Illinois closing all bars, restaurants in response to coronavirus

Sun. March 15, 2020 3:35 PM by News Staff

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Delivery and drive-up options will remain open, state officials said

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday afternoon ordered all restaurants and bars across the state to close at the end of the business day on Monday in response to the growing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The closures will last from March 16 - March 30.

"I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone's good judgment to stay home, it's unfortunate that many people didn't take that seriously the time for action is here," Pritzker said during a press briefing. "This is not a joke. No one is immune to this and you have an obligation to act in the best interest of everyone in this state."

Pritzker said the state was looking at ways to keep restaurant kitchens open, and drive-through and curbside pickup service from restaurants will be allowed to continue.

Health officials also revealed 29 new coronavirus cases, bringing the total statewide to 93.

Earlier on Sunday, the City of Chicago announced new precautionary measures and guidelines for bars and restaurants to have less than half their regular maximum capacity of customers and a maximum of 100 people.

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted the new restrictions were "due to concerns around St. Patrick's Day festivities."

Chicago bars in neighborhoods like River North, Wicker Park, Wrigleyville, and even Boystown were packed with customers on Saturday from early morning to late night.

Ohio also closed all restaurants and bars effective Sunday night.

Responding early to the fast-moving developments in the coronavirus outbreak, Big Chicks and Tweet owner Michelle Fire Saturday announced a self-imposed shut down for two weeks starting at the end of the business day on Monday.

"I believe this is in the best interest of our staff, customers, families and society," she said.

Sunday in Boystown, Hydrate Nightclub and Elixir Lakeview remain closed. 

"In this time of uncertainty, we ask that everyone remain calm but be prudent," said Hydrate owner Mark Liberson

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