June 24, 2020 – With Gov. J.B. Pritzker expected to move the state into phase four of his Restore Illinois plan on Friday, Oak Park Public Health Director Mike Charley has issued guidelines for allowing Village residents to once again host block parties.
A key requirement for all block parties is that no more than 50 individuals can gather at one time as stipulated in the state plan.
The Public Works Department is contacting representatives of those blocks whose party had been scheduled, but had to be canceled when the statewide lockdown went into effect in March, to give them the first opportunity to choose a date.
The application process then will reopen community wide on Mon., June 29 at www.oak-park.us/blockparties, with the first available times for new block parties beginning on July 11.
“The more people who interact with others outside of their own household and the longer that interaction lasts, the higher the potential risk of becoming infected and spreading COVID-19,” Public Health Director Charley said. “Being outside is the best option for reducing risks in a group setting, but it won’t eliminate the risk altogether. So the same basic rules apply – keep your distance, wear a mask and wash your hands often.”
Charley also is urging block party participants who are not from the same household not to share foods and beverages with others, including via pot-luck style offerings. Single-use plates, utensils and napkins also are encouraged as are single-use condiment packets.
Other recommendations include keeping tables and people from different households at least six feet apart, wearing face coverings when not eating or drinking, and wiping down frequently touched surfaces with a disinfecting solution as recommended by the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention.
Bounce houses and petting zoos are prohibited, and the Village will not offer tree walks or Fire Department visits as part of block parties this year. However, information on how to host a green block party will be provided.
Block party organizers also are asked to help keep participants safe by providing hand sanitizer with at least 60 percent alcohol and setting up temporary hand-washing stations with water, soap and paper towels.
“No group activity can be considered completely safe during the COVID-19 pandemic, but taking common-sense precautions can go a long way toward reducing risks,” Charley said. “It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway – people who have any COVID-19 symptoms, have tested positive or come into contact with someone who has tested positive, should stay home and not participate in a block party.”
For more information on organizing a block party, call 708.358.5700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Click here to read the official guidelines issued by the Oak Park Department of Public Health.