March 31, 2020

Mayor Lightfoot Announces New Partnership with Hotel Essex to House First Responders Working on the Front Lines of COVID-19

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334|

CHICAGO – Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot today announced a new agreement with Chicago hotel operator, Oxford Capital Group for temporary respite for those on the front lines of the City’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Hotel Essex, in the South Loop, will give first responders a place to rest without having to return home and risking the health of their families during the crisis. 

“Our healthcare professionals and first responders have been working around the clock and putting their lives on the line to tackle this crisis and keep our city safe,” said Mayor Lightfoot. “Just as they’ve been supporting us, we need to support them. I want to thank our hotel partners for stepping up once again for Chicago during our hour of need. Now is the time for all of us to work together to save lives and get our city back on track.” 

Beginning later this week, first responders, including police officers, firefighters, and paramedics who are in direct contact with the public can stay at the 274-room Hotel Essex rather than return home and risk possibly exposing others to COVID-19, which can be spread by those who have no symptoms. The rooms will provide these vital workers a sense of comfort knowing that they can do their jobs and protect their families at the same time.  Dispatchers and 911 operators are also eligible. 

“It is an honor to provide a sanctuary for the first responders of the City of Chicago – those who put their lives on the line every day,” said founder, president, and CEO John W. Rutledge of Oxford Capital Group which owns The Hotel Essex. “We’re proud to help the city combat this crisis and allow our brave first responders a safe respite during this crisis.” 

Rooms at the Essex are available to first responders on a first-come, first-serve basis. Any responder looking to secure a room will need to provide proof of employment. The Essex will provide guests with meals and free parking. The hotel accommodation is not meant for individuals who require quarantine or isolation due to exposure to COVID-19 or who have tested positive for the virus. 

This is the latest measure in the City’s comprehensive response plan to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last week, Mayor Lightfoot announced a series of agreements with area hotels to provide space to quarantine or isolate patients exposed to or mildly ill with COVID-19, and recently announced the buildout of a new Alternate Care Facility at McCormick Place. Combined, these efforts will alleviate the burden on the City’s hospital system, allowing it to prioritize care for the most acute patients. 

For more information and updates on the City’s response to COVID-19, text COVID19 to 78015, email or visit