Gov. J.B. Pritzker has ordered all bars and restaurants across the state to close their dine-in operations, in the latest effort to contain the coronavirus.
Over the weekend, St. Patrick’s Day celebrations drove hordes of revelers to bars in Chicago, leading Pritkzer on Sunday to announce the move, which begins Monday and lasts through March 30, the Sun-Times reported.
The move is another blow to retailers who have already been suffering as the coronavirus has led to companies shutting offices and workers cloistering themselves inside.
“There are no easy decisions left to make as we address this unprecedented crisis,” the governor said. “Every choice that we face, every choice now is hard. And it comes with real consequences for our residents,” Pritzker said. But he said the actions he is taking “will keep people safe.”
The governor said the state is determining whether food delivery services can continue safely. Drive-thru and curbside pickup for restaurants will still be allowed, according to the Sun-Times.
The Illinois Restaurant Association is working to help employees and employers affected by the shutdown.
Pritzker asked Illinois residents to not hoard food and only buy what they need. Chicago plans to increase its police presence at grocery stores across the city to handle the heavy crowds and traffic.
The number of coronavirus cases statewide rose to 93 in 13 counties over the weekend, the state Department of Public Health announced.
All schools in Illinois are set to close starting Tuesday and remain shuttered through the end of the month. [Sun-Times] — Brianna Kelly