FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tuesday, April 21, 2020
40TH WARD ALDERMAN ANDRE VASQUEZ TO INTRODUCE AND CO-SPONSOR PACKAGE OF CORONAVIRUS-RELATED BILLS AT UPCOMING CITY COUNCIL MEETING
(CHICAGO) In an effort to address the COVID-19 challenges now facing Chicagoans, Alderman Andre Vasquez is introducing three pieces of legislation at the City Council meeting on Wednesday, April 22, with plans to co-sponsor additional bills aimed at protecting essential workers and providing relief for those with upcoming rent and mortgage payments.
In addition to signing on as a co-sponsor for Ald. Michele Smith’s workplace safety legislation, which requires private employers and the City of Chicago to provide face coverings for any employees continuing to perform their duties outside the home as “essential workers” during the COVID-19 crisis, Ald. Vasquez is proposing Essential Workers Protections legislation to safeguard all frontline workers during future disaster declarations. Both of Alderman Vasquez’s ordinances codify the requirement that, during times of declared disaster, the City of Chicago and private employers licensed by the City provide PPE adequate to the nature of the disaster to any employees performing their duties outside the home as “essential workers.”
Alderman Vasquez explains, “It’s clear that these protections are needed for anyone assuming risk while working to help our City in times of crisis. There are grocery store clerks, right now, working without the proper protection for themselves and for their customers. They are frontline workers and protecting them needs to be our priority. In addition to helping them immediately, we need to be forward-thinking and prepare for what’s next. The onus is on employers to ensure their employees are covered, no pun intended, in the future as well.”
The alderman’s third bill calls for emergency caps on third-party food delivery services’ per-order fees, and for long-term collaboration to make food delivery sustainable for independent restaurants. “Our local restaurants are struggling already, and with services like Grubhub charging almost a third of the order cost, it is even harder to stay afloat during this pandemic,” says Alderman Vasquez. “This bill aims to provide these small businesses with some relief.” Ald Vasquez plans to sign on to a similar bill submitted by Alderman Scott Waguespack, 32nd Ward.
Ald. Vasquez is also supporting 47th Ward Alderman Matt Martin’s rent and mortgage relief bills, which would allow delayed payments without fees or penalties for both rent and mortgage payments due during the disaster declaration, and he will co-sponsor another bill establishing “line of duty” death benefits for families of emergency responders who die during the COVID-19 crisis.