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OAK PARK, Ill. — West suburban Oak Park prepares to put a shelter in place order into effect at midnight Friday in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19.

A patient and two emergency room physicians at Rush Oak Park Hospital tested positive for COVID-19 prompting a shelter in place order for the village. All three individuals have been quarantined at home.

Oak Park Mayor Anan Abu-Taleb says it’s in place to make sure people know the gravity of this situation. He said it was important to take stronger measures, but not to induce panic.

“I think we need to prepare for the worst and hope for the best,” he said.

As of midnight, Oak Park residents are asked to only go out when it’s essential. Residents can still go to the grocery store, walk their dogs and go out — just keep six feet away from the next person.

On Thursday, the Oak Park Jewel-Osco was packed, and the drive-thru at McDonald’s was also busy. 

Staying home is a learned behavior for Americans who typically have freedom to move. They will need to adjust as the pandemic continues.

“This virus has no boundaries,” the mayor said. “Does not accept cease fire and we are at a war with an enemy we do not see.”

With nine nursing homes in the village, keeping older residents safe is a big priority. The mayor says it’s also important to support the two major hospitals in the village so they don’t get overwhelmed with patients. 

Abu-Taleb owns a small business and understands the economic hit many people are feeling, but said this is more about safety and containing a virus that medical experts know little about.

“I think that this is a life and death situation and we need to address it in such a way,” the mayor said.

The ordinance will not be strictly enforced by police. It is more guidance for people to take what’s going on seriously.

For more information visit the Village of Oak Park’s website