By Jim Hagerty
Editor & Publisher
SPRINGFIELD – Gov. J.B. Pritzker, on Friday, issued a “shelter-in-place” order for the entire state of Illinois amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The order will begin a 5 p.m., Saturday, March 21, and keep residents who do not work jobs in essential services to remain in their homes until further notice.
“For the vast majority of you who are already taking precautions, your lives will not change very much,” Pritzker said at his daily coronavirus press conference, referring to additional restrictions mandated by his office.
Pritzker added that grocery stores, take-out restaurants, banks, pharmacies and health-care providers will remain open. Citizens are permitted to take walks, ride their bikes and be outdoors and are advised to practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and refrain from forming groups larger than 10.
Rockford Mayor Tom McNamara, along with Winnebago County Board Chairman Frank Haney and Winnebago County Health Department Director Dr. Sandra Martell addressed the local media following the governor’s order.
Local leaders echoed Pritzker’s sentiments and announced two new confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Winnebago County–one person in their 30s and one in their 40s. Both people live in Rockford. There are now three confirmed cases of the virus in the county.
“Medical professionals alert us several weeks ago that life was going to change dramatically for us,” McNamara said. “We’ve been waiting for this. We’ve been preparing for this, and now it’s upon us. Please know that hundreds of talented men and women are to keep our community safe and functioning as we enter this stay-at-home order.”
Under the order, citizens are permitted to take walks, ride their bikes and be outdoors as long as they practice social distancing of at least 6 feet and are in groups of fewer than 10.
Grocery stores, take-out restaurants, banks, pharmacies and health-care providers will remain open, and citizens will be allowed to travel to those places as needed.