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Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot has allowed the remote working of “non-essential” city employees as closures across the country continued amid the sweeping COVID-19 remains.
“The City remains committed to delivering critical services to our residents throughout this difficult time. Now and in the weeks ahead, perhaps more than ever, Chicagoans will rely on us to deliver for them, to cushion the blow from this terrible disruption, and extend a hand to those most in need,” Lightfoot said in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “However, we must balance our mission of service delivery with the need to keep our workforce and the community safe and these new policies are designed to do just that.”
In the statement, Lightfoot also confirmed that the city would begin suspending “non-essential government services that cannot be performed from home by employees.”
The city’s Police Department, Fire Department, Office Emergency Management & Communications, will all remain fully staffed and operational — as will critical services such as sanitation, water, and airport operations. City employees’ salaries will not be affected.
The news comes just hours after Lightfoot faced criticism for keeping the city’s public libraries open. Lightfoot defended her decision, arguing libraries “play an important role as a safety net in communities providing trusted and reliable information.”
Chicago Public libraries have “temporarily suspended all programs and events while continuing to provide basic services. We ask that patrons and staff who are sick stay home and utilize our extensive digital services, and those that do use the libraries, use additional precautionary measures during their visit,” the mayor’s office said.