Hit Hard By COVID-19, DuPage County Slowly Recovering With Business Reopenings

Coronavirus Testing Sites in Illinois
Photo credit Nathan J Fish/Sun-News, Las Cruces Sun-News via Imagn Content Services, LLC

(WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- DuPage County has seen more than 13,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 500 deaths so far. But officials there say the county and the businesses are slowly recovering from the pandemic.

DuPage County Health Director Karen Ayala said the western suburbs are seeing the same rise in cases of COVID 19 as in other areas, but it’s simply because more people are out and about. She said generally, there was been little resistance to wearing a mask and social distancing because residents understand the seriousness of the virus. 

"If we don't maintain the health and safety of our residents, then everything else is lost," Ayala said.

DuPage County Board Member Bob Larsen, who chairs the finance committee, said the County has lost substantial revenue but he was ready for this. He said the county plans to avoid a tax increase but may have to dip into its reserves.

Greg Bedalov, CEO of Choose DuPage said the hospitality industry, has suffered the most from COVID-19 but things are starting to get a little better. He said the county received $168 million in CARES Act dollars and immediately allocated $7 million to a small business relief program that is being administered by Choose DuPage.

"We were able to deploy over $6 million of that $7 million allocation to the small business community within DuPage in less than 60 days," Bedalov said. 

Larsen said there’s been some relief from Washington, but not for lost revenue from taxes and fees. He's not sure how much, if any, more aid will come for that.

We chart how DuPage is recovering from the Pandemic on our At Issue program this weekend, and you can hear more Sunday at 9:30 am and 9:30 pm.