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Illinois Has A New Stay-At-Home Order. Here’s What You Need To Know.

Sam Dunklau
NPR Illinois 91.9 FM
A sign on the grounds of the Old State Capitol in Springfield

Despite a number of legal challenges that have yet to be resolved, Governor J.B. Pritzker says Illinois will remain under a stay-at-home order, which takes effect Friday through the end of May.

The latest order will relax a number of restrictions that have been in place for nearly two months. Pritzker said Illinois’ pandemic situation is gradually changing, and as a result, restrictions can be eased.

“All these changes represent a shift in our approach to COVID-19, a shift made possible by the millions of Illinoisans who have stepped up by staying home and keeping each other safe,” he said during a daily press briefing.

The entire draft order can be found here. Below is a summary of what’s happening starting Friday:

• Anyone who is able to will have to wear a face mask in any place or situation where social distancing, i.e. staying six feet apart from any other person, is not possible. Think grocery stores, indoor facilities, etc. Pritzker has advised carrying a mask on your person even during outdoor recreation, though you won’t be required to wear one then.

• Essential businesses remain open under the current guidelines, and will only be able to have half of the maximum allowable number of people in their buildings at one time.

• Non-essential retail stores can take online and phone orders, then deliver their goods through the mail or have customers pick them up. Most services, like hairdressers, will remain closed.

• Greenhouses, garden centers, and pet grooming services will be allowed to reopen.

These state parks will open back up

• Golf courses can open back up, but golfers must maintain social distancing guidelines.

• You can fish or go boating, but only two people will be able to be in a watercraft at one time.

• Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings and dormitory move-out.

Though two state representatives and a church are suing Pritzker over his emergency powers, the governor is forging on, explaining lives are still at risk.

“Until we see a subsidence of infections and hospitalizations...you run this risk that you’re going to get an exponential run of this disease, of this infection,” the governor said.

WNIJ reports the latest lawsuit, filed by Pastor Stephen Cassell and the Beloved Church of Lena, alleges Pritzker’s order to shutter churches demonstrates “illegal and discriminatory hostility to religious practice, churches, and people of faith.”

The church plans to hold in-person services on Sunday, even though members fear arrest and retaliation. In responding to the suit, Pritzker did not directly threaten police action against the church, nor did he deny “consequences” would follow for those who disobey the stay-at-home order.

“Nobody’s going to break up a gathering of church goers at that moment, but I will tell you that there are consequences. The state has the ability to enforce orders, but we’ve been looking to people to do the right thing, and they should do the right thing,” Pritzker said.

With several legal challenges to the Governor’s executive authority outstanding, the Attorney General has asked the Illinois Supreme Court to address the matter as soon as possible.

Sam is a Public Affairs Reporting intern for spring 2018, working out the NPR Illinois Statehouse bureau.
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