Elgin police: About 36 calls, 1 violation for nonessential businesses staying open

  • A sign at Union National Bank and Trust Company of Elgin tells customers that employees are working from home in the midst of the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19.

      A sign at Union National Bank and Trust Company of Elgin tells customers that employees are working from home in the midst of the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Chicago Street in Elgin was nearly empty Monday during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19.

      Chicago Street in Elgin was nearly empty Monday during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Signs reserve parking spots for curbside food pickup along South Grove Street during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19.

      Signs reserve parking spots for curbside food pickup along South Grove Street during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Empty streets in front of the Tower Building in downtown Elgin on Monday during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19.

      Empty streets in front of the Tower Building in downtown Elgin on Monday during the state's "stay at home" order due to COVID-19. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 3/30/2020 6:42 PM

Following the state's COVID-19 "stay at home" order 10 days ago, Elgin police have responded to about 36 calls for service regarding nonessential businesses staying open, and only one was found in violation, officials said.

A barber shop in the 200 block of North McLean Boulevard was open and operating with clients but it promptly complied by closing the business when police showed up, requiring no further action, Police Cmdr. Jim Bisceglie said. The other businesses were not found to be in violation when officers responded, he said.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

The police department's 911 communications center has been fielding questions about the order, receiving 250 calls on March 21, the day Gov. J.B. Pritzker enacted it, Bisceglie said.

Police officers have occasionally spotted groups of people congregating outside the parameters of the order, and the only action taken has been to talk to them. No repeat offenders have been spotted, police said.

The objective is to educate people and gain compliance through conversation, Bisceglie said.

Police Chief Ana Lalley said if necessary, police will consult with the city's legal department and the Kane County state's attorney's office about taking action to enforce compliance.

But the goal is to avoid that if possible, she said. "The message is, at the police department, we appreciate everyone's part in doing their part, and everyone plays a role in making sure that we stay healthy and safe," she said.

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The police department will start distributing, likely Tuesday, educational flyers with information about the stay at home order, Lalley said.

Also, the department's social services and collaborative crisis services units are working to educate homeless people about the dangers of not complying with the social distancing requirement due to COVID-19, Bisceglie said.

City spokeswoman Molly Gillespie said the city's legal department has reviewed about 20 allegations of noncompliance for businesses that might not immediately be recognized as essential, and therefore allowed to stay open.

One example are car dealerships, which can stay open for repairs and for sales by appointment, but must close their showroom. Real estate showings also are deemed an essential business under the order, she said.

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