Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he is prepared to order travel and quarantine restrictions in Illinois to limit the spread of coronavirus if scientific guidance recommends it.
"We really have tried to think ahead: what if, and how would we implement that? The restrictions put in place in France, Spain, Italy, those are things we're looking at. Maybe we need to do those things sooner, or right now," Pritzker said during a news conference in downtown Belleville Wednesday. "I am also trying to be cognizant that the science, the guidance that we're getting, isn't quite there yet, and I want to follow that."
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Those nations, where COVID-19 spread rapidly, have placed severe restrictions on travel and quarantined residents to their homes.
Pritzker said his administration will “use every tool” to respond, but said some critical services will not be ordered closed.
“As rumors continue to swirl, I do want to assure all of you, essential services will always remain available,” Pritzker said. “Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, the things we all need, will not be closing down.”
The Illinois National Guard activated roughly 60 members to deliver meals to children who are out of school and don't have access to food, Pritzker said. The members are stationed in Peoria and will be dispersed from there as the need grows.
While he issued a ban on groups of 50 people or more, Pritzker advised Illinoisans to adhere to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's recommendation to avoid gatherings of more than 10.
Illinois State Police Director Brendan Kelly also reminded restaurant and bar owners of the consequences they face if they decide to violate the governor's order to limit service to curbside pickup, drive-thru or delivery. They could lose their business license, liquor license, operating permit and face permanent closure, Kelly said.