Illinois orders bars, restaurants to temporarily close starting Monday night

The governor says public appeals to limit large gatherings went largely unheeded

Alex Degman
March 15, 2020 - 4:14 pm

CHICAGO (KMOX/AP) -- Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker is ordering all bars and restaurants in the state to close to dine-in patrons starting Monday night, March 16 through March 30 as part of an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

"We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open so restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes," Pritzker said during a Sunday news conference. "Additionally, we're allowing drive thru and curbside pick up for restaurants to serve the public over this period."

Pritzker's action Sunday came in reaction to crowds that filled restaurants and bars Saturday to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. Pritzker said young people could be carriers of coronavirus, even though they have no symptoms.

"It's unfortunate that many people didn't take [the warning] seriously," Pritzker said. "The time for persuasion and public appeals is over, the time for action is here."

Illinois now has 93 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in 13 counties, including in a growing number of people who haven't traveled or come into close, extended contact with someone already diagnosed.

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