Exceptions: drive-through service, curbside service and deliveries
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker on Sunday ordered the closure of Illinois’ bars and restaurants for dining-in in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor said that as of “Monday night at midnight, March 16, through March 30” all bars and restaurants will be closed. Exceptions will be made, he said, for drive-through service, curbside service and deliveries.
This was the second time in 48 hours that the governor stepped in to mandate closures. On Friday, Pritzker ordered all K-12 public and private schools closed starting March 17 and continuing through March 30 — for now.
In making the announcement regarding bars and restaurants, Pritzker upbraided Illinois residents for not adhering to his earlier requests that they stay away from bars and restaurants. “This is not a joke,” he said. “No one is immune to this.”
In Champaign County, Champaign Urbana Public Health District Administrator Julie Pryde applauded the order regarding bars and restaurants.
“That’s a wise choice,” Pryde said during Sunday’s news conference about the first confirmed case in Champaign-Urbana. “That’s all we have to think about as a community is doing things differently until the pandemic ends.”
Pritzker’s decision will no doubt put a major strain on the state’s grocery stores, who have been besieged even while restaurants have been open. Many stores have a bevy of empty shelves, though Pritzker said “Illinois’ food supply chain is among the nation’s strongest and steadiest.”
Pritzker said he has asked that municipalities “end their prohibitions on overnight grocery deliveries” while enlisting the support of the state’s major grocers to speed deliveries and maintain a food supply. It remains unclear how the country’s transportation and distribution systems will be able to maintain an adequate supply of groceries to meet the demands of the health crisis, notably experts’ suggestions that everyone keep a lengthy supply of food and goods on hand to endure an isolation period.
“Buy what you need,” Pritzker said, “but please be reasonable. There is enough food to go around.”
Pritzker also said the Illinois primary election on Tuesday, March 17, will go on as scheduled.
Learn more about how to vote in Illinois’ primary election here
Coronavirus: What you need to know in Champaign County and beyond