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Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pritzker orders Illinoisans to ‘shelter in place’ until April 7

Their View

By Brad Weisenstein, Illinois Policy Institute | Mar 21, 2020

Pritzkershelter

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker issued a stay-at-home order taking effect 5 p.m., Saturday, March 21, through April 7 for all of Illinois. He said schools are to remain closed until April 7 as well.

His executive order lays out three main directives:

  • Stay at home, except for essential activities
  • Non-essential business and operations must cease
  • All gatherings of more than 10 people are banned
The drastic order intended to curb the spread of the coronavirus was issued during a press conference with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. It came as Illinois reported the fifth COVID-19 death was a Cook County woman in her 70s and that the total confirmed cases rose to 585, including 411 in Chicago and Cook County.

Illinoisans are still allowed to leave their homes to take walks or get exercise, drive on both local roads and interstate highways, go to grocery stores, gas stations and pharmacies for supplies and services, go to work for essential businesses and operations, and take care of others.

The order broadly defines “essential” businesses and operations as follows (click here for further details):

  • Health care and public health operations
  • Human services operations
  • Essential infrastructure
  • 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, including plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff, moving and relocation services, and more
  • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services
  • Educational institutions
  • Laundry services
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises
  • Supplies to work from home and supplies for essential businesses and operations
  • Transportation for purposes of essential travel, including Uber and Lyft
  • Home-based care and services
  • Residential facilities and shelters
  • Professional services, such as legal and accounting services
  • Day care centers for employees exempted by the executive order
  • Manufacturing, distribution, and the supply chain for critical products and industries, including pharmaceutical, technology, waste pickup and more
  • “Critical” labor union functions
  • Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carry-out food services
  • Funeral services
“For the vast majority of you already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” Pritzker said. He said enforcement would be on the honor system: “to be honest, we don’t have the resources, the capacity, or the desire to police every individual’s behavior.”

“I’ve instructed law enforcement to monitor for violations and take action when necessary, but that is not an option that anyone prefers,” Pritzker said.

Illinois’ order to shelter in place came after California and just ahead of New York issuing similar orders. California Gov. Gavin Newsom locked down his state March 19. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered businesses to keep non-essential workers home starting at 8 p.m. Sunday, March 22, after the state with about 6% of the nation’s population became home to about half of the nation’s COVID-19 cases, most of them in New York City.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security offered guidelines on essential services that should remain open. They range widely, from public works employees to banks to day care operators if they care for children of essential workers. President Donald Trump’s guidance on the issue stated: “If you work in a critical infrastructure industry, as defined by the Department of Homeland Security, such as healthcare services and pharmaceutical and food supply, you have a special responsibility to maintain your normal work schedule.”

Illinois schools were to potentially reopen at the end of March, but Pritzker extended that to April 7 during the press conference. Chicago Public Schools will be closed until April 20.

While some have advised exercising outdoors or walking pets, Lightfoot said you won’t be able to do so in a city park. Chicago libraries will also close at 5 p.m. Saturday. State parks were already closed.

As policymakers wrestle with which moves to make for the health and economic wellbeing of Illinois, there are moves outlined by an Illinois Policy Institute report that can quickly help, including targeted tax relief to save jobs, removing barriers to maximizing the supply of medical care, and reforming state pensions to help cover budget holes without economic harm.

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