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Illinois governor issues 'stay at home order' in response to coronavirus spread

The order starts Saturday, March 21 at 5 p.m. and runs through April 7.

The press conference begins at about 16:45

Illinois governor J.B. Pritzker has issued a "stay at home order" in response to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Starting Saturday March 21 at 5 p.m., lasting until the end of the day on April 7, all Illinois residents are subject to the order.   This means residents should not go out for any non-essential reason.

"I don't come to this decision easily," said Governor Pritzker. "I fully recognize that in some cases I am choosing between saving peoples lives and saving peoples livelihoods, but ultimately, you can't have a livelihood if you don't have a life."

What won't change

The governor said residents can still go to the grocery store, pharmacy, doctor's office, gas stations, they can go running, hiking, walk their dogs, and many people can still go to work. 

Many businesses will remain open for the community. This includes restaurants offering carry-out, places like laundromats, veterinarians, etc.  He also reiterated that roads, bridges and transit will not be closing down.

School districts will continue to provide students with meals.

"There is no need to rush out to a grocery store or gas station," said Governor Pritzker. 

What will change

Non-essential businesses will stop operating.  If you can work from home, the governor says you must.

Police are asked to take action when necessary and to monitor violations.

"We don't know yet, all the steps we are going to have to take to get this virus under control," said the governor. 

Key points from his address. 

As of Thursday. March 19, there were 422 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 22 counties across the state.

Click here to see key points from his daily briefing Thursday.

  • Another Cook County resident in her 70s has died from COVID-19
  • The governor is enacting an immediate "stay at home order, starting Sat. Mar 21 at 5 p.m. until April 7. 
  • Evictions are being halted
  • Extra resources are being directed to serve those experiencing homelessness
  • The state's tentative reopening date is being postponed until April 8
  • Testing for COVID-19 is being expanded in the coming weeks