Illinois Governor Issues ‘Shelter In Place’ Order Beginning Saturday

Another person has died in Illinois from COVID-19

March 20, 2020 - 2:20 pm

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- Governor JB Pritzker has issued a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state, beginning 5 p.m. Saturday through April 7.

The first-term governor has been hinting that a shelter-in-place order could be coming. Two state governments, California and New York, preceded Illinois in taking the relatively drastic strategy.

Priztzker, in announcing the order, said another person in Illinois has died from COVID-19, bringing the statewide total to five. The latest fatality was a woman in Cook County who was in her 70s.

Meantime, the state Department of Public Health said there are 163 new reported cases of coronavirus, taking the state's tally to 585 cases, across 25 counties. Three additional counties are now reporting cases: Adams, Christian and McLean. Cases have occurred in ages 3 to 99. 

Under Pritzker's order, residents will still be able to visit grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and doctors offices and will still be able to take walks outside. All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways will remain open to traffic, as well. 

Pritzker said people who consciously violate the order could face misdemeanor charges from local authorities but added he anticipates Illinois residents will do what is responsible.

Suburban Oak Park issued a shelter-in-place order after two emergency room doctors at Rush Oak Park Hospital tested positive for COVID-19. All residents were ordered to stay in their homes and maintain social distancing of at least six feet from other people in shared or outdoor spaces. All “non-essential” businesses in the village are also ordered to close.

Everyone in Illinois who can work from home is urged to do so. Others who hold essential jobs will be allowed to go to work. Jobs deemed essential there include: health care workers, grocery store employees, pharmacists, hardware store workers, plumbers, electricians, day care providers, bank tellers and roles that are essential to a business’ operations such as payroll and security. 

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, joining Pritzker at Friday's briefing, said all Chicago parks and libraries will be closed as of Saturday. Like the governor, she stressed people will be able to move around as needed. 

"This is not a lockdown or martial law," Lightfoot said.