FREE COVID-19 Testing, Deferred Property Tax Payments, Senior Freeze Exemptions, and more


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Sandy Hart 2019

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May 21, 2020

Dear Neighbor,

I hope this email finds you healthy and safe. I look forward to Lake County moving into Phase 3 of Governor Pritzker's plan, which we hope will take place in the last few days of May. Under the plan, bars and restaurants can open for outdoor seating; state parks can open; and personal care services, like nail salons, tattoo shops, hair braiders, spas and barbershops, can open with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits. All retail stores can open their doors to in-person shopping, also with IDPH safety precautions and capacity limits in place. If you want to see how Lake County is tracking to get to Phase 3, click here. Please see below for information on testing, including the FREE facility provided by the State of Illinois.

While we cannot gather together as a community to remember our veterans for Memorial Day, I hope you'll take a moment to visit this website and read the stories of the men and women who bravely served and lost their life for all of us. Please also consider sharing the stories of your own loved ones - this website will stay active beyond Memorial Day so we can continue to honor them, regardless of the date.

I'm really proud that Lake County Health Department is one of only two in the state of Illinois to receive monies to augment our contract tracing work. It was chosen for "having a great existing collaboration of public health personnel, medical students, and volunteers already on the ground." The fact that Lake County has significant needs in terms of case numbers in vulnerable populations and a robust capacity for tracing is also very important. Please click here if you are interested in becoming a Contact Tracer.

On Sunday evening Lake County received a significant rainfall, flooding streets, homes, and causing extensive damage. For the 2020 budget, which passed unanimously, the County Board doubled the amount of resources for stormwater management to alleviate flooding across Lake County. Our nationally recognized team continues to focus on ways we can help homeowners, businesses, and other agencies to improve stormwater infrastructure and reduce costs.

In closing, please know that it is an honor to serve as the county board member for District 13 and as the Chair of the Lake County Board, particularly in this time of crisis. Please don't hesitate to contact me if I can be of service or to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Take Care,

Sandy Hart Signature


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Lake County Government News 


FREE COVID-19 Testing Site in Waukegan 

A FREE, state-operated Community Based COVID-19 
Testing Site is open 
at 2161 Northwestern Avenue, Waukegan. The lines have been short and the site is open seven days a week from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. or until 750 tests are completed each day. Results are provided by phone in four to seven days. Testing is free and available to anyone regardless of immigration status-no one will be turned away. I visited last week to be tested and was in and out in less than 45 minutes.   Watch the video 


Who can get tested at the Community-Based Testing Site?


Anyone with symptoms (fever, cough, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, chills, muscle pain, headache, sore throat, new loss of taste or smell)


People in the following groups with or without symptoms:

  • Individuals exposed to confirmed COVID-19 cases
  • Individuals with compromised immune systems and/or chronic medical conditions
  • Healthcare workers
  • First responders
  • Employees of correctional facilities
  • Government employees
  • Employees who support Critical Infrastructure (grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, public utilities, factories, childcare and sanitation) 

Learn more about the Waukegan testing site. 


Other testing options

Many healthcare providers have COVID-19 testing available. Please contact your provider or the facility to ask about testing criteria and appointment availability. Anyone without a healthcare provider or insurance can contact the Lake County Health Department and Community Health Center for an appointment at (847) 377-8800.

Dozens of additional commercial testing sites are also available throughout IllinoisView an interactive map of testing sites in Lake County. 

pay property taxes in four installments

County Board Approves Extended Period for Property Tax Payments 

In recognition of the financial hardship that many Lake County taxpayers are experiencing in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, the County Board unanimously approved an ordinance that allows taxpayers to pay their property taxes in four installments instead of just two. 

The payments were originally due on June 8 and Sept. 8. Under the ordinance, property owners must still pay the full amount of taxes due, but may spread them over four payments without incurring interest penalties, as long as the payments are made by the following dates:

  • 50% of the first installment payment is due by June 8, 2020 
  • 50% of the first installment payment is due by Aug. 7, 2020 
  • 50% of the second installment payment is due by Sept. 8, 2020 
  • 50% of the second installment payment is due by Nov. 9, 2020 

The office of Lake County Treasurer Holly Kim is mailing a notice of the deferred payment plan to all Lake County property owners. While the Treasurer's Office remains closed to the public due to the stay-at-home order, customer support staff are available remotely to answer questions. To request that a staff member contact you, complete this form. 

Taxpayers may experience longer than usual wait times for customer service because of the volume of questions anticipated due to the change in the payment schedule. 

The County Board recognizes the burden of high property taxes, and the board unanimously passed a flat tax levy for budget year 2020 for the first time in at least twenty years. It is my intention to do what we can to repeat this for budget year 2021.

To learn more:

Honor Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day Website

Since many of us will not be able to attend Memorial Day ceremonies due to COVID-19, Lake County has developed a website for residents to virtually share stories and photos to honor the memories of fallen heroes. Residents can submit their own Honor Post highlighting their loved one or friend, along with a photo and written tribute on Lake County’s Memorial Day website. Submit and view other Honor Posts from the community.

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'Lake County Forward' Initiative

On May 20, I announced  the launch of "Lake County Forward," a collaborative, whole-of-government initiative for community health and economic recovery as Lake County accelerates through the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. More information can be found at

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Limited-Income Seniors: Deadline to Apply for Senior Assessment Freeze Exemption Extended to Oct. 1 

Property owners age 65 and older who have total household incomes of $65,000 or less are encouraged to apply for the Senior Citizen’s Assessment Freeze.  This program may reduce property tax bills by freezing the property’s equalized assessed value, which impacts the total tax bill. Even if you have received the exemption in past years, you must apply every year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the County Board unanimously approved to extend the application deadline to Oct. 1, 2020. 


To learn more about how to qualify, how to apply and how to get help applying, click here

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View a Recording of Lake County's Virtual Town Hall Meeting 

On May 7, I hosted a live COVID-19 virtual town hall featuring five panelists who discussed the ongoing Lake County Government COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and answered residents’ questions.   

Panelists included:  

  • Mark Pfister, Executive Director, Lake County Health Department  
  • Donny Schmit, President, Lake County Municipal League  
  • Kevin Considine, President and CEO, Lake County Partners  
  • Andrew Tangen, Superintendent, Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission  

A recording of the meeting is available at this link 

Board Establishes Special Committee to Oversee Use of Federal Coronavirus Funding 

At our May 12 meeting, the County Board voted to establish a special board committee focused on COVID-19 recovery and relief. The committee will provide timely guidance and strategic priorities to the County Administrator for the planning and distribution of the federal COVID-19 response funds--$122 million-- provided to Lake County under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act. At its first meeting on May 15, committee members discussed a framework for funding and methods for evaluating the greatest community needs. View the agenda and video recording.

We also approved the distribution of about $2.4 million in federal funds received  so far under the CARES Act. The funds will be allocated to several Lake County nonprofit organizations that are working to provide help to those in need of housing, food and utility payment assistance. A list of organizations receiving the funding can be found at this link. 

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Temporary Open Burning Ban in Unincorporated Lake County 

On May 12, the Lake County Board voted to enact an emergency ordinance which temporarily bans open burning in unincorporated Lake County. The ordinance is effective immediately through June 10, 2020. During this time, open burning is prohibited in the unincorporated areas. Recreational fires that are no larger than 3’ x 3’ x 3’ used for warming, cooking, and other recreational purposes are not included in this ban.  

Exposure to smoke from open burning can increase serious health consequences during the COVID-19 pandemic in both people who have existing respiratory conditions and those who don’t. People who contract COVID-19 are more likely to develop more severe symptoms and/or serious complications due to smoke exposure. The temporary ban also reduces the risk of the uncontrolled spread of fire, which could impact fire departments and other first responders at a time when their resources are needed to assist with the community COVID-19 response operations. 

For more information about the temporary ban and alternatives to burning yard waste, please visit 

How the Stay-At-Home Order Impacts Boating in Lake County  

Following modifications to the governor’s executive order on May 1, 2020, there have been many questions surrounding boating and how many people can be in a boat. The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) issued guidance stating boating is permitted in groups of no more than two persons.  
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office has been seeking further guidance from state officials and the DCEO on enforcement provisions of this, and whether it applies to families who reside together.  All the responses the Sheriff’s Office has received from these inquiries has indicated that local law enforcement has full discretion on enforcement of the boating provision.  The Sheriff’s Office is exercising this discretion and will not issue citations to families who are boating on Lake County waterways. Read Sheriff John D. Idleburg’s message. 


International Compost Awareness Week  

The Solid Waste Agency of Lake County (SWALCO) is encouraging all Lake County residents to recycle their food waste. Composting turns food scraps into healthy soil, helps prevent plant diseases, reduces the need for fertilizers and chemicals, conserves water and reduces greenhouse gas emissions. 


Backyard composting can be done easily in just a small spot or corner in your yard. Fruit and vegetable scraps are collected and mixed with yard trimmings and other materials in an outdoor compost bin or pile. 


More than 20 municipalities in Lake County now offer residential curbside food scrap collection programs. There are also two local drop-off locations in Lake County created for food scraps! You can access information about curbside programs, composting at home, local food scrap drop-off locations, the Illinois Food Scrap Coalition and more by visiting SWALCO’s Residential Food Scrap Programs page. 

Board of Review Hearing Officer Exam Postponed to July 9  

The Lake County Board of Review is seeking qualified professionals with a background in real estate to serve as Board of Review Hearing Officers. All applicants must pass a two-hour qualifying exam, which was originally scheduled for May 6 and later postponed to June 4. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the exam has again been postponed, and is now scheduled for Thursday July 9 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Lake County Central Permit Facility, 500 W Winchester Road, Libertyville IL  60048.  Room, CPF GU 2220 A, B & C.     

To learn more about the role of hearing officers and how you can apply, click here. 


Lake County Monitoring Local Flooding 

Heavy rainfall over the past week has caused flooding to river basins, roads, and properties throughout Lake County. The saturated ground has led to flash flooding and sump pumps running non-stop in some homes and businesses. As of May 21, many of the river levels are dropping or forecast to drop in the coming days, but the Chain O'Lakes is at 6.24’ in minor flood stage and continuing to slowly increase.

If residents need flooding materials or supplies, such as sandbags, contact your local municipality or township. Learn more about flooding, clean-up and precautions to take if you encounter flooding by visiting For the latest updates, follow Lake County Government on Facebook

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Lake County COVID-19 Update 

Case Count Update  

The Lake County Health Department continues to monitor COVID-19 cases in Lake County. As of May 21, 7,168 Lake County residents have tested positive for COVID-19, and there have been 234 deaths associated with COVID-19. View the most current information. 

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illinois restore plan

New Updates to Restore Illinois Plan 

On May 20, Governor JB Pritzker announced an update to Phase 3 of the state's Restore Illinois plan.  Under the most recent update, once Phase 3 is reached certain businesses may reopen with capacity restrictions and in accordance with Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) safety precautions, including masks and social distancing requirements. Bars and restaurants will be able to resume operations for outdoor seating only. Outdoor activities like boating and camping will have a 10-person gathering limit.  For more information click here. To see how Lake County is tracking to get to Phase 3, click here.


Learn more about Governor Pritzker’s Restore Illinois plan: 

Lake County Selected to Pilot Statewide Contact Tracing Program 

On May 18, Governor J.B. Pritzker announced the Illinois Contact Tracing Collaborative, a locally-driven approach to scale up contact tracing in Illinois. The Lake County Health Department was among two local health departments in the state chosen to pilot the program based on having significant case numbers in vulnerable populations, a robust capacity to scale up contact tracing efforts, and great existing collaborations of public health personnel, medical students, and volunteers.  

Through this new partnership, the Lake County Health Department will be hiring additional contact tracers with funding provided by the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) through Federal CARES funding and Disaster Relief Act funding. Those interested in becoming a contact tracer can indicate their interest on the IDPH website at  

If you have questions about the contact tracing program, please call the IDPH hotline at 1-800-889-3931 or email DPH.SICK@ILLINOIS.GOV.  

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Lake County’s Process for COVID-19 Contact Tracing 

Contact tracing is a key strategy to prevent further spread of COVID-19. As part of this process, public health staff helps the infected person recall where they have been and who they have seen while they have been infected. Staff then reach out to these contacts to inform them that they may have been exposed to COVID-19. Watch this video to learn more about the contact tracing process. 

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Get Help 


Mental Health Support 

Illinois has launched Call4Calm, a free emotional support text line for Illinois residents experiencing stress and mental health issues related to COVID-19. To speak with a mental health professional, text “TALK” or “HABLAR” (for Spanish) to 552020.  


The Health Department also continues to offer mental health support through its Crisis Care hotline, available 24/7 at (847) 377-8088. Services are free and confidential. Learn more 

Unemployment Benefits for Self-Employed/1099 Workers 

Starting May 11, self-employed and 1099 workers impacted by COVID-19 can apply for unemployment benefits online. This benefit expansion program, called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), was created by Congress in the CARES Act stimulus bill.  PUA will provide up to 39 weeks of unemployment benefits to workers who would not usually be eligible for traditional benefits. This includes 1099 employees, independent contractors, gig economy workers, sole proprietors, and self-employed workers. Learn more about PUA 


Employment Resources from the Job Center of Lake County   

Are you looking for a job during this challenging time of layoffs, furloughs, and hiring freezes? 

Learn how the Job Center of Lake County can help you connect with Lake County employers who are hiring during the pandemic and discover tools and programs that are available to help you transition careers:

Food Pantry Locations and Housing Assistance 

Lake County has developed an interactive map that shows food pantry locations throughout Lake County. Watch this video to learn more about food pantries and other resources to help with housing assistance in this interview with Anna Yankelev, Mitigation Chief at the Lake County Health Department.  

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Cash Grants for College of Lake County Students 

Emergency cash grants are now available to College of Lake County students whose lives have been affected by the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19 in support of continuing their educational goals.  

Through the Lancers Keep Learning Fund,  eligible students will be provided with up to $1,500 over spring, summer and fall semesters in financial assistance and resources to cover critical basic needs, including food, housing, course materials and more. Learn more and apply 

COVID-19 Safety in the Workplace 

In early April, the Office of the Illinois Attorney General proposed a cooperative effort to address employee and public concerns about the transmission of COVID-19 in businesses. Since then, the Lake County Health Department has been working with the Attorney General's Office, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity, municipalities, and local law enforcement to mitigate issues at businesses with COVID-19 cases among employees and where concerns are reported. 

Anyone with concerns about safety in their workplace because their employer is not following social distancing guidelines can contact the Attorney General's Workplace Rights Bureau at (844) 740-5076 or through to file a complaint. 

Workforce Development Small Business Grants 

The Lake County Workforce Development Board recognizes that COVID-19 has put a difficult burden on our business and non-profit community. As a response, the Workforce Board is working with the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity(DCEO) to provide small businesses and non-profits with reimbursement grants during this health crisis. These grant funds can help you equip your business with strategies that mitigate layoffs and adhere to “social distancing” provisions established by state and federal health entities. Read details.  

Illinois Low-Interest Bridge Loans for Small Businesses  

The Illinois State Treasurer’s Office announced it is increasing to $500 million the amount of money available to small businesses for low-interest bridge loans to help employers during the COVID-19 pandemic. The money will be made available to small businesses via community lending institutions, such as local banks and credit unions. In turn, the lending institutions agree to loan the money to small businesses at below-market rates. Read more 

Help for Local Businesses 

Lake County Partners, a non-profit corporation that supports Lake County businesses, has compiled helpful resources for area businesses. View it here.  

Help for Veterans 

The Lake County Veterans Assistance Commission (VAC) oversees emergency assistance to Lake County military veterans and their families. Watch the video as VAC Superintendent Andrew Tangen
discusses the role of the VAC, and how VAC staff are helping veterans during the COVID-19 pandemic.    


cdc cleaning

Guidance on Cleaning and Disinfecting  

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put together guidance for cleaning and disinfecting public spaces, workplaces, businesses and schools, which can also be applied to your home. The virus that causes COVID-19 can be killed if you use the right products. The U.S. EPA has compiled a list of disinfectant products that can be used against COVID-19, including ready-to-use sprays, concentrates, and wipes. Learn more  


If you are caring for someone in your home who has or might have COVID-19,

 watch this video and visit this CDC web page for tips on how to clean your house to reduce the spread of infection.   


Call 211 to Get Connected to the Help You Need  

If you need help finding any social services, including resources for finding food, healthcare, paying your utility bills, mental health services, etc., reach out to United Way of Lake County’s free, confidential 211 service through any of the following:  

  • Call 211 from your phone  
  • Text your zip code to 898211   
  • Visit 

For additional resources for how to get help, visit 

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How to Help  

More Than $453,000 Distributed Through COVID-19 Community Response Fund   

As of May 14, United Way of Lake County has awarded more than $453,000 to 35 Lake County non-profits that are on the front lines of responding to the COVID-19 crisis in Lake County.  The most recent grant cycle focused on helping smaller organizations doing critical work serving communities and populations disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.  Additional grants will be awarded on a rolling basis to quickly respond to urgent and evolving needs, as funds are available. Read more  

For more information about the Lake County COVID-19 Community Response Fund, visit 

Masks Distributed to Students and their Families in Waukegan   

Leaders United, a group of young professionals supporting the work of United Way of Lake County through volunteerism and philanthropy, launched a mask donation drive to support Waukegan Public School students and their families. The community can donate unused disposable and homemade masks through May 28 by bringing them to the collection bin near the front desk of the Waukegan Police Department, 101 N. West Street in downtown Waukegan.   

The City of Waukegan recently contributed 14,000 disposable masks to the effort acquired through the Community Development Block Grant Program. The masks were distributed in conjunction with the district’s mobile meal distribution program to 80 locations through Waukegan. Teachers from this district will also benefit from the donation.   

For instructions on making homemade masks, a list of  locations where you can donate masks and other ways you can volunteer, view the United Way volunteer opportunities web page. 

Volunteer Opportunities 

For a list of other ways you can help your community, including meal delivery, phone checks on older adults, office assistance and more, visit the How You Can Help and United Way of Lake County Volunteer Opportunities pages. 

Count on Me Lake County 2020 Census

Respond to the Census 

You’re washing your hands. You’re keeping your social distance. You’re wearing a mask when you shop.  Now, it’s time to do one more thing:  Respond to the 2020 census. Your participation is vital to ensuring that Lake County gets adequate funding to support healthcare, schools, public transportation, roads, and more. 


The self-response date has been extended to October 31.  You do not need to know your census ID code to respond--simply provide your address. Your responses are safe and confidential. By law, census information cannot be shared with anyone else, including local police, the FBI or immigration authorities. Fill out your form now at, or call 844-330-2020.

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Lake County Forest Preserves 

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COVID-19 Documentation Project 

Each of us is living through a significant moment in history. As the principal steward of Lake County’s history, the Bess Bower Dunn Museum is documenting the impact of the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Over the coming weeks and months, the Dunn Museum will be collecting stories and photographs that demonstrate how COVID-19 is affecting the lives of Lake County residents, businesses and caregivers. To share your experiences, go to 

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Keep Doing Your Part to Keep Preserves Open 

With more than a month of the state's stay-at-home order under our belts, Lake County Forest Preserves Ranger Police continue to closely monitor preserves and trails to ensure safety rules, social distancing and other public health guidelines are being followed. “In general, things are going relatively well in the forest preserves; therefore, we have been able to keep them open,” said Executive Director Ty Kovach. “We would like to thank preserve visitors for helping with this effort, as the vast majority are adhering to courtesy and safety rules," Kovach said. "It is important that visitors continue following these practices while using preserve trails." Learn more » 


Online Dunn Museum Store 

Help support the Dunn Museum! The Museum is currently closed, but online orders of its popular
Dryptosaurus T-shirt are available while supplies last. The Dunn Museum is committed to finding locally sourced merchandise. The T-shirts are made in the USA and printed in Chicago. A unique and major attraction of the Dunn Museum is the life-sized Dryptosaurus dinosaur. Learn more »  

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Transportation News 

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Bike Path Wayfinding Study Virtual Public Meeting, May 27 

The Lake County Division of Transportation's (LCDOT) countywide Bike Path Wayfinding and Signage study is almost complete! Considering feedback from hundreds of participants at a public meeting held last year and an interactive survey, LCDOT is ready to present its findings of wayfinding strategies and sign templates to enhance the bikeways in Lake County. 

Please join an upcoming virtual public information meeting on Wednesday, May 27 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. that will be hosted through Facebook. Learn more. 

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Health Department News  

Ethylene Oxide Update  

The Health Department, in partnership with the Village of Gurnee and City of Waukegan, continues to address concerns of ethylene oxide (EtO) emissions from Medline Industries in Waukegan and Vantage Specialty Chemicals in Gurnee. The final phase of outdoor air monitoring concluded on May 2, 2020, and the Health Department is awaiting the final sampling results. These results will be posted to the Health Department’s website at when they are received.  

Results will be sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR), Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), and Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) which has regulatory authority over EtO emissions permitting in Illinois. The ATSDR has agreed to conduct a health risk assessment for Lake County based on the results, and IDPH has agreed to complete a cancer incidence study that includes Lake County. These assessments are expected to take several months. 

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Board and Committee Meetings Are Being Held Remotely 


All Lake County board and committee meetings are being conducted remotely, at least until the Governor's stay-at-home order is lifted. Meetings are live-streamed at, and on cable television (Comcast channels 18 or 30, depending on where you live, and AT&T U-Verse Channel 99). To see a current schedule of board and committee meetings, click here 

Public comments will be accepted by email and phone call only. Learn more 

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Community News 

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Experience Lake County@Home has added a section on its website called ExperienceLakeCounty@Home, with helpful resources including a list of Lake County restaurants open for takeout and delivery, discount offers, a list of hotels that remain open, virtual tours, things to do outdoors and more. 

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COVID-19 Resources 

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