: Advocating Against Domestic Violence to place the hotel reservation on the behalf of the caller, and The Network will cover the cost of these stays with funding from the State. This process will ensure the security and privacy of all parties. The Illinois Domestic Violence Hotline is available to residents 24/7/365 at 877-863-6338 (TTY 877-863-6339).

Emergency Food Coordination Center - The City’s Emergency Food Coordination Center at Malcolm X College, in partnership with The Salvation Army and the Greater Chicago Food Depository, ensures that all who have tested positive or have been asked to quarantine by healthcare officials have access to food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Residents who are homebound and quarantined due to COVID-19 who need direct food deliveries and do not qualify for existing food support services can contact 3-1-1 to submit a request. The center will coordinate with The Salvation Army for emergency meal box deliveries, typically within 48 hours. The emergency meal boxes include a seven-day supply of food with three meals per day. Residents who need assistance the following week need to submit a new request to 3-1-1 at that point. If you need assistance, contact 3-1-1 by downloading the CHI311 free mobile app, going online at or by calling 3-1-1.


Smart 911 - Sign up for Smart 911 and create a safety profile for yourself and your family. In the event of an emergency, your Safety Profile is made available to call takers the moment your phone or one associated with your account dials 9-1-1. The service is free and sign up can be completed in minutes at

Chi COVID Coach - The Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH) has launched ‘Chi COVID Coach’, a mobile-friendly, web-based application designed to support residents during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. Chi COVID Coach advises residents on what to do when they are experiencing symptoms and where to seek medical care via text messages. In addition to coaching Chicagoans on what to do when they are sick, it creates opportunity to notify residents when antibody testing is available. Further down the line, it will also serve as a pre-registration for vaccine dissemination once it becomes available. Because of this, everyone is encouraged to sign up, whether they have symptoms or not. Registration for the app is free and information will be protected and only used by CDPH for public health purposes related to COVID-19. The app is more accessible through the web or a cell phone and you do not have to download anything on your phone to use it. You can find the app at



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