CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO) — Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker said Thursday he is extending the state’s stay-at-home order until May 30th and requiring residents to wear masks in public.

In addition, the governor said wearing masks in public would be a requirement for all Illinois residents.

The stay-at-home order was originally set to expire on April 30th.

“On our current trajectory, the state is projected to see a peak or plateau of deaths per day between late April and early May, but if the stay at home order were lifted this week, the model anticipates a second wave of the outbreak in Illinois starting in May, which would claim tens of thousands of lives and greatly exceed the state’s hospital capacity,” the Governor said.

The new executive order will include the following modifications effective May 1:

OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing requirements and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.

ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.

SCHOOLS: Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

Pritzker said hospitals will be able to perform surgeries that were delayed, so long as the clinics and hospitals meet proper PPE (personal protective equipment) standards. The governor also said some elective surgeries will be allowed.

“Make no mistake, Illinois has saved lives. By staying home and social distancing, we have kept our infection and death rates for the months of March and April thousands below the rates projected had we not implemented these mitigation strategies,” said Pritzker. “I know how badly we all want our normal lives back. But this is the part where we have to dig in and understand that the sacrifices we’ve made as a state to avoid a worst-case scenario are working — and we need to keep going a little while longer to finish the job.”

Officials are watching for a “sustained” drop in new cases of COVID-19 before easing restrictions, as well as enough hospital capacity to handle a second wave of patients, and the ability to perform contact tracing on those who have come in contact with someone infected.

“The most sensible and responsible use of a model in a public health crisis like this one, is to pay attention to worst possible scenario,” Pritzker said.

“If we would have lifted the stay-at-home order tomorrow, we would see overnight deaths shoot into the thousands in May,” the governor continued.

Dr. Nigel Goldenfeld, Professor of the Physics Department at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, explained the modeling used to predict the peak of COVID-19 infections in Illinois, and the data behind the Governor’s stay-at-home extension.

The Winnebago County Health Department is set to hold a briefing today at 3:30 p.m, from the new state-run COVID-19 testing clinic in Rockford, at the University of Illinois Health Science campus at 1601 Parkview Ave.

The UIC testing facility will be open 7 days a week for people who are showing symptoms of coronavirus.

Pritzker said Wednesday that residents showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be able to get a test without a doctor’s orders.

UIC Medicine’s testing facility will be open 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily, or while supplies last.


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