Pritzker to extend stay-at-home order, reopen state parks


Associated Press

Gov. J.B. Pritzker speaks during his daily coronavirus news conference at the Thompson Center in Chicago on Monday, April 20, 2020.

Kierra Frazier, Senior Reporter

DeKALB — Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday that the state’s stay-at-home order will now be extended until May 30 with modifications to the new executive order taking place May 1.

A new executive order, which Pritzker will sign next week, will take effect May 1 and includes face mask requirements, resuming elective surgeries and a phased reopening of state parks.

Face covering or masks will be required starting May 1 if residents aren’t able to maintain a six-foot distance while in public, Pritzker announced Thursday. This requirement applies to individuals over than 2.

“Face coverings work, and we need all Illinoisans to do their part here,” Pritzker said.

Pritzker said hospitals may be able to schedule surgeries that were delayed due to COVID-19 as long as they meet certain requirements.

These requirements include proper personal protective equipment, ensuring enough overall bed and ICU availability and testing of elective surgery patients to ensure a COVID-19 negative status.

“We’re allowing some elective procedures to resume for the benefit of patients and our hospital systems, but make no mistake, the first priority for our healthcare system continues to be the health and safety of all Illinois residents,” Pritzker said.

The latest executive order also includes a phased reopening of some state parks, under the guidance of the Department of Natural Resources. Activities such as hiking, fishing and boating with no more than two people will be allowed, Pritzker said.

Stores that were not considered “essential” can now take orders online, over the phone and offer pick-up and delivery in the new executive order.

Pritzker said if crowds start to form in public places and residents start violating the rules, he will bring back the restrictions that have been in place.

The stay-at-home order was originally placed on March 21 and was already extended once. The current order was set to expire on April 30 but has now been extended for a second time.

Illinois officials announced on Thursday there were 1,826 new coronavirus cases, bringing the state total to 36,934. In Illinois, there have been 1,688 deaths, and 123 new deaths were announced on Thursday.

Pritzker said the state is now looking at a peak of deaths per day somewhere between late April and early May.

“To everyone listening, we are in possibly the most difficult parts of this journey,” Pritzker said. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen right now, I would. But this is the part where we have to dig in.”