Governor JB Pritzker announced today that residents should remain at home. It also means that non-essential businesses will need to close temporarily due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said that the decision was based on conversations that he had with “some of the best medical experts, epidemiologists, mathematicians, and modelers.”
The order means that residents should refrain from non-essential travel to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. However, residents can travel to the grocery store, to the pharmacy, to work, or to a pick-up restaurant.
“This will not last forever. However, it is going to force us to change,” the governor said.
Residents may also walk outside, jog, and bike as long as they maintain six feet of distance. While the CTA remains open, the governor is asking that it only be used for essential travel to protect health care workers.
“We as a city must do everything we can to help [health care workers],” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.
Pritzker also announced that schools throughout Illinois will remain closed statewide until at least April 8. As for enforcement of the travel restrictions, the governor has instructed law enforcement to take action when necessary.
“We can only save lives by keeping as many people home as practical,” Mayor Lightfoot added.
In terms of what the city of Chicago is doing, the mayor says that all Chicago Public Library branches and parks will close temporarily. This is in addition to the closure of bars and dine-in restaurants earlier in the week, as well as other measures.
So far, 585 cases of COVID-19 have been reported across Illinois, an increase of 163 new cases since the state’s last report. The state is trying to prevent a situation similar to Italy, where 627 more deaths were announced Friday.
According to the New York Times, one in five Americans are now under a stay-at-home order. The orders are in place or will soon be in place in California, Connecticut, Illinois, New Jersey, and New York.