CHICAGO — It’s unlikely Illinois and Chicago will be able to lift the stay at home order and other social distancing measures at the end of April, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Monday.
Officials have issued a stay at home order; shut down schools, bars and restaurants; banned large gatherings and closed the lakefront, its adjacent parks and popular trails to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
And though people have repeatedly pressed Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker for word on when those orders will go away, Lightfoot didn’t give an end date for the stay at home order — but she said it would be challenging for officials to lift all of the state’s pandemic measures at the end of the month.
“I think that’s gonna be difficult for us to say April 30 everything comes up. I don’t think that’s gonna happen,” Lightfoot said at a Monday press conference. “I think it will extend beyond that.
“Even when we get to a point where we feel safe from a public health standpoint, [we’ll need to talk about] what will be the sequencing of lifting that stay?”
Lightfoot said her administration will talk with the governor’s team as they determine when and how to lift social distancing orders.
The stay at home order was put into place by Pritzker on March 21 and is set to expire at the end of April, though the governor is able to extend it. Pritzker hasn’t said yet if he will have the order go longer, though he’s indicated he thinks at least some social distancing measures will be needed into the summer.
Pritzker acknowledged this weekend he’s concerned lifting the stay at home order soon could lead to another spike in cases — and, thus, deaths — this summer, and he still urged people to stay home as much as possible. The governor has also said he doesn’t think large summer events should be held.
“I pray as we move forward that these trends continue, and if they do it will because of all of you adhering to our stay at home order,” Pritzker said. “Doctors and experts confirm the fact that Illinois having been the second state to announce a stay at home order now seems to be reaching a peaking term, and our hopes have been coming to fruition.
“But they also say that we need to stay the course and to make sure that we’re keeping the progress going that we’ve already made.”
But Pritzker did say he’s talking with economists, scientists and other experts about how to eventually “reopen” Illinois.
“How do you operate society when we’ve begun to bring down the level of infection and make sure people are able to begin to go back to work in various industries?” Pritzker said. “The last thing we want is to begin to open things up and then have a big spike in infections and, unfortunately, all the spikes that come with that, including a spike in death. We want to make sure we’re not doing that while looking at how we can get people back to work.”
Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.
Subscribe to Block Club Chicago. Every dime we make funds reporting from Chicago’s neighborhoods.