Illinois Governor JB Pritzker and Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot have been rolling out city and state measures in attempts to curb the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Schooling has been suspended, events have been canceled, and bars and restaurants have closed. They're also taking measures to ease the financial stresses and burdens of tough unexpected work-related realities. Mayor Lightfoot announced this week that Chicago would stop debt collecting, towing, issuing parking tickets, and other automobile-related enforcement.
Mayor Lightfoot took to social media today to declare a temporary suspension of "debt collection practices and non-safety related citations and impounds, as well as penalties for late payment." What the press release calls a penalty relief package suspends late fees and defaults on late payments for city tickets, utility bills, parking and red-light citations, and booting. Interest accural is also on hold.
The new Chicago rules are effective immediately and, for now, will run through April 30, 2020.
“This is a common sense way that we can help mitigate the burdens and pressures many are feeling. We know that these practices disproportionately impact the residents that are most in need during this crisis," Mayor Lightfoot was quoted in the press release. “We realize that many of our residents are strapped for cash right now as the effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus has created difficult economic circumstances for those who are unable to work. We don’t want to further impact people who can’t afford to pay these penalties today and want to provide some breathing room to help them prioritize how to address their financial obligations.”
Taxi drivers also benefit from the announcement. Chicago has extended the deadline for city debt checks on ride-hailing drivers and taxi drivers.
My fellow Chicagoans,— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) March 19, 2020
Effective immediately, all debt collection practices and non-safety related citations and impounds, as well as penalties for late payment are temporarily suspended through April 30. For more information, visit https://t.co/1YUl2KWEws.
—Mayor Lightfoot pic.twitter.com/3XRAXO5axk