With coronavirus cases on the rise and with the weather starting to take a wintry turn, Illinois residents are wondering what the coming months will be like as more restrictions are likely on the way to help stem the tide of the virus.
Aaron Brand, a father who lives in Chicago’s Bucktown neighborhood, says that he considers outdoor activity an essential part of life.
“You’ve got to get your kids out and exposed to the environment, to cold weather so they can withstand these harsh Chicago winters,” he said. “So we bundle up and if a kid feels sick or looks sick we stay inside. It feels like common sense.”
Brand says that the state’s efforts to control coronavirus are too hands-on, and that he would prefer to allow residents to decide for themselves the level of risk that they will take.
“I would prefer a more hands-off approach by the government,” he said. “Let people decide for themselves based on evidence and information.”
Not everyone agrees with Brand. Dario Monni, owner of Tortello restaurant and an Italy native, says that restrictions in the U.S. barely compare to those being enforced in the country.
“They can’t go out too much. Police on every corner. You’re not allowed in grocery stores more than three or four times a week,” he said. “This is absolutely serious. People need to understand that the sooner we adjust and understand the situation, the sooner we can get out.”
Other residents say they’re already adjusting holiday plans as a result of the virus.
“I think I have changed what I’m planning on doing,” Paige Braddy said. “Going out and the cold weather doesn’t make it easier to be outside, so I definitely think we’re changing plans. They expected a second wave, so that was in the back of my head.”
The Illinois Department of Public Health issued new guidance on Wednesday, advising residents to try to stay home as much as possible over the next three weeks. The guidance comes as the state sees record numbers of hospitalizations related to the virus, along with case numbers that are increasing faster than any other state in the U.S.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker has said that he has not ruled out another stay-at-home order to combat the spread of the virus, but is encouraging all residents to wear masks, wash hands, and socially distance while companies continue to develop coronavirus vaccines, which could go into circulation in the near future.