Hotel Essex Providing Rooms For First Responders Fighting COVID-19 Pandemic

By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- The Lightfoot Administration has an agreement with a local hotel to provide a place of respite for first responders.

Mayor Lightfoot said the Hotel Essex is making 274 rooms available for Chicago police, firefighters, and paramedics, who worry about catching the coronavirus and don't want to risk being close loved ones.

"The reality is that they are coming in contact with the virus every day and working long, hard hours," Lightfoot said. "And some of them may prefer to stay downtown rather than going home to their spouse, kids, parents, or friends.

"We must do everything we can to be responsive to the needs of our heroes on the front lines of this fight - our healthcare workers and our first responders. We will be announcing similar supports for healthcare workers," she said.

Jim Tracy, President of Chicago Fire Fighters Union Local No. 2, appeared with the Mayor giving thanks.

"We know it is only going to get worse, before it gets better and it is a huge relief for our members and their families to know that the Essex Hotel is going to have a room for them," he said.

Fraternal Order of Police President Kevin Graham, often at odds with the Mayor, expressed his gratitude, too, saying this is a positive step. He said this was a point of contention and he thanked the Mayor, adding that this issue hits home for him, literally.

"My wife is a physician and we have had a conversation about which one of us would be living someplace else, providing the other gets this virus," Graham said.

This can ease the minds of many first responders.