May 23, 2020 - Health

Illinois remains closed as some residents visit neighboring states with looser restrictions

A photo of Illinois Gov. J. B. Pritzker on the ground as protesters gather against his stay-at-home orders

Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Many Illinois residents are traveling to the five neighboring states that have eased or removed coronavirus restrictions, as Gov. J.B. Pritzker has extended most stay-at-home orders through the end of May, The Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: Pritzker warned, “People who are traveling across the border and ... gathering in large groups and who are going into restaurants or bars ... will asymptomatically come back to Illinois and spread it."

  • The lack of coordination between state officials has some in Chicago worried there could be another surge in cases and deaths this summer, the Post notes.
  • Pritzker has said he is no rush to loosen coronavirus restrictions as the number of confirmed cases continues to rise and there remains a lag in testing.

The state of play: Cook County, the most densely populated county in Illinois, has nearly 69,000 confirmed cases and over 3,000 deaths, according to John Hopkins University.

  • The state's third phase of reopening is expected to begin May 29. Gatherings of up 10 people will be allowed at that point.
  • Illinois' total reopening, Pritzker said Friday, “will be guided by the science and the data, and it’s unclear because, as you move forward, the science is evolving and the data is giving us more information on what we ought to be doing.”

The bottom line: "The pandemic is seen less as a public health emergency and more of an economic one in downstate and more rural counties," the Post writes.

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