In his COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, April 23, Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced that next week he plans to “sign an extension of our stay at home order through Saturday May 30.”
“We are now at the most difficult part of this journey,” he added. “I know how we all want our normal lives back. Believe me, if I could make that happen, I would do it right now. We need to keep it working for a little while longer to finish the job.”
According to the governor, the decision was made after studying “the most comprehensive data available from the state of Illinois,” including research from the Department of Public Health, the University of Illinois, Northwestern University and the University of Chicago.
The governor also “listened to Illinoisans across the state and elected officials of both parties and doctors and scientists around the world” before arriving at the conclusion that the number of projected daily fatalities from COVID-19 will peak or plateau “somewhere between late April and early May.”
Some restrictions will be eased
The restrictions of the extension will be similar to those of the current stay-at-home order, but there will be exceptions.
Beginning on May 1, certain surgical centers and hospitals will be able to consider scheduling elective medical procedures and some retailers will be able to take orders for pickup and delivery.
The list of essential businesses permitted to be open will expand to include greenhouses, garden centers, nurseries and animal grooming services, but they must require employees and customers to wear face masks and observe social distancing guidelines.
The governor also plans to ease other restrictions in phases that include “reopening some of our state parks for activities such as hiking, fishing and boating with no more than two people.”
At the same time, the extension introduces certain new rules, including one that requires face masks to be worn by “any individual over the age of two and capable of tolerating a face mask” in places where they cannot maintain the six-foot social-distancing guideline.