CHAMPAIGN COUNTY, Ill. (WCIA) — A common question amidst COVID-19 restrictions has been what is considered an “essential service” and what is not? In Illinois, bike service and repair is covered.

Bike service and repair is considered an essential service in Illinois because for some people, it is their only way of transportation. And for others, it is the best way they know how to get out of the house and get active.

The Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency updated its guideline. It states the essential workforce includes employees supporting personal and commercial transportation services, which includes bicycle maintenance. Not every state agrees with that, though.

Michigan decided bike service is not essential and 24 states have yet to take a stance. Bike-riding advocate Jeff Yockey said for states like Illinois, there is no question bikes, and services for them, are needed even when there is not a pandemic. “When you have a state like Illinois where you have Chicago, a big metropolitan area, people are wondering about the best way to travel,” said Yockey. “Some are not as comfortable on buses or subways or elevation trains. So bicycles are getting a lot of use. And so you need bike shops.”

In Champaign County, bike rental shops are keeping their doors open, offering limited hours. Ride share programs like Veo Ride are keeping their operations going, assuring riders bikes are wiped down at the end of each day, but encouraging them to bring wipes of their own, to be extra safe.

Remember that trails and open areas of parks in central Illinois are still open for bike riding.