Governor Pritzker orders all restaurants closed for two weeks
To help reduce the spread of Coronavirus, Illinois bars and restaurants will be closed for in-person dining for two weeks beginning tomorrow — but drive-through and curbside pickup will continue to be allowed — Governor Pritzker announced this afternoon.
Referring to “the actions that the science and the experts say will keep people safe,” the Governor declared, “I am ordering all bars and restaurants in the State of Illinois to close to the public as of the close of business Monday night, March 16, through March 30.”
The Governor also added that, “we are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open so the restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes.”
The order was made during a press conference attended by several city and state officials including Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toya, and Illinois Department of Public Heath Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike, along with the Governor.
“There are no easy decisions left to make as we address this unprecedented crisis,” the Governor began. “Every choice that we face —every choice, now — is hard, and it comes with real consequences for our residents.”
A growing number of cancellations, delays, temporary prohibitions, and restricted uses have been issued in response to the global pandemic. They include gatherings of a thousand people or more, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the start of the Cubs and White Sox seasons.
Beginning tomorrow, the James R. Thompson Center will be off limits for everything except official business.
Indicating that his staff would be work “around the clock” to sort out the logistical concerns of the two-week restaurant closures, Governor Pritzker explained that this particular “hard step” was necessary to “safeguard the health and safety of the citizens of the State of Illinois, and that requires urgent action.”
“I tried earlier this week to appeal to everyone’s good judgment to stay home,” he explained. “It’s unfortunate that many people didn’t take that seriously. 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.”
While acknowledging that the order will cause hardship for small businesses and provoke negative response, the Governor underscored his resolve to see it through.
“In some ways, my sincerest hope is that, when all of this is over, that we hear a whole bunch of complaints that the State overreacted and took action that was too aggressive,” he said. “That will have meant that we survived all of this with the best possible outcome: saving many peoples’ lives.”
By Daniel Patton, March 15, 2020