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Be Careful At Labor Day Gatherings, Officials Warn: Coronavirus Is Spreading Among Family, Friends

People should wear masks, stay 6 feet apart and wash their hands frequently when visiting family and friends over Labor Day weekend.

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CHICAGO — Labor Day weekend is usually a prime time for parties, backyard barbecues and all kinds of gatherings — but those can be dangerous amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Officials warned Wednesday people should take safety precautions if they’re planning to gather in any way this weekend. Even if you’re with family and friends you trust, you should wear a mask, especially if you’re indoors; wash your hands frequently; and keep 6 feet apart, they advised.

“… The reality is you don’t know where everybody who’s there has been,” Gov. JB Pritzker said during a press conference. “And unless you maintain social distance and are mindful about wearing masks, the reality is there can be, and has been, significant” amount of community spread.

New cases of coronavirus are on the rise throughout Illinois, and much of the spread has been seen at gatherings between families and friends.

Just recently, at least 19 young people tested positive for coronavirus after a pool party in Chicago.

People should pay “special attention” this weekend, Pritzker said. He’s concerned people will let down their guard because they’ll be around people they know — but it’s in those scenarios where spread is occurring, he said.

Amaal Tokars, assistant director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, said people are becoming sick, being hospitalized and dying daily in Illinois.

“And as we gather, we know … the hand-washing, the masking up and the social distancing are very necessary,” Tokars said. “Even our small, intimate family gatherings must look different than they did before, but [they] can be every bit as rewarding, as important and as enjoyable.”

People should also ensure that if they do gather, the group of people present is “not too large,” Tokars said.

Block Club Chicago’s coronavirus coverage is free for all readers. Block Club is an independent, 501(c)(3), journalist-run newsroom.

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