Governor announces closure of all restaurants in Illinois starting March 16th

“The time for action is here”

Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced today that all bars and restaurants across Illinois are to cease dine-in services effective Monday at the close of business. Pick-up and delivery will still be available.

“The time for action is here,” Pritzker said during his daily COVID-19 news conference Sunday afternoon, March 15.

Ohio Governor Mike DeWine also has ordered all bars and restaurants in that state to stop offering dine-in services; they are still allowed to serve carry-out and delivery orders.

Illinois Restaurant Association President Sam Toia said public safety is the number one concern of the IRA.

“We were informed by the governor this afternoon that this temporary shutdown was necessary to mitigate the spread of the virus, as we saw close to 400 people die last night in Italy,” Toia said.

Pritzker said pictures of barren shelves at grocery stores may be circulating on social media, however Illinois’ food supply chain is among the nation’s strongest, and his team has been conferring with the federal government to free up supplies from warehouses and get them into stores.

The Illinois Department of Agriculture has been working to see how rural farming communities are doing and said their supplies are doing well.

With the primary coming up Tuesday, Pritzker said he has been talking with the community and that “Democracy must continue. We have to elect leaders even in less-than-ideal circumstances.”

State workers should be expecting news soon about their jobs.

“We want our employees to know they will not miss a paycheck,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.

The governor’s office has been working with food banks to make sure Illinois residents have access to food.

Pritzker said he has reached out to Kraft Heinz, Conagra and Pepsico to ask them to donate “critical” food items to provide a third meal for children who usually receive two meals from school.

According to the governor, the manufacturers have expressed “resounding willingness to help.”

The governor asked residents to not hoard food and to only buy what they need.

“Think of your friends and your neighbors. There is enough food to go around, but we need for people not to be selfish,” Pritzker said.

There are now 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 13 counties across Illinois. The newest include Clinton, Champaign, Sangamon, Whiteside and Winnebago counties.

Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health Dr. Ngozi Ezike said people should assume the coronavirus is in their communities.

“It is important to limit close contact with people as much as possible, even if you don’t feel that sick,” Ezike said.

Ezike said the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions will be more at risk from the virus. She encourages people to stay home as much as possible, wash their hands properly, clean surfaces often, keep six feet away from others and cough into a tissue or elbow.

“This virus will not discriminate,” Ezike said.

The governor addresses the public daily regarding developments related to the novel coronavirus. Tomorrow’s press conference will take place at 2:30 p.m.