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GOVERNOR'S DAILY BRIEFING – Businesses that reopen despite order could face insurance issues

Gov. JB Pritzker warned businesses that defy his emergency orders and reopen that they could expose themselves to liability issues and jeopardize insurance coverage.

“It would not surprise me if insurance companies are found to not have to cover you,” Pritzker said during Monday’s daily press briefing on the COVID-19 outbreak.

His comments echoed caution from legal circles and the insurance industry aimed at those seeking to defy the state’s executive order and open businesses to the public.

“I would not want to defy the executive order because I believe I would be taking on liability if I did that,” Pritzker said.

His warnings come as local officials in places like East Peoria say they’ll unilaterally open businesses and ignore the governor’s orders. Pritzker said those communities and businesses are running the risk of infecting the people who work there and patronize those stories.

On Monday, the governor reported 2,341 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 over the past 24 hours, bringing the state's total cases to 63,840.

There were 46 additional deaths in the last day, bringing the death toll to 2,662 since the state began tracking the outbreak more than two months ago.

Of the 13,834 test results delivered in the last 24 hours, 17% were positive, Pritzker said.

As of Monday, 4,493 people were hospitalized due to COVID-19, a drop of 179 cases from the previous week. But the governor said Intensive Care Unit capacity varies greatly across Illinois. More than 51% of ICU beds are available in Rockford (that’s 86 beds available) while just 27.5% were available in Edwardsville (that’s 25 beds available).

Pritzker said the state is counting on local officials to enforce the stay-at-home order, but repeated that he hoped police would disperse crowds and that he didn’t want to see arrests.

He reminded people that social distancing is the only real tactic to fight the disease.

“We have no vaccine. We have no treatment that keeps people out of the hospital,” he said.

The governor said the Illinois Department of Employment Security continues to work through the onslaught of unemployment claims and that while phone lines have been expanded, “It’s still not enough.”

He said he would address the unemployment system specifically later this week.

Pritzker also said that he would unveil his phased plan for reopening Illinois before the current order expires at the end of the month.


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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