Illinois Government Responses to Covid-19 Updated 5/1/2020
Today’s update discusses:
- Governor’s new stay-at-home order
- new lawsuit against Governor Pritzker
- push for contact tracing
- Governor J.B. Pritzker’s new statewide stay-at-home order takes effect today. While many of the provisions remain the same as prior orders, there are some significant changes. The order allows some businesses previously deemed non-essential to reopen, such as greenhouses, garden centers, and pet grooming services. Retail establishments that were previously closed may open to fulfill telephone or online orders for delivery or curbside pick-up. Additionally, some state parks and golf courses will open with social distancing guidelines in place, and residents may again fish and boat on state waterways. The order will also require all Illinois residents over the age of 2 who can tolerate a mask to wear a mask while in public when social distancing is not possible. Masks are required in indoor establishments. The order takes effect today and is intended to remain in effect until the end of May.
- A third lawsuit, which takes a different approach than the prior two, has been filed against the Governor’s stay-at-home order that goes into effect today. A church in Lena filed the lawsuit, which is pending in the U.S. District Court’s Western Division in Rockford. The Church alleges that the Governor’s order violates their First Amendment religious rights. The lawsuit seeks a temporary restraining order against the stay-at-home order and a permanent injunction. The court has ordered the parties to meet and confer on a possible standstill agreement and for local law enforcement to identify what actions they would take if the church meets without social distancing measures in place. Although Governor Pritzker has made his distaste for the prior two lawsuits clear, when asked about this lawsuit, the Governor’s response was more sympathetic, urging faith leaders to put the health and safety of their congregants first.
- Governor Pritzker believes that contact tracing is one of the key conditions precedent to lifting the statewide stay-at-home order. Contact tracing is a way to track, warn, and quarantine everyone who has had significant contact with newly diagnosed COVID-19 patients. Currently, public health leaders in the state concede they are not ready to fully roll out a contact tracing system because they lack workers and technology.