(The Center Square) – Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he would likely close Illinois’ bars and dine-in restaurant services again if the increase in COVID-19 cases continued to accelerate, but the governor was short on specifics.
Pritzker was questioned by reporters in Chicago about how much of an increase in coronavirus cases the state would have to see before he would begin reinstating closure orders or restrictions.
“I will not hesitate to reimpose some mitigations if we see our numbers moving upward,” he said. “It has often been the case where people who are in the category of at least 21 to 29...are going to bars.”
Pritzker wouldn’t answer questions about how much of an increase in daily COVID-19 cases it would take before he took action.
The state’s younger residents, aged 20-44, have made up the bulk of new COVID-19 cases in recent weeks. Pritzker attributed it to young people feeling “invincible,” putting themselves in a position where they could contract the virus and spread it to more vulnerable Illinoisans.
“When you’re a young person, you’re often feeling invincible, you carry the virus, you can shed it to other people and may not ever feel any of the conditions that come with the virus,” he said.
Other states have reported more pronounced resurgences of COVID-19. Some have ordered bars, nightclubs, and dine-in restaurants closed.
The Illinois Department of Public Health reported 707 new COVID-19 cases and attributed 25 additional deaths to the virus on Tuesday.
Nonprofit COVID Exit Strategy warns that Illinois, similar to other states reporting the spread of the virus, is trending up in its 14-day case count.
“Illinois continues to improve on testing, and we’ve made great progress in controlling the spread of COVID-19 in recent months,” said Abe Scarr, coordinator of Open Safe Illinois, a coalition of 25 health, labor, aging, and public interest organizations. “But some states currently experiencing uncontrolled spread were recently in a similar position. We must remain vigilant, including being prepared to quickly reinstate additional containment measures in line with the 'Restore Illinois' plan.”
Hospitalizations, as well as the use of vital equipment like respirators, remains low.