Did You Know?
Bike shops must stay open during possible “shelter in place” order
The next important step in the response to the growing threat of the coronavirus will likely involve a “shelter in place” order. This order, which could be enacted by local and state officials, would likely require all but “essential businesses” to close.
These essential businesses could include gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants, hardware stores, banks, and a few other types of businesses.
We want to ensure that bike shops are among the essential businesses allowed to stay open in the event of a shelter in place order.
The letter below, which is being delivered to state and local lawmakers, has 79 signatories — primarily bike shops, but also advocacy organizations and a few local lawmakers.
The letter explains that in the event of a shelter in place order, Chicago and Illinois should follow the lead of cities such as San Francisco and Philadelphia that have included bike shops as essential businesses.
These cities have recognized the great need bike shops fulfill in helping people get around their community safely and affordably. During the current crisis, bikes and bike shops have become especially important for people who are taking the smart approach by avoiding public transit unless it’s necessary. And of course bike shops are essential for a great number of people who don’t want to drive, can’t drive, or don’t have access to a car.
Help us keep fighting for bike access during and after the COVID-19 pandemic by joining or renewing your membership today or making a donation.
Keep reading to see the letter and the signatories.
To Whom It May Concern:
We urge you, elected officials throughout the state of Illinois, to allow bike shops to remain open as “essential businesses” if and when a “shelter in place” rule becomes the reality in any communities across the state.
Bikes are an essential mode of transportation every day and even more so as we are practicing social distancing. If bike shops are shuttered, it deprives riders from the ability to repair their bike when it breaks or purchase a new bike in order to find an alternative means of transport in this time of crisis. Like auto repair shops, bike shops must remain open to service essential transportation needs.
Other cities such as San Francisco and Philadelphia have allowed for bike shops to remain open as essential services to keep the residents moving safely.
Many shops can conduct business in a safe way while practicing social distancing through the following means, with adjustments based on physical set up of shops and entry points:
- No entry — Only staff will be allowed inside the shop, except for one customer at a time to select merchandise, if necessary.
- Sanitization — Before a bike comes inside of a store, staff will sanitize the contact surfaces on the bike.
- Distance — Bikes can be left at a bike rack outside shops and customers will be asked to step away before bike shop staff come out to sanitize.
- Cashless — To minimize contact, prioritize contactless payment such as Apple/Samsung/Google Pay/PayPal and cash payment ONLY if exact change or credit card. Credit card machine will be cleaned after every use.
At a time when only those who really need to should be using public transportation, biking is an alternative to allow front line workers to still access their jobs. Bicycling does not require continuous resource consumption like gas or nor does it require forced interaction that could expose people to contamination, such as at gas stations. Without bike shops to provide service, we are leaving front line workers with limited options as to how to get to work.
After absolute priority is given to our healthcare workers, protective gear — if it is available — should also be made available to bike shop employees if they are able to remain open. This would help ensure the safety of the employees.
Please consider allowing bike shops in Illinois to remain open during this crisis to provide essential transportation services to keep front line workers moving.
Alderman Rossana Rodriguez Sanchez, 33rd Ward
Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, 35th Ward
Alderman Matt Martin, 47th Ward
State Representative Theresa Mah, 2nd District
Chicago Physicians for Social Responsibility
Prairie State Community College
Active Transportation Alliance
Elk Grove Village
Trek Bicycle Store Highland Park
La Grange Park
River Forest Sustainability Commission
Make a Donation
Your tax-deductible donation supports the important work that Active Trans does throughout the region