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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Gatherings of 50+ cancelled; entertainment venues closed

Published: Monday, March 16, 2020 04:01 PM

Gov. Pritzker today mandated that gatherings of 50 or more people be canceledmirroring the guidelines recently released by the CDC.

Pritzker said Illinois has aggressively pursued the development of COVID-19 testing through Illinois hospitals and research centers. While that has increased Illinois' testing capacity, he called on the federal government to make testing available, citing the tests now in use in Europe and Asia that have not been utilized by federal authorities.

He restated his commitment to make sweeping economic measures toward safeguarding Illinoisans' individual solvency as a result of the closures of dine-in rooms at restaurants and bars, including the availability of unemployment for those directly affected by COVID-19-related closures and a moratorium on utilities shut-offs.

The ordered closing of restaurants and bars begins at 9 p.m. tonight (3/16/20).

The governor stressed that drive-through, curbside and delivery service will continue.

IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike reported a total of 105 confirmed cases in 15 counties as of Monday. The first cases in Peoria and Will Counties have been reported. Dr. Ezike again reiterated that all residents should assume the novel coronavirus is in their community and take action to help prevent and slow the spread.

IEMA Dir. Alicia Tate-Nadeau called on Illinoisans not to hoard supplies, whether protective gear, toilet paper, or food.

"Let me be clear: Hoarding is irresponsible," she said. "We do not have an issue with food or food supplies. When people go out and buy more than they need, they hurt our most vulnerable."

Speaking from Springfield, Pritzker also gave some details on the statewide system monitoring the virus' spread, which involves 15 hospitals situated throughout the state, and three testing facilities located in Cook County, Springfield, and Carbondale.​

The governor noted that the state’s hotline is available in English and Spanish and will be adding Polish and Mandarin by the end of the week.

The hotline number is 1-800-889-3931.

The governor said the “vast majority” of the public understands what needs to be done.

Asked about bars and restaurants throwing parties to defy the closure orders, he said if weeks or months from now a patron becomes sick or perhaps dies, “They are responsible for that.”

Asked about tomorrow’s elections, the governor said they will continue, in part because if they were suspended it is unknown when they would be made up.

GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Bars and restaurants closed

Published: Sunday, March 15, 2020 05:53 PM

Gov. Pritzker ordered the closure of all bars and restaurants effective at the close of business tomorrow, March 16 until March 30 as the tally of COVID-19 cases has now reached 93 and expanded into more counties. "The time for persuasion and public appeals is over and the time for action is here. This is not a joke. You have an obligation to act in the best interests of everyone in this state," Pritzker said.

Drive-through, takeout and delivery options will continue.

This restriction is in direct response to what was seen in Chicago and across the state on Saturday, large crowds partying at bars and restaurants despite a request that they voluntarily use good judgment and stay home to avoid spreading the disease.

Of note, other states are either considering or doing the same.

For instance, Ohio’s governor also today announced the closure of bars and restaurants.

Pritzker also addressed concerns from last night (3/14/20) about crowded checkpoints at O'Hare International Airport, reporting that he has spoken with the White House and received assurances that Customs and Border Patrol screeners will be doubled and that Chicago Fire Department personnel have been effectively deputized by the Department of Homeland Security to supplement screening efforts.

Pritzker also announced:

  • ​the closure to all those without state business of the James R. Thompson Center.
  • a directive to state agencies to work with employees to work from home. He further pledged no state employee will go without pay during this period.
  • that Chicagoans under 18 can, between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., get meals from any CPS school, without regard to whether it is their school or they qualify for any free or reduced lunches.
  • efforts to coordinate with major agricultural firms, food producers and food banks to ensure no interruptions to the state's food supply.

The governor entreated those healthy and willing to please donate blood if you can in the interest of preventing any potential shortages.

Director Ezike announced the current number of COVID-19 cases has risen to 93 confirmed cases, with the first appearances of the disease in Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Winnebago and Whiteside counties​. Dr. Ezike said there is every reason to believe the number of cases will continue to rise exponentially.

"People should assume that this novel coronavirus is in their communities," Ezike said. "Even as a healthy person, you can get the virus. This virus does not discriminate. It can infect anyone of any race from any ZIP code."

IEMA Director, Gen. Alicia Tate-Nadeau, said efforts are being made to seek financial relief for businesses impacted by the pandemic.

COVID-19 Links

Illinois Department of Public Health

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Illinois Department of Employment Security - Unemployment Benefits

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