Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker said he will sign an extended stay-at-home order lasting until May 30.
Pritzker says data from experts like doctors and scientists show the state has made progress, but it still has ways to go.
“I’m asking you to hold on for just a little while longer to help make sure that we all see through to the other side of this struggle,” the governor said.
Pritzker said models indicate the state might see the coronavirus peak in early May. But he says those same predictions show Illinois could see a significant second wave if restrictions were fully lifted.
As of now, Illinois officials reported 36,934 people tested positive for COVID-19, including 1,688 deaths.
“Make no mistake, Illinois has saved lives,” Pritzker said.
“By staying home and social distancing, we have kept our infection and death rates for the months of March and April thousands below the rates projected had we not implemented these mitigation strategies. I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. But this is the part where we have to dig in and understand that the sacrifices we’ve made as a state to avoid a worst-case scenario are working, and we need to keep going a little while longer to finish the job.”
The executive order comes with some new mandates. Starting May 1, the state will require residents to wear masks inside stores and where six foot social distancing can’t be maintained. The rule applies to all individuals two-years-and-older that are able to wear a face-covering or a mask.
State parks will enter a phased re-opening procedure in the coming weeks. The list of parks opening are as follows:
Northwest Illinois: Argyle Lake State Park, Jubilee College State Park, Lowden State Park, Morrison-Rockwood State Park, Rock Island Trail, Shabbona Lake State Recreation Area.
Northeastern Illinois: Chain O’ Lakes State Park, Illinois and Michigan Canal State Trail, Kankakee River State Park, Moraine Hills State Park, North Point Marina.
East Central Illinois: Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, Eagle Creek State Park, Kickapoo State Recreation Area, Wolf Creek State Park.
West Central Illinois: Eldon Hazlet State Recreation Area, Jim Edgar Panther Creek State Fish and Wildlife Area, Sangchris Lake State Park, Siloam Springs State Park, Washington County State Recreation Area.
Southern Illinois: Fort Massac State Park, Giant City State Park, Stephen A. Forbes State Recreation Area, Wayne Fitzgerrell State Recreation Area.
Other information released by Pritzker’s office show more modifications to the stay-at-home order:
OUTDOOR RECREATION: Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.
NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.
NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.
ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.
SCHOOLS: Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.
SURGERIES: The Illinois Department of Public Health will also be issuing guidance to surgi-centers and hospitals to allow for certain elective surgeries for non-life-threatening conditions, starting on May 1. Facilities will need to meet specific criteria, including proper PPE, ensuring enough overall space for COVID-19 patients remains available, and testing of elective surgery patients to ensure COVID-19 negative status.
Republican House Leader Jim Durkin gave positive remarks in reaction to Governor Pritzker’s loosening of restrictions. It included some things the Republicans were seeking.
But a few items failed to make the list. For example, Pritzker did not give the go ahead for barbershops or hair salons to reopen. In a statement, Durkin said while pleased with the governor’s announcement, the state needs to do more to increase its economic vitality.