After several days of foreshadowing, Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker announced Thursday he will extend a statewide stay-at-home order through May.

“I’m not in the business of comparing suffering in a pandemic. Everyone is allowed to hurt,” Pritzker said. “But we have the opportunity to prevent the pain of loss from touching the lives of thousands.”

The existing executive order expires April 30 and the new directive, effective May 1, includes modifications.

— OUTDOOR RECREATION: State parks will begin a phased re-opening under guidance from the Department of Natural Resources. Fishing and boating in groups of no more than two people will be permitted. A list of parks that will be open on May 1 and additional guidelines can be found on the Illinois Department of Natural Resources website HERE. Golf will be permitted under strict safety guidelines provided by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity and when ensuring that social distancing is followed.

— NEW ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES: Greenhouses, garden centers and nurseries may re-open as essential businesses. These stores must follow social distancing rules and must require that employees and customers wear a face covering. Animal grooming services may also re-open.

— NON-ESSENTIAL RETAIL: Retail stores not designated as non-essential businesses and operations may re-open to fulfill telephone and online orders through pick-up outside the store and delivery.

— FACE COVERINGS: Beginning on May 1, individuals will be required to wear a face-covering or a mask when in a public place where they can’t maintain a six-foot social distance. Face-coverings will be required in public indoor spaces, such as stores. This new requirement applies to all individuals over the age of two who are able to medically tolerate a face-covering or a mask.

— ESSENTIAL BUSINESSES AND MANUFACTURING: Essential businesses and manufacturers will be required to provide face-coverings to all employees who are not able to maintain six-feet of social distancing, as well as follow new requirements that maximize social distancing and prioritize the well-being of employees and customers. This will include occupancy limits for essential businesses and precautions such as staggering shifts and operating only essential lines for manufacturers.

— SCHOOLS: Educational institutions may allow and establish procedures for pick-up of necessary supplies or student belongings. Dormitory move-outs must follow public health guidelines, including social distancing.

Updated COVID-19 modeling

Lifting the stay-at-home orders across the board would result in a second wave of infections, hospitalizations and deaths, Pritzker said in making his case for the decision. Three experts at the governor’s daily press briefing in Chicago explained the modeling he used.

Without the stay-at-home order, 10 to 20 times as many people could have died, according to the modeling from

Researchers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the Northwestern School of Medicine, the University of Chicago, the Chicago and Illinois Departments of Public Health, McKinsey and Mier Consulting Group, and data analytics firm Civis Analytics worked on the modeling.

While Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said “most businesses” would reopen after May 4, St. Louis City and County extended their stay-at-home orders indefinitely.

During the state’s daily COVID-19 news conference Thursday, officials announced 1,826 new cases of coronavirus in Illinois, including 123 additional deaths. That brings the statewide total of positive coronavirus cases to 36,934 cases, including 1,688 deaths, in 96 counties.

Southwestern Illinois coronavirus cases by county

Here’s a breakdown of the number of people who have tested positive for COVID-19 in southwestern Illinois as of Wednesday:

— St. Clair: 327 positives, 19 deaths, 61 hospitalized, five on ventilators, 1,360 tests administered, 61 tests pending

— Randolph: 68 positives, one death, three hospitalized, 45 recovered

— Clinton: 51 positives, 246 tests administered, four hospitalized, 15 recovered

— Jersey: 11 positive cases, 80 tested, five recovered

— Bond: Four positives, 51 tests administered, four tests pending, two recovered

— Perry: Two positive


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