The State of Illinois is ordering residents to “shelter in place” and stay at home due to coronavirus. But what does that mean? What can and can’t you do?
For starters, the shelter in place order starts on Saturday, March 21, 2020 at 5 p.m. It runs through April 7, 2020, according to The Hill. “All of our residents will be subject to a stay at home order,” said the governor, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker.
It affects most, but not all, activities. The order is meant to target non-essential activities, such as socializing in bars or other gatherings. In a news conference, the governor explained that Illinois residents will still be allowed to go to the grocery store to get food, and visit a pharmacy and get gas for their cars. They can also take walks outside. People can go to the medical office or hospital or go running, hiking, or walking their dog. Many people will still go to work. “For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” said Pritzker.
He urged people not to run out to gas stations or grocery stores.
He said that the news media, plumbers, veterinarians, laundromats, banks, roads, bridges and transit, and agriculture will not shut down. People can still get food takeout from restaurants and pick up prescriptions.
What will change then? “All non-essential businesses must stop operating. If you can work from home and aren’t already doing so, now is the time when you must. The heroes of this moment are health care workers, first responders, law enforcement officers” and individuals who work in grocery stores and pharmacies. Those people can “not stay home. We need you.” He said authorities were ordering municipalities to stop evictions right now.
The governor said that he has had many discussions with experts about how coronavirus might unfold in Illinois.
“I’ve asked every one of these experts, What action can I take to save the most lives?’” Pritzker said in the news conference. “Well, they’ve come back to me with one inescapable conclusion: To avoid the loss of potentially tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay-at-home order for the state of Illinois.” Left “unchecked,” he said that the hospitals would be overwhelmed, so he wanted to mitigate coronavirus in the most robust way possible.
He said he was choosing between saving lives and save livelihoods.
The spokesman for Chicago police, Anthony Guglielmi, wrote on Twitter, “Illinois’ Shelter in Place order goes into effect Saturday evening through April 7th. All non-essential businesses must work from home in accordance with the Governors order. Essential employees – grocery stores, first responders, gas stations, pharmacies must remain open.”
He added: “#ChicagoPolice will work to serve & safeguard our communities. This order is a public health directive designed to save lives and contain COVID-19. It is not meant to be a police state or martial law, so please help us keep Chicago healthy by following this directive.”
You can watch the news conference here:
Here’s what you need to know:
Chicago’s Mayor Says the Restrictions Are Necessary to Mandate Social Distancing
In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot wrote, “Under the newly-issued Stay at Home Order, individuals will no longer be able to take unnecessary trips, engage in public or private group activities or participate in social activities at bars or nightclubs. These restrictions are necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 by mandating social distancing.”
You can find the State of Illinois coronavirus information page here. New York and California have also issued shelter in place orders, affecting millions of Americans.
As of March 20, 2020, here was the map for positive coronavirus cases in Illinois:
On March 20, 2020, the State of Illinois announced in a press conference, “The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) today announced 163 new cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Illinois, including the death of a Cook County woman in her 70s. Three additional counties are now reporting cases; Adams, Christian, and McLean counties. Currently, IDPH is reporting a total of 585 cases in 25 counties in Illinois. Cases have occurred in ages 3 to 99.”
The day before, the state announced “the death of three people in Illinois with coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The individuals include a Will County resident in his 50s and a Cook County resident in her 80s, and an out-of-state resident in her 70s who was in Sangamon County.”