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

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.

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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