Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker announced a shelter in place order for the state Friday afternoon. “To avoid the loss of tens of thousands of lives, we must enact an immediate stay at home order for the state of Illinois,” Pritzker said. He went on to offer a stark statement about what the stae could be facing. “Left unchecked, cases in Illinois will rise rapidly. Hospital systems will be overwhelmed. Protective systems will become scarce and we will not have enough health care workers or hospital beds or ventilators for the overwhelming influx of sick patients,” he said.
The order will take effect Saturday and is scheduled to last until April 7. Similar to the shelter in place order that has been put in place in California, this order does not apply to many businesses which are considered essential: Banks, grocery stores, pharmacies, gas stations, hospitals, etc.
Lori Lightfoot, the mayor of Chicago, also spoke at the announcement:
“I want to say to be clear, this is not a lockdown, it’s not martial law,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said. “There’s absolutely no need to change your normal purchasing habits. Please, the grocery stores will remain open and stocked. So please be mindful of your neighbors and do not hoard. Remember, this is the new normal, for now.”
As of today, Illinois has 585 known cases of coronavirus, up 139 since yesterday. There have been five deaths including once the Governor announced today at the beginning of his press conference.
Later during a Q&A, Gov. Pritzker was asked about rumors circulating that Illinois would impose martial law. “There have been a lot of rumors circulating around that are completely inaccurate. Rumors that there’s martial law that’s going to be imposed, that we’ve called out the Guard or the military somehow to impose their will upon the state of Illionois,” he said. Pritzker continued, “Those are all false and I want people to take a deep breath…Remember, in addition to people who just like to forward rumors around on Twitter or on Facebook there is also, I hate to tell you, an effort by the Chinese government and the Russian government to feed into that paranoia that people have about what’s going on.”
These claims are something that other governors have been dealing with, including Gov. Newsom in California (who actually suggested it was a possibility):
On Tuesday, when announcing that he had put the National Guard on alert, Newsom said martial law could be used “if we feel the necessity.”
“I don’t want to get to the point of being alarmist, but we are scaling all of our considerations,” he said…
On Wednesday, Brian Ferguson, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Emergency Services, said the governor doesn’t envision tanks and armed soldiers in the streets.
“We don’t want this to be scary for people,” he said. “This is a humanitarian mission to support health and safety.”
Just today the Gov. or Michigan also tried to dispel similar rumors:
Governor Gretchen Whitmer provided an update on the state’s response to the growing COVID-19 pandemic.
“I am not calling for martial law,” said Gov. Whitmer during the afternoon announcement.
Here’s the full press conference featuring Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot:
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