Governor J.B. Pritzker announced a Stay at Home Order to all Illinois residents today during his daily press conference.
Residents have been ordered to stay in their homes except for “essential” travel or to go to work if their businesses are seen as “essential work” for the community starting tomorrow, Saturday March 21st at 5:00 pm, and continuing through to April 7th.
Pritzker said that after continued consultation with experts in health and science over the last several weeks on the best way to save the most lives in the state, they all responded with what he called “an inescapable decision”.
“We have looked closely at the trajectory of this virus in countries like Italy and China, and left unchecked cases in Illinois will rise rapidly.” “The only strategy available to us to limit the increase in cases and insure our healthcare system has the capacity to treat those who become ill, is to mitigate the spread of coronavirus in the most robust manner possible.”
Pritzker said that there is still a lot of confusion and misinformation about what a stay at home order means.
“You’ll still be able to leave your house to go to the grocery store to get food, you’ll still be able to go to a pharmacy, go to a medical office or hospital, or to gas up your car at a gas station.
You’ll still be able to go running and hiking and walk your dog. Many many people will still go to work, for the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much.”
Pritzker stressed that all interstate highways, gas stations, grocery stores, pharmacies, curb side food services, media outlets and hardware stores among others will remain open.
Pritzker said that for most in Illinois, life will not change very much while he urged Illinoisans to not panic, and not rush to stock up on grocery items
“There is absolutely no need to rush out to a grocery store or gas station. On Sunday, and Monday and Tuesday and everyday thereafter, those will be available to you.
Agriculture and the press, veterinarians and plumbers, laundromats and banks, roads bridges and transit will not be closed down. You can still pick up dinner from your local restaurant, pick up prescriptions, and just spend time with your family.”
Prizker ordered that all non-essential businesses must stop operating during the order, imploring residents to work at home if it is at all possible.
The announcemnt of the order came after Pritzker announced another death from COVID-19 occurred this morning, bringing the total deaths to 5 in the state, along with 585 confirmed cases in 25 counties.
Illinois becomes the second state to announce shelter in place directives behind California. New York announced “non essential” business to close for the remainder of the month today.