Chicago will implement a 9 p.m. liquor sales curfew starting Thursday in an effort to stop people from congregating at businesses that sell alcohol in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
"We are not messing around with this," Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said Wednesday.
The curfew will remain in effect through the remainder of the statewide stay-at-home order, which lasts through April 30.
"We are putting this curfew in place because too many individuals and businesses have been violating the stay-at-home order," Lightfoot said.
Stores that continue selling liquor despite the curfew could face fines of up to $500, arrest and possibly the revocation of their liquor and other licenses.
"We will collect them," Lightfoot said.
Interim Police Supt. Charlie Beck echoed Lightfoot's calls to stop congregating at liquor stores and other businesses that sell alcohol.
"Now it's time to limit the opportunities, to limit the things in Chicago that facilitate the formation of groups, and one of those things is liquor stores after 9 p.m.," Beck said.
Gov. J.B. Pritzker said he doesn't anticipate a statewide curfew on liquor sales, noting that it's "up to local mayors, city governments and county governments to make the decision."
Chicago police officers also began conducting roadside safety and informational check points in each police district Tuesday to remind residents that the stay-at-home order allows for "essential travel" only.
According to police, the checkpoints will take place at 10 p.m. The checkpoints will last approximately 45 minutes each night, and could take place between 10 p.m. and 2 a.m.
The checkpoints will also be deployed on Wednesday and Thursday nights, according to the department.
More than 15,000 people in Illinois have contracted COVID-19 since the pandemic began.