(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced the state’s most ambitious social controls yet in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus.
All events in the state that are expected to draw 1,000 or more people are cancelled for the next 30 days, by order of the governor’s office. Pritzker asked event organizers expecting to draw more than 250 people to cancel as well.
“We will break up events of more than a thousand people,” he said. “We will take the authority that we have to make sure that those events are not taking place.”
Pritzker expressed gratitude for the major sports teams that have already announced they would postpone their coming games.
Major League Baseball announced Thursday that it was suspending spring training and pushing back the start of its regular season until mid-April. That includes the Chicago Cubs and White Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals.
The NBA and NHL also announced they are suspending their seasons indefinitely.
The governor’s office also announced the James R. Thompson Center would be closed to all except those who have direct business with the state. The governor’s offices will still remain open in order to command the response to COVID-19.
Health officials also strongly advised private employers to implement telecommuting options for workers who are able or encourage social distancing, or a way of keeping people more dispersed than normal, in an effort to prevent spread of the virus.
Despite the closures, postponements and mass cancelations, Pritzker reiterated that the state’s primary election will still take place Tuesday, though he strongly encouraged early voting and arriving at polling places early to avoid crowds.
In addition to the new restrictions, the public health officials announced seven new cases in Illinois, including a child in Cook County. All are still contained to the Chicago Metropolitan area. The state total now rests at 32, with no deaths reported as of Thursday.
Dr. Ngozi Ezike, director of the Illinois Department of Public Health, reminded the public to direct all questions about COVID-19 to [email protected]
The infected child, a rare occurrence with COVID-19, is what Dr. Allison Arwady called a reminder that anyone can come down with the virus but most who are sickened experience mild symptoms.