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To Combat Spread Of Coronavirus, Chicago's City Hall Will Be Closed To General Public Starting Friday

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced Thursday night that in an effort to prevent the further spread of coronavirus, City Hall will not be open to the general public effective Friday.

The closure will be in effect until an announcement comes saying otherwise.

City Hall will remain open to essential personnel and aldermen so government and essential services will continue. But beginning Friday, only employees with proper identification will be able to access the floors where they work.

"Essential City employees will continue delivering critical services to our residents throughout this difficult time. More than ever before, Chicagoans will rely on us to deliver critical services and supports during this disruption, while we help navigate these uncharted waters" Mayor Lightfoot said in a news release. "However, we must ensure we balance our mission of service delivery with the need to keep our workforce and the community safe, and reducing the amount of traffic in one of the City's largest municipal buildings will do just that."

During the closure, only city personnel and members of the City Council will be allowed on the upper floors of City Hall. Last week, Mayor Lightfoot directed each city department to evaluate its entire workforce and determine who could work from home.

The City Hall press corps will still be allowed to work on the second floor, and additional members of the news media will still be permitted to cover events as advised by the Mayor's Press Office.

On Wednesday, officials said a Chicago Department of Procurement Services employee who works at City Hall tested positive for the coronavirus.

City officials do not believe the employee caught the COVID-19 virus at work, but have conducted a thorough cleaning and disinfection of the procurement office, the employee's workspace, and common areas of City Hall, according to department spokeswoman Catherine Kwiatkowski.

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