Illinois governor issues stay-at-home order effective Saturday

Fri. March 20, 2020 2:34 PM by News Staff

photo credit // anthony meade

Gov. Pritzker: ‘I don’t come to this decision easily.’

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced a statewide stay-at-home order aimed at stopping the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

"I don't come to this decision easily," Pritzker said during a Friday afternoon press conference.

"I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving people's lives and saving people's livelihoods," he said. "But, ultimately you can't have a livelihood if you don't have your life."

The order will take place Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. (CT), requiring all 12.7 million residents to stay home with a few exceptions. The order runs through April 7. Schools statewide will also remain closed until that date, according to Pritzker.

Residents will be able to go to grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies, and they will also be able to take walks.

All local roads, including the interstate highways and tollways, will remain open to traffic. The CTA will continue to operate.

Meanwhile, all Chicago parks and libraries will be closed while the order is in effect.

Pritzker was joined by Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. 

"This is not a lockdown, stressed Lightfoot.

"There is absolutely no need to change your normal purchasing patterns," she added. "Be mindful of your neighbors and do not hoard supplies."

The governor also announced another coronavirus-related death, a Cook County woman in her 70s. It's the state's fifth death associated with coronavirus.

As of Friday afternoon, Illinois health officials confirmed 585 positive cases of coronavirus in the state.