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Gov. Pritzker closes restaurants and bars starting Monday night

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker has announced all restaurants and bars in the state will be closed from Monday night, through the end of the month, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

“We are working with restaurant owners and food delivery services across the state to see if restaurants can safely keep their kitchens open. So the restaurants can continue food delivery to people at their homes,” he said.

The Illinois Department of Health also announced an additional 29 new confirmed coronavirus cases, bringing the state’s total to 93.

Five additional counties are now reporting cases – Champaign, Clinton, Sangamon, Whiteside, and Winnebago counties.

Pritzker had floated the idea previously on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” on NBC. He also directed his anger toward the federal government for long lines at Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport customs.

Sunday, he said of the long lines, “it’s going to be even worse.”

Soon after on Sunday, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that the city of Chicago was adding rules to limit gatherings at bars and liquor establishments and Chicago Police would be enforcing those rules, which require business owners to have less than half their normal max capacity and that capacity at any establishment will be capped at 100 persons.

Establishments will also be prevented from lining customers up outside while waiting for entry. Citations will be issued to establishment owners that don’t follow the new capacity limits.

Illinois has announced 66 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 20 new ones announced on Saturday. Pritzker expressed disappointment Saturday in seeing long lines and posts on social media showing crowded bars and public gatherings, and asked that people “take this seriously” when it came to social distancing.

As for the long lines at customs, which is under federal jurisdiction, Pritzker tweeted Saturday night at President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence, asking them to take action to address the crowds.

“The federal government needs to get its (expletive) together. NOW,” the governor tweeted.

Pritzker said on the NBC news program that he got a call from the White House at 11 p.m. Saturday, “from a White House staffer who yelled at me about the tweet. That is what I got.”

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government’s top infectious disease expert, said on “Fox News Sunday” that the airport crowds could spread the disease, but that they are likely to continue. American citizens, he said, need to understand that there is no need to rush back from Europe, but “when people see a travel ban, they immediately want to hunker and get home.”“Hopefully we don’t have more of that, but I think we probably unfortunately will,” he said.

The worldwide outbreak has sickened more than 156,000 people and left more than 5,800 dead, with thousands of new cases confirmed each day. The death toll in the United States climbed to 57, while infections neared 3,000.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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