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Pritzker 'stay at home' order: What it includes, when it starts
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Pritzker 'stay at home' order: What it includes, when it starts

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WHAT HAPPENED: Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Friday ordered that Illinois residents remain in homes except for essentials. The order includes "all nonessential business" and expands previous "social distancing" advisories and shutdowns of schools and restaurants.

“For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” Pritzker said.

Still, he urged patience in the fast-evolving health crisis.

“We don’t know yet all the steps we’re going to have to take to get this virus under control,” said Pritzker, who added that the state “would rise to this occasion.”

Said the governor: "My bedrock has been to rely upon science. 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."

According to the governor's office:


  • For health and safety: seeking emergency services, obtaining medical supplies or medication or visiting a health care professional
  • For necessary supplies and services: obtaining groceries and food, household consumer products, supplies they need to work from home, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences
  • For outdoor activity: walking, hiking, running or biking – including going to public parks and open outdoor recreation areas, except for playgrounds
  • For certain types of work: Providing essential products and services at Essential Businesses or Operations or otherwise carrying out activities specifically permitted in the order, including Minimum Basic Operations
  • To take care of others: Caring for or transporting a family member, friend or pet in another household
  • All services provided by state and local governments needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies and provide for the health, safety and welfare of the public
  • This Executive Order does not apply to the United States government
  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations: Working at or obtaining services from hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities; healthcare manufacturers and suppliers; blood banks; medical cannabis facilities; reproductive health care providers; eye care centers; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; ancillary healthcare services — including veterinary care and excluding fitness and exercise gyms, spas, salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, and similar facilities
  • Human Services Operations: any provider funded by DHS, DCFS or Medicaid; long-term care facilities; home-based and residential settings for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with disabilities or mental illness; transitional facilities; field offices for food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services or rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services and other necessities of life for needy individuals — excluding day care centers, day care homes, group day care homes and day care centers licensed as specified in Section 12(s) of the order
  • Essential Infrastructure: Working in food production, distribution and sale; construction; building management and maintenance; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer, and gas; electrical; distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; and internet, video, and telecommunications systems
  • Stores that sell groceries and medicine
  • Food, beverage and cannabis production and agriculture
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services
  • Media
  • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation
  • Financial institutions
  • Hardware and supply stores
  • Critical trades, includingplumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocation services, and other service providers that maintain the safety, sanitation and essential operation of residences, Essential Activities, and Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions, for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies to work from home
  • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations
  • Transportation, for purposes of Essential Travel
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services
  • Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order
  • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries
  • Critical labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
  • Funeral services

WHEN IT STARTS: 5 p.m. Saturday and it will last until at least April 7. 

WHAT IT DOES NOT INCLUDE: The order is "not a lockdown or Martial Law," said Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot on Friday.

"Grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, these sources of fundamental supplies will continue to operate,” the governor said. "There is no need to run out and hoard food, gas, or medicine. Buy what you need within reason. There is enough to go around as long as people do not hoard. We will never shut these services down."

"You'll still be able to go running and hiking and walk your dog," the governor added.

Local roads and interstate highways will remain open to traffic.

Anyone violating the order could face legal consequences, but law enforcement will focus on educating citizens, Lightfoot said. Pritzker said he expects most people to comply.

A main goal of the order is to avoid overwhelming hospitals, said infectious disease specialist Dr. Emily Landon. Staying at home as much as possible prevents contagious people from spreading the disease.

Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of Illinois Department of Public Health, said the state is exploring the possibility of reopening closed hospitals.

U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth issued a joined statement following Pritzker's announcement.

"Governor Pritzker's shelter-in-place order is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. This pandemic will continue to disrupt our daily lives, but it is more important than ever for all Illinoisans to follow official health and safety guidance, practice social distancing, and do everything in their power to avoid infecting themselves and others in their community. Our actions today will save lives tomorrow."

NEW CASES: The Illinois Department of Public Health on Friday announced 163 new cases of coronavirus disease in the state. 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.

A total of five people in Illinois, all 50 years old or older, have now died after contracting the virus. 

BACKGROUND: “In some cases, I am choosing between seeking people's lives and saving people's livelihoods. But if you don't have a life, you can't have a livelihood," the governor said. 

Pritzker previously ordered all schools statewide to shut down and limited gatherings to 50 people to curb the spread of the coronavirus in the state. He also closed dine-in service at bars and restaurants, but allowed businesses to continue delivery or carryout options.

The governors of California and New York have issued similar orders.

Pritzker laid down the groundwork for a potential order Thursday, telling parents to prepare for the statewide school closure to extend past March 30. 

Though the governor activated the Illinois National Guard earlier this week to help combat the virus, the service members will have no role in enforcing any potential order. Instead, 60 service members will be deployed to establish drive-up testing sites, help with food delivery to disadvantaged families impacted by school closures and possibly prepare closed hospitals to reopen.

The vast majority of currently activated troops are health care professionals — doctors, nurses, medical technicians — who would not be tapped for an law-enforcement assignment.

“We have never even discussed a quarantine mission for the Illinois National Guard,” Lt. Col. Bradford Leighton said. “It’s never come up.”

Leighton said he understands anxieties are high amid the pandemic, but the Guard is not the boogeyman.

“We are your friends, neighbors and co-workers,” he said. “We’re fellow worshippers at your church, synagogue, mosque or wherever you worship. We are part of the community. We are you. We are not going to invade Chicago. We are here to help.”

The World Health Organization noted the epidemic’s dramatic speed, pointing out that it took more than three months to reach the first 100,000 confirmed cases but only 12 days to reach the next 100,000. As of Friday, Johns Hopkins University counted more than 260,000 infections worldwide.

The Associated Press, Belleville News-Democrat and Chicago Tribune contributed to this report.

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