CHICAGO (AP/KMOV.com) - Illinois is shutting down bars and restaurants due to worries over the coronavirus, Gov. JB Pritzker said Sunday.
All bars and restaurants must close at the end of business Monday and remain closed through March 30. Curbside pick-up and drive-thru will still be allowed. Pritzker said state officials are working with restaurant owners to see if kitchens can remain safely open for delivery.
Pritzker said he had tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home, to avoid bars, not to congregate in crowds. He added that it is unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously.
“This is another hard step to take. I know how difficult this will be on small businesses around the state. But we must do everything we can to safeguard the health of the citizens of Illinois, and that requires this urgent action,” said Pritzker. “The time for persuasion and public appeals is over — the time for action is here. This is not a joke. No one is immune to this, and you have an obligation to act in the best interests of all the people of this state.”
Restaurants up and down Main Street in Belleville are quickly working to figure out how to move forward after the governor ordered the closing of all dine-in restaurants and bars to the public as of Tuesday.
Pritzker's comments come only two days after he ordered all schools in Illinois, both public and private, to close until March 30. The previous day, he ordered all events with more than 1,000 people to be canceled and encouraged events with at least 250 people not to go forward.
Pritzker’s action came in reaction to the crowds that filled restaurants and bars around the state on Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
"Yesterday, what we saw was many young people who think they are impervious to this went out and celebrated," Pritzker said. "Unfortunately, we haven't seen a lot of movement. People aren't understanding even if you're healthy, even if you're young, you may be a carrier and you're gonna hand it over to somebody else. COVID-19 is spreading because even healthy people are walking around, giving it to other people, so we need to go on lockdown."
Prtizker also issued an order regarding state workers. Some will still go to work, others will work from home and some will remain home on-call. Pritzker says all will be paid during this time.