Pritzker puts entire state under tougher restrictions, starting Friday

  • Phlebotomist Janet Lopez prepares a sample to be shipped to Chicago at the COVID-19 testing site at Arlington International Racecourse.

    Phlebotomist Janet Lopez prepares a sample to be shipped to Chicago at the COVID-19 testing site at Arlington International Racecourse. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

Updated 11/17/2020 5:57 PM

Gov. J.B. Pritzker is putting all of Illinois under greater restrictions that will once again close casinos and theaters, significantly limit capacity at gyms and retail businesses, halt indoor youth and adult group sports, and curtail events from weddings to funerals.

The new restrictions will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Friday.


"This is not a stay-at-home order," Pritzker said. "But the best way to avoid a stay-at-home order is to stay at home."

The order came as 97 more deaths were announced Tuesday in Illinois and another 12,601 cases were diagnosed.

That brings the state's death toll from the respiratory disease to 10,875, with 597,849 who have been infected since the outbreak began eight months ago.

The state's seven-day average infection rate, measuring positive results among COVID-19 tests given, is now 12.7%.

Hospitalizations from the virus continue to surge and were at 5,887 patients by the end of Monday, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. That's 306 more than the day before. Of those hospitalized, 1,158 are in intensive care.

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Many hospitals in the state's 11 health regions are running out of beds. In Region 7, which contains Will and Kankakee counties, only 12% of standard hospital beds and just 15% of ICU beds are open, which amounts to just 25 ICU beds. In other suburbs, standard bed availability is at 30% or less, according to IDPH.

"We have to be able to take care of all of the people of Illinois and have the hospital capacity to do so," said IDPH head Dr. Ngozi Ezike. "People are going to get frustrated and people are going to get upset and people are going to get downright angry, but we are left making insanely difficult and weighty decisions."

That decision was to move all of the state into Tier 3 mitigation restrictions, something the governor and health officials had hesitated to do, preferring to address conditions separately in each region.

"The community spread is wide, so at this point we need to have a widespread statewide order," Pritzker said. "Having said that, each region has the ability to pull out of this faster than another region by doing the right things."


The list of Tier 3 mitigations is available on the state's COVID-19 tracking and information website,

Grocery stores and pharmacies are limited to 50% capacity, while other retail stores are limited to 25% capacity. Personal care services, such as salons and barbers, are limited to activities that can be done while wearing a mask.

Physical, occupational and massage therapies must be approved by a doctor. Casinos will be closed; video gambling terminals in bars, restaurants and elsewhere also will be shut down.

Fitness centers will be limited to 25% capacity, with no indoor classes and masks worn even during workouts. Hotels must limit room occupancy to registered guests only, and meeting and event space is closed.

All bars and restaurants must be closed between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., while previous restrictions banning indoor service are still in effect.

The new restrictions also "pause" indoor group sports for all ages. Movie theaters, performing arts venues, museums and indoor amusement centers were also ordered closed.

Gatherings are prohibited at banquet halls, clubs and party venues, and funerals are limited to 10 family members.

Anyone who is able to work from home is urged to do so, according to the state mandate.

The additional measures were placed as infection rates statewide continued to grow, despite other restrictions being employed last month.

Statewide, IDPH records show the state recorded 86,688 new cases of COVID-19 between Nov. 10 and 16, which translates to 685 new cases of the virus for 100,000 people during that week, according to IDPH records. Chicago and the suburbs are responsible for more than 60% of those new cases over the past week.

In the suburbs, Will County has the highest per capita infection level, with 756 new cases for every 100,000 residents diagnosed last week. A month ago, the county was seeing just 161 new cases of the virus for every 100,000 residents over the week.

In suburban Cook County, 639 new cases of the virus were diagnosed last week for every 100,000 residents. DuPage County's weeklong per capita rate is lowest in the suburbs at 530 new cases per 100,000 residents. Kane County had a rate of 657 new cases per 100,000 residents for the past seven days.

In Lake County, 652 of every 100,000 residents was infected during the past seven days. In McHenry County, 637 of every 100,000 residents were diagnosed between Nov. 10 and Nov. 16.

All of the suburban weekly per capita rates were below 200 new cases for every 100,000 residents a month ago, based on IDPH figures.

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