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Posted on: April 23, 2020

COVID-19 Updates from the Village

Stay Home Save Lives

Village buildings are closed to the public and the State of Illinois has issued a Shelter in Place order. These measures are being taken to prevent exposure to and spread of coronavirus.

Plans are in place for water, electric, public works, refuse, finance, and public safety services to continue as normal. Village staff will be available during regular business hours to assist residents. Routine business can be conducted by phone and email. The Village strongly encourages residents and businesses to use online and phone to conduct business as much as possible.

Residents Asked to Wear Masks in Public
Village President Rintz has asked residents to wear masks when in public places where social distancing is not possible. Read his letter to the community here.

Department-specific services and contact information:

Community Development:

The Governor’s Executive Order does include construction activity as an “Essential Infrastructure” activity, so individuals may leave their homes to perform construction work. To continue to support this Essential Infrastructure activity, the Village is working to ensure the continued processing of building permits and inspections. For details of adjustments to services visit the Building Permits and Construction page. Call 847-716-3520 with questions.

Finance Department: 
Online payments can be made on our website.
A drop box is available at the Winnetka Post office for Village mail and bill pay.
Call Finance at 847-501-6000 and press 0. Email the Village Finance Department.

Fire Department:
The Fire Department will continue to provide all essential responses in the event a resident or visitor has an emergency or needs assistance. Call 911 to obtain necessary help.

Due to heightened concern about COVID-19, the following services have been suspended until further notice:

  • Public access to the Fire Station
  • Station tours
  • CPR and other classes
  • Public education visits
  • Drop off of expired prescription drugs and sharps
  • Fire inspection services

When you call 911 for an ambulance or fire response, your Winnetka paramedics and firefighters may look a little different when they approach your home or office: our paramedics will now approach every patient wearing a protective face mask, gown and gloves. Only one or two of paramedics will make initial contact with a patient, while others may wait outside for direction or to assist. In addition, we will ask a patient to apply a mask, as well. Firefighters will ask questions above your health and the health of others in your home and will likely wear a mask while investigating calls that are not medical-related. These new procedures, though a little daunting at times, intended to protect both the first responder and the patient. We are also asking family members to use their own transportation to the hospital when available. 

Please let paramedics and firefighters know immediately if you or the patient have any symptoms related to the COVID-19, and please continue to practice social distancing when communicating with them. Our goal is to keep our first responders as healthy as possible to provide a quick response when anyone calls 911.

If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Deputy Chief John Ripka at 847-716-3303.

Police Department:
The Police Department is making the following service adjustments as a result of COVID-19:

  • Home and business security surveys are suspended
  • Car seat installations are suspended
  • Station tours are suspended

Citizens requiring a police report for incidents that are not in progress (i.e. identity theft, lost property, suspicious incident) should call the non-emergency number 847-501-6034 and provide dispatch with their name and phone number. An officer will call the citizen back and complete the report over the phone. Police officers will not be meeting with residents inside their homes unless it is for a critical service or emergency.

Public Works:
Public Works will make the following service adjustments until buildings are re-opened to the public:

  • All refuse and recycling must be placed within bins to be collected. Nothing outside of refuse containers will be collected, except for bagged, stickered yard waste.
  • Special collections are suspended at this time.
  • All current recycling drop-off programs are suspended until further notice. Call Brendon Mendoza at 847-716-3550 with questions.
  • Internal sewer inspections are suspended. External sewer inspections will be performed. Call Mike Rivard at 847-716-3264 for details.
  • All engineering tnspections, including grading, fencing, final engineering inspections, or flood related inspections will require pre-approval before scheduling. Call Susan Chen 847-716-3532 or Mehdi Vakil at 847-716-3530.
  • All forestry inspections and permit drop-offs will require pre-approval before scheduling. Contact Jim Stier at 847-716-3535 or Andrew Lueck at 847-716-3289.


Water & Electric Department:
Until further notice, the Water & Electric Department has implemented the following actions on behalf of our customers:

  • Suspending all tours and hosted public meetings or project meetings
  • Suspending the replacement of water or electric meters located within residential or commercial properties.
  • Suspended the installation of a new water meters

Call the Water & Electric main number with questions: 847-716-3558. To report an emergency, call 847-501-2531.

We understand that our community is in uncharted territory with the spread of coronavirus and the uncertainty that the situation causes. The following are updates about what the Village is doing, and some key points to consider.

What the Village is doing:

The Village continues to participate in conversations at the state, county, and local level to share information about COVID-19 and respond to emerging concerns.

We are also convening remote meetings with sister agencies to keep them updated on what we know, including New Trier, Winnetka Public School District 36, the Winnetka Park District, and the Winnetka-Northfield Library. Institutions including North Shore Country Day School, Sacred Heart, and Faith, Hope, and Charity, and local churches also participate.   

What you can do:

  • Know that we are all in this stressful situation together. Be as kind, patient, and respectful as possible.
  • Practice social distancing, defined as staying about 6 feet away from others, and, if it’s necessary to be closer to a person, to try to limit that interaction as much as possible to less than 10 minutes.
  • Continue hand-washing with soap and water and routine cleaning of frequently-touched surfaces.
  • If you are sick, stay home. Most cases of coronavirus are mild and do not require medical attention. Call ahead to your doctor to determine whether an in-person visit is necessary.
  • Look to reliable sources for health information, including (but not limited to) the CDCthe Illinois Department of Health, and the City of Chicago. The Cook County Department of Public Health has information about local spread of the virus, found here
  • If you are worried about the well-being of a friend or neighbor, know that the Winnetka Police Department performs general well-being checks and has a social worker on staff. Call the non-emergency line to report a concern: 847-501-6034. Always call 911 in an emergency.
  • Pay bills and apply for permits online. Call the Village for more information at 847-501-6000: Finance can assist with bill payment and Community Development handles most permit information.
  • Get creative with resources: the EPA has a list of disinfectants that kill the coronavirus on surfaces.

Other notes:

  • The City of Chicago offers tips on managing anxiety.
  • The CDC offers an instructive video on handwashing, found here.
  • The Cook County Department of Public Health posts updated statistics daily, found here.

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