Illinois Gov. Pritzker threatens another lockdown as COVID-19 cases continue rise


Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker used his daily COVID-19 briefing to threaten another stay-at-home order and to scold local leaders around Illinois who are not enforcing his restrictions and hinted at another stay-at-home order.

All regions around the state have come under some form of restrictions, with all the bars and restaurants in the state forbidden to serve customers indoors. Pritzker pleaded with local leaders who are turning a blind eye to businesses who ignore his restrictions.

“Those who have flat out told the businesses in their communities to ignore what their local and state public health departments are telling them, what is it going to take to get you to be part of the solution?” Pritzker asked.

Sam Toia, president of the Illinois Restaurant Association, said some establishments won’t survive a ban on indoor dining.

“Illinois restaurants are in complete crisis,” Toia said. “They are scrambling to find solutions, and are having painful conversations with their dedicated team members, many of whom will no longer be able to be employed this winter.”

Roger Romanelli, executive director of the Fulton Market Association in Chicago, said outdoor dining is unrealistic.

“The vast majority of restaurants in our city that are struggling to survive, they can't put tents outside,” he said. “They don't have the money and they don't have the space.”

On Thursday, IDPH announced 12,702 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 43 additional deaths. As of Wednesday, 5,258 people were in Illinois hospitals with COVID-19. Of those, 956 patients were in the ICU and 438 patients were on ventilators.

For the next three weeks, IDPH is asking people to limit travel and stay home as much as possible, leaving only for essential activities, such as work, buying groceries and visiting the pharmacy.

If things don’t improve, the governor said the state could be put under another mandatory stay-at-home order.

“Some form of a mandatory stay-at-home order is all that will be left,” he said. “With every fiber of my being, I do not want us to get there, but right now that seems like where we are headed.”

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